Owner of second-hand record shop for sale on eBay says interest has been ‘chaotic’

On The Beat owner says "It's hard to tell" if bids for his shop are serious

The owner of the oldest second-hand record shop in London has been besieged by interest since placing his store for sale on eBay for £300,000.

But Tim Derbyshire, owner of On The Beat Records in Hanway Street, Soho, admits he has found it hard to establish the validity of the bids his store has attracted since the auction went live earlier this week. Bidding ends on November 25.

Derbyshire told NME: “It’s been chaotic. Australian TV have done some filming here, Germany has been calling, BBC News have been round. There have been some bids, but whether they’re serious? That’s hard to tell on eBay.”

Specialising in vintage vinyl, On The Beat’s stock totals 50,000 records and the £300,000 Buy It Now price includes the store’s leasehold.

Derbyshire, who opened the shop in 1979, believes the asking price is a bargain. He said: “If I’d had the time to sell it in dribs and drabs, I could have got more money for my stock. But I decided it has to be the whole lot that sells. £300,000 is a nice round figure, and three is my lucky number. It’s a price that means somebody needs to seriously consider it. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth it.”

He added he’s never sold anything on eBay before, saying: “I woke up one morning and thought ‘What can I do?’ I thought of eBay and it seems to have worked. I thought I might as well sell something on eBay once in my life and I thought ‘Why not make it worthwhile?'”

Visitors to the store in its 34-year history have included Paul McCartney and David Bowie. But Derbyshire said: “I wouldn’t recommend buying the shop as a chance to meet famous people.” He also warns that it may not make the winner a fortune. “Anybody that takes it over can’t run it as a business. If you see this as a business, it’s not going to work.”

Aged 60, Derbyshire intends to retire if the shop sells, but will close it if it doesn’t. He said: “I need some energetic person to take it over from me. I’ve served my time, really.”