Five Go on a Treasure Hunt: Triumph by name, please be triumphant by nature

Not many 20th-century bicycles can claim to be Dublin bikes, but the Triumph 20 was made in Raleigh’s factory on Hanover Quay. Putting sentiment aside, is it worth as much as I hope?

Simon O’Connor of the Little Museum of Dublin with the Triumph 20 he bought at Dublin Flea Market, Newmarket Square. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Simon O’Connor of the Little Museum of Dublin with the Triumph 20 he bought at Dublin Flea Market, Newmarket Square. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Tue, Jul 15, 2014, 10:18

We gave five treasure hunters €100 each and sent them off to bag bargains. At the end of the series, James O’Halloran of Adam’s Auctioneers will value the items and the winner will get €500 for the charity of his or her choice. Simon O’Connor’s chosen charity is the Peter McVerry Trust.

July 1983. The sun is burning down on a small cul-de-sac in Walkinstown in Dublin. It’s melting the tar between paving slabs and giving kids a rare opportunity to set things on fire with magnifying glasses. In the middle of the road, five young children lie on the ground side by side, staring at the sky in an obedient panic. Beside the first child is a makeshift ramp, a piece of board placed on a bunch of breeze blocks.

I’m eight years old, about 50ft from the ramp, and scared out of my wits, hoping in the next 10 seconds I can build up enough speed to get up that ramp and clear the line of kids without landing on any of them. Anyway, it doesn’t really matter: I’m on my black Raleigh Strika, a kids’ version of the Raleigh Grifter, which has already helped me do the longest wheelie on the road. I’m a little guy with a lot to prove. But I can’t see the ramp too clearly (it’ll be a few years before anyone figures out I need glasses). To hell with it: foot on the pedal, deep breath, and I’m off. The other kids are cheering, the guinea pigs are screaming, I’ve hit the ramp and I’m up in the air.

Back to the present. Everyone loves a good bargain, or at least the feeling that they are getting something for less than the next guy. Not me. I am a salesperson’s dream: the customer who believes in paying exactly what the seller believes the product is worth. Haggling for me has always been an uncomfortable exercise in which I wonder if the other guy knows how bad I am at it.

That’s why I keep my bargain hunting to the internet, specifically Adverts.ie, where I can lowball a seller under a pseudonym, wait for months without following up (not deliberately, I just have a bad memory) and then get a bargain when they panic-sell at the last minute.

Adverts.ie is a minor addiction in our house. For Father’s Day this year I was presented with a charming wooden device, wherein you push a lever and a wooden bird bends over to pick a cigarette up from an opening drawer. My wife got it for €15 online, which is less than what an actual packet of fags will cost before the year is out.

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