My meanderings through eBay sales in search of interesting market niches to feature on our Boatwear site led to a side avenue: researching the sunglasses most preferred by fishermen, sailors and boaters in general. I am a bit perplexed by the alley that happened to branch off the side avenue, namely vintage Ray Ban Sunglasses.
The pair pictured at right is an exceptional example. This is a new old stock (NOS) pair of Baush & Lomb Ray Ban Survivors Collection sunglasses with DiamondHard Scratch Protection System. This pair sold complete with original tags, case, and papers for almost $700 in May of this year.
It makes me wonder: are these purchased to wear? Or just for collectible interest and value? Removing the tag and wearing them would hurt the value, but maybe the buyer does not care. Nice sunglasses can be had for less, but not these.
NOS items are generally rare and priced accordingly, but the broader market in vintage Ray Bans was surprisingly robust. Whether to wear or collect, people buy them. Terapeak research revealed almost 2,000 vintage Ray Ban sunglasses listed on eBay in the past few months, resulting in a sell-through rate of 72% at an average price just over $86. Those are extraordinary numbers for any niche market containing a significant number of listing. I’m accustomed to seeing average prices around twenty dollars and sell-through rates in the 20-30% range across a wide range of our market niches.
The numbers were enough to encourage me to add a page to our site featuring vintage Ray Bans, but I do wonder whether I’m actually featuring boatwear by doing so. I like to think I am, and imagine the boat that must go with the $700 sunglasses!