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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Has the world gone mad?

A not very good restoration of Certes has just gone on EBay for 530 quid?

What am I missing?!

Lee Smallwood Mon, 03/05/2021

I couldn't believe it.  There are some unrealistic valuations and asking prices of advertised mowers you can have a giggle about, for example Webb miniatures, asking prices from 25 quid to $3300 dollars, but when a mower fetches a lot of money, two things cross my mind, 1, I don't think I'll be getting one of those then, and 2,  I'll be able to retire if I sell my collection.

As for a bad restoration, I wouldn't know, it looked clean to me but I'm no expert, must have been worth that to the winning bidder, someone with deep pockets and probably using it for what it was intended for, I have deep pockets but my pockets always seem to have holes in the bottom. 

John.Sutherland Mon, 03/05/2021

I would say you missing nothing, looks like you're common sense is still intact. 

Not everyone can pull off good paint work, It is possible they have counted the cost and time they have laboured to make a lawnmower more saleable without understanding the market place.


wristpin Mon, 03/05/2021

As for a bad restoration, I wouldn't know,

Restoration - restore to the original ex-factory fit and finish?  If so, no multiple coats of high gloss paint bearing little resemblance to the original shade. No stainless steel or bright zinc hardware.  

Messorestore Mon, 03/05/2021

I quite agree. There's currently a Drummond on EBay that needs total restoration for £200 !  Really ?? There are others on there at even worse inflated starting prices. I personally don't blame the sellers because all the time people are willing to pay those prices sellers will lap it up all day long. If we all refuse to be sucked in to paying these prices I'm sure we'll find they'll settle down to more realistic levels. I know it's very tempting to say 'I'll bid just a little bit more, just a bit more, oh just a tiny bit more and before you know it you're taking out a second mortgage. If you all want to have an absolute hoot just look at the Ransomes Marquis Mk3 push mower starting price on EBay at the moment. Make sure you don't hurt yourself when you fall off your chair !!

Mower1 Mon, 03/05/2021

£512.13p, that's the most I have ever seen a Ransomes Certes sell for, albeit "fully restored" as advertised! There are several other examples on eBay right now. One has a BIN of £450 and the other is being sold as "Parts Only" with a starting bid of £160.00.The most i have paid for a Ransomes Ajax for example is approx £25 - £30 with or without a box.I picked up a very rusty Ajax for 99p and used it for parts.

AUTO CERTES 1 Mon, 03/05/2021

It's interesting actually, I think what is happening with the Certes push mower is inevitable really. It is arguably the best mower of its type that cannot be bought brand new anymore. How much would one be now if Ramsomes put them back into production? I don't think they could produce one for £530 and I don't think the masses would spend more than £500 on a mower without an engine because to see the value in it requires a level of knowledge most people just haven't got. Also another factor pushing up the price is eBay itself. When you list an item regardless of your own experience with the item for sale eBay has a memory and records past sale prices. So Jo Blogs inherits grandpa's old mower looks at the label on it and types it in, EBay tells him what previous Certes sold for regardless of condition and this is why you have clapped out examples being put on sale for £450 etc. Ultimately the price of these mowers will only go up so are probably a good investment on a small scale. 


stonethemows Mon, 03/05/2021

It seems to me there are two fundamental factors with life in general and THAT internet auction site in particular. Firstly, half the participants don't seem to have a grasp of the language i.e. they don't understand the concept of words like rare, antique, collectable or restored.

Secondly, they clearly do not understand the market and seem unwilling to take the trouble to do some basic research or indeed to accept advice from anyone who has. For example, how many serious old lawnmower collectors does the vendor think there are ? There is a world of difference between an older lawnmower that someone wants to use as a regular working tool and an old lawnmower that a real enthusiast is willing to pay good money for in order to preserve it in a collection. 

The Certes is an interesting example. It is not a domestic machine and is totally unsuitable for most people to use in their gardens. Most current professional users I would suggest wouldn't consider it an economic proposition to get into serviceable condition, even if they wanted to use a machine that old, which is debatable. The market therefore comes down to old lawnmower collectors. This is not a particularly rare machine, I've got one, I know of several in other collections, so it does not have rarity value as such. Most collectors would want to spend some time getting it into reasonably presentable, working order, even though it won't be used much. This is going to cost money one way or another, which needs to be reflected in the selling price. It is also easy to overlook the cost of moving it to a new location, even it's only a ride in the family car.

A quick guide to ' Buy it Now ' prices on e### - move the decimal point at least one place to the left.

That should generate a few further thoughts and maybe some comments !


Clive1997 Mon, 03/05/2021

Perhaps if age/rarity can influence value, how much would would my 1925 Mk1 Certes be worth, will try & dig it out for some photos. 

oldiron Mon, 03/05/2021

Coming back to Shauns comment further up about the Marquis on ebay, the seller asked on a facebook group what everyone thought it was worth last week, he was told about £150 ish maybe! 

Then BOOM, £500 lol, why ask then??????

DJD Mon, 03/05/2021

What no one yet has discussed is, what is such machinery worth today when compared to inflation? An eighty year old machine that cost £25 then would be something like £500 now?

A BSA Bantam D1 125cc motorbike in 1948 was £128 I believe, (complete with optional speedo) some folk (mostly garages) are now asking for £4,500 to £5.000 for them and not all are what some would call concourse either, it took me four years to find and fit all the parts to my wife's, then I sold it for a quarter of that, because my wife didn't want to spend another grand and a year of her life learning to ride it in modern traffic.

I don't bother to look at prices any more these days.

Adrian Mon, 03/05/2021

Don't forget what proportion of the average annual salary that something cost either - that Bantam may sound a snip at £128, but the average wage was around £280, so that's nearly six month's wages for a basic runabout (not forgetting that it probably included 33% Purchase Tax). The modern equivalent numbers are around £30,000, so that Bantam was the equivalent of £13,500 new. A new Honda CB125 will set you back £2799 on the road... No wonder old machines were flogged into the ground!

Wiltshireworm Tue, 04/05/2021

I believe that most people listing stuff on auction websites, (no name no pack-drill), are just testing the market, when they find it does not sell, then they relist it at less money until it does sell. That particular Marquis hand machine is complete with wheels & grassbox, but needs the attention of someone who knows how to service paint & sharpen it, to a reasonable standard, that work will take 30 hours of dedication & then it will be worth "what someone is willing to pay". £500 is excessive even when reconditioned properly, unless you fall in love with it. Then there is no hope.

I have a large collection of 16" Certes mowers, many of which have come off Overgreens golf course mowers & I must admit that the only way that I have acquired enough grassboxes is to buy the mowers for £100 + & then sell them again for similar money, keeping the grassboxes, Try that you guys, it takes trouble but they make similar money even without a box.

Let's face it these mowers are only worth what someone will pay at an auction, so we must understand that some people will try to push their luck & win the Lottery.

Be careful out there the sharks are biting,  Peter Hampton

Messorestore Fri, 07/05/2021

I think the message is slowly getting through. Nearly all of the vintage mowers on EBay with exorbitant and unrealistic prices have no bids and have been listed for a while. Maybe with continued support from the mower collecting world in not being prepared to pay these prices, the chance of owning one of these lovely machines will be more achievable.

DJD Fri, 07/05/2021

Was home for lunch today and often have 'bargain hunt' on before the one o'clock news, today there was a heavy looking maybe 10 or 12 inch wide Ransomes lawn edger, I think the red team paid about £25 for it and hoped to double their money, I thought it would do really well, I'd have given at least £30, just to get it going and marvel at a lovely piece of Ransomes kit doing the job it was designed for. Sadly I think it went for about £2 less than they paid for it!

Is there no justice? Or maybe folk just don't get it, a piece of real British industrial history sitting in front of them and probably in working condition.

A terracotta vase made about £140, unbelievable!

Messorestore Fri, 07/05/2021

I totally agree that £23 for a Ransomes lawn edger is too little even if in a poor state. However £200 for a Drummond that looks like it came out of a ferrous oxide jar, similarly a Silens Messor for £130 and even more unbelievable a Marquis Mk3 at £500 ! all starting prices on EBay are to me extortionate. However if you are happy to pay those sorts of prices for 'good old British engineering' then I unconditionally surrender. 

Messorestore Sat, 08/05/2021

Dear DJD here's a nice bit of British engineering but I'm not sure the price is quite right.

RansomesRob Sat, 08/05/2021

Hi Sean. I knew I should'nt have left that Webb Witch and Webb 2 Speed alone together........... now look what's happened!!



mikehpw1 Sun, 09/05/2021


if that's a recent listing Sean then the guys a ' trier' that very same toy with the same background was posted back in 2019 or is it the old listing?

Messorestore Sun, 09/05/2021

Hi Mike, it's still advertised and I've got a very small feeling it may not sell.

stonethemows Sun, 09/05/2021

It's actually rather worse than you think Sean. That vendor has been trying to sell it for many months and along the way has reduced his price by 50%. When it was first listed it was quoted at $10,000 - yes I have got the comma in the right place and the correct number of noughts. Watchers will have noticed that in more recent times with the fluctuation in exchange rates the UK price has varied between about £3,500 and £4,200 odd.

He has been politely advised that the item is not what he claims and no doubt a sensible value has been suggested  but as is often the case this knowledge has been completely ignored. Other instances crop up regularly; obsolete veterinary instruments often seem to mysteriously become vintage garden tools.

As ever it's Caveat Emptor. 

Messorestore Sun, 09/05/2021

Yes it's a funny principle that. I think it was only originally meant for house purchases. I think we should move to the idea of 'what is unsought will be undetected' or for the robber barons out there 'what is unbought will be undetected lol.

Messorestore Tue, 18/05/2021

Mmm. ???

mikehpw1 Tue, 18/05/2021

Hi Will

have you seen the Messor with a cracked roller for £550 !!!!

there must be a reason these crazy prices are appearing now, can't remember it being like this when I started 

Will Tue, 18/05/2021

Hi Mike,

No I hadn't seen that one!!! And I hope Lee Smallwood also hasn't seen it as he's agreed to sell me one for forty quid :)

Either there are people out there for whom money is little or no object, or we're all seriously undervaluing our lawnmowers !!



MikeD Sun, 30/05/2021

what puzzles me is why some people pay extraordinary amounts for old lawnmowers then complain about the prices when they are responsible for shoving them up. ir seems to me that some people have money to burn .if you want to pay a big amount for something you want then good luck to you the only winner in this game is the person selling it sacreu blue if ive spelled it right if not who knows.

Messorestore Tue, 01/06/2021

Why are people so hell bent on paying these prices for a 16 inch Certes ?  I recently compared the finish on my lawn with my 16inch Greens SM De Luxe and my almost as new Ransomes 16inch Certes ( only paid £110 for it by the way)  Give me the De Luxe any day - the finish was even better ! The De Luxe is so overlooked and won't cost anything like the current prices of the Certes !

hortimech Tue, 01/06/2021

If all your 'lawn' is the same as shown in the picture, then I can understand why the de luxe cuts it better than the Certes. The Certes was designed to cut golf greens at approx 3/16" whilst the de luxe appears to be designed for cutting normal lawns. There is a correlation between the cylinder size & number of blades and the height of cut and finish. The bigger the cylinder and smaller the number of blades equals the longer the grass that can be cut, e.g. a Ransomes trailed gang with 12" three bladed cylinders will cut extremely long grass (usually known as the 'rough' on a golf course).

wristpin Tue, 01/06/2021

Why are people so hell bent on paying these prices for a 16 inch Certes ? 

Or any other mower? The answer is a combination of ignorance, market forces and pleasure of ownership. The latter being the Timex / Rolex syndrome - they both tell the time but one may give a greater pleasure of ownership. No one has to buy a mower but when it becomes a want, things change; the same applies to any hobby, whether it be guns, fishing tackle, golf cubs or even a snooker cue.  Then there's availability; other than a limited edition Budding, old mowers are no longer made, so there's a finite supply. It's easy to castigate eBay, Gumtree of Facebook Marketplace , but it's the buyers that set the pace, no one has to bid. In normal times there were local auctions and collective sales - will they return? Until they do, and unless one is on friendly terms with the local scrappie or house clearance man, we are stuck with on-line. No one has to bid.            

Messorestore Tue, 01/06/2021

I am completely over the moon that you think the prices for these machines are about right. However I'm not so fickle or wealthy as to pay 'Rolex' prices for a Certes ( I'm glad I didn't) Can't wait for a normal world again. 

Lee Smallwood Wed, 02/06/2021

Whether right or wrong, I've noticed an increase in the price of these old machines and I have only been collecting for a couple of years, I've probably overpaid on a couple, but I thought it was worth a few more quid to secure, I've also had some absolute bargains thanks to club members and seeing a mower at the right time. For instance a 14inch certes sold for over £300, a week earlier I paid under £30 for mine. I know there are mowers I will never own due to cost, (climax is one) but here's hoping I will see a bargain, and be in a position to grab it. Let's not forget, new mowers that are designed to do the same job as an old fine cut mower are priced in their thousands, so paying 3, 4 or 500 quid for one could be considered the bargain of the century.