Dogtown Board Fetches Thousands

Online collectors up the ante in Ebay auction.

In what may be the most ever paid for a skateboard deck, an online bidder spent a reported 3,550 dollars in November for an unridden 1978 Dogtown Bob Biniak deck in “mint” condition. The auction took place on the Ebay Web site (ebay.com), which has become a mecca for vintage skate-equipment traders.

The buyer, a Los Angeles skateboard collector whose screen name is “mtheadspace” and who only identified himself as Mike when contacted by SKATE Biz, bought the deck from “Sheldon,” also an L.A. County collector of many years. “I couldn’t believe the price went up as high as it did,” says Sheldon. “It seems like the guys on Ebay have a much higher tolerance for spending than I do.”

The auction experienced a very competitive bidding battle between Mike and another competing So Cal collector, Foz 10. Mike’s winning bid was only 50 dollars more than Foz 10’s final bid. “Foz 10 had bid 3,500 dollars,” says Mike. “At that point our bidding had been increasing in 50-dollar increments.”

Sheldon purchased the deck in 1986 through an ad in a local newspaper for 40 dollars. “I think the kid I bought it off of must have worked there, because he had a ton of them,” he says. “My brother and I bought a bunch of boards off him.”

“I’m a huge Dogtown fan and a huge Wes Humpston fan,” says Mike, referring to the company and the artist whose work is depicted on the board. “Not only did they start a new era in skateboarding, that is when the whole new era exploded. I honestly don’t believe that it is the most ever paid for a skateboard.”

Dogtown Skateboards Owner Jim Muir is ecstatic that the board sold for as much as it did. “It’s pretty bitchen,” he says. “It makes me wish I’d saved a lot more stuff. We’re a small company. We’re the way skateboarding used to be. There’s no corporation action going on. I would be more stoked if it were me who had sold the board.”

Girl Skateboards Art Director Andy Jenkins was somewhat disappointed to see an old, albeit historic, skateboard fetching so much. “My only hope is that skateboarding doesn’t get that precious,” he says. “I don’t want it to wind up like baseball with the baggage of sappy sentimentalism and nostalgia attached. I suppose with an ever-growing history, some of that is inevitable, but at the end of the day, skateboarding is still about the physical action of one human being on four wheels—movement and sound, freedom, rebellion.”Muir, on the other hand, believes that the amount paid for the board is indicative of the ‘core following Dogtown had in its heyday. “Dogtown was skateboarding back then,” he says. “And people who saw that and who knew that, don’t want to forget that.”

Sheldon says there is a group of core Southern California skaters who love and buy anything related to either Dogtown or Tony Alva. And it seems that this group of old dawgs give each other a serious run for their money. “These local guys are what drove the price that high,” he explains. “Until I put it on Ebay, people pretty much offered me 100 dollars for it.”

Asked why he thought the board fetched so much money, Sheldon replied, “I think part of it is nostalgia. And as far as Dogtown goes, it seems to be a local nostalgia.”

Since October alone, Mike has paid over 6,000 dollars for decks bought on Ebay. His purchases include a 1978 Dogtown Jim Muir model, bought for $1,691.77; a mint Powell Quicksilver deck, at 709 dollars; and a rare 1970s Turner Summer Ski racing deck for 826 dollars. While Mike may hold the record for total dollars spent in Ebay skateboard auctions, it’s clear that others aren’t far behind.