The rear mech from legendary French component-maker Simplex is being offered by Stone, a cycle jumble afficiando, as NOS: New Old Stock, in other words, unused.
Stone told BikeBiz.co.uk he's selling the mint-condition derailleur for a friend who found it in a box of assorted parts at a French auto jumble. Stone's friend paid 10 Euros for the mech.
Most of Stone's own finds are made at cycle jumbles but some have been from bike shops. If your old stock cupboard is searched by a chap with a big bushy brown beard and he gets excited when he finds a dusty old piece of kit, make sure you do a percentage deal on any sale!
On cyclingnews.com former MBUK dep ed John Stevenson, now based in Australia, remembers how he and Stone stumbled across a set of Shimano Dura-Ace 10 track equipment in a bike shop in Germany.
"Struggling to conceal his enthusiasm, Hilary negotiated a good deal with the somewhat bemused shop owner for the rare 10 millimeter pitch chain, chainrings and sprocket. I wonder what those parts are worth now?" said Stevenson.
The current highest bidder for the Simplex rear mech is Shibaie Haoriki, a Japanese collector and dealer:
"I am going to use this rear mech if I won the auction. I have the same rear mech already, and I can use this mech with my classic French bicycle [as a] spare part," Haoriki told BikeBiz.co.uk.
"[I] think this is the last honourable rear mech made in [France], and very very valuable, like the Campagnolo GS 1950."
There's a ready market in Japan for antique cycle components. Stone estimates there are about 80 serious collectors in Japan, many of whom want the parts for the French-style touring bikes made by Japanese frame-builders.
This particular mech is exceptionally rare. It's the last of the push-rod derailleurs before the French company went on to make parallelogram rear mechs.
Stone had expected the mech to fetch $2000.
"NOS always goes for about this amount," said Stone.
With the price at $3256, Stone predicts at least one more bidder will enter the auction, a bidder who usually waits until the last moment.
Whilst Stone is currently making two thirds of his living from selling bike parts on Ebay, he said it's not an easy life:
"It's hard work. I first have to hunt out the goods and then when I sell them it takes hours to pack and ship them. The amount of times you find something of this rarity is minuscule. It's not always like this! And I haven't even agreed the cut with my friend yet."