Need help appraising some trees in a 'lot' sale

Graydon

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Some of you may have seen this on another forum. For those that have not here is the story in a nut shell:

I visited an out of business bonsai nursery today. The seller was active in bonsai and had the nursery an hour north of me. In 2004 the three hurricanes that hit Florida did some damage to his property and made a general mess of his material. I believe he got overwhelmed and closed and got sidetracked on other things. For whatever reason he wants to liquidate everything for a lump sum. Everything is a lot of stuff, some good, some bad and some dead. A good amount of the bad stuff will need to be rebuilt from a stump but I am prepared to do that. There are some more cutting and smaller nursery pot stuff I didn't shoot as I was getting tired of looking.

Everything goes including benches, cement blocks and such. That is a minus for me as I would pitch it all and build new benches.

I have a purchase price offer range from the 'broker" (some dude on eBay hawking it all and his services to move it). I was not shocked by the number and won't post it as I would like to get a feel from some of the more informed and experienced people here. What would you give for everything you see? I'm looking for frank answers as I am too close to see the big picture. My trip today was informing but didn't help me to think this out.

Here is the link to a set of pages I have built. PLease excuse the photos - I had to hurry and didn't have time to set up a background and get good light. I also didn't get the names of all of the material as it was a lot to see and take in.

What would I do with it if I got it? For now I would move it all to a local nursery I have access to use and get it happier. Repot those that I can now and plan the repot of everything else - it all needs repotting, fertilizer and some TLC. I would more than likely pick the ones I want and slowly offer the remaining stock to local bonsai people. It's a lot of workable material that should be in the hands of people who want to work it and either know how or are willing to learn. I would hope to recoup my investment from selling what I do not keep.

There are several pieces with history - yet to be confirmed. The big pine is an import from what Mr. Kimura believed to be late 1940's, his comments from a workshop with this tree in Atlanta. A couple of the group planting were demo and workshop material from a couple of Mr. Naka visits to Atlanta. There are allegedly photos of all of the trees in said workshops - not that any of those things should effect the price on the trees in such bad shape.
 

bonsai barry

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I don't know Graydon, I was overwhelmed just looking through the photos. It would have to be a labor of love. Do you plan to sell the trees? Do you have a lot of spare time?

In the unknown slideshow, I think some of those photos were brush cherry. The group planting might have been oak???
 
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Tachigi

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Graydon, After viewing these pictures previously as you know. I woke in the middle of the night with a nagging thought about there health. The deciduous trees should be in leaf down there, shouldn't they? If they are, then what was his explanation on why everything looked bare. The health of these trees is an obvious consideration when thinking about cost no matter what it is. So that you walk away with something substantial for your investment and not just providing a clean up service for his backyard.
 

Graydon

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Graydon, After viewing these pictures previously as you know. I woke in the middle of the night with a nagging thought about there health. The deciduous trees should be in leaf down there, shouldn't they? If they are, then what was his explanation on why everything looked bare. The health of these trees is an obvious consideration when thinking about cost no matter what it is. So that you walk away with something substantial for your investment and not just providing a clean up service for his backyard.
Good thought Tom. The leaf cycles are normal for down here. Nothing health wise bothered me with the exception of some of the tropicals that should be going nuts right now. If those don't make it - so be it. All of the others need to be repotted badly as well as food and water on a regular schedule. The owner was good at pointing out dead trees as well as dead branches on each tree that had some when we discussed each tree.
 

Vance Wood

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I suspect that they went out of business because their stock is in such a state of neglect. It is going to take at least two seasons of work; repotting and fertilizing to bring them back to the kind of health necessary to commence any aggressive bonsai training.
 

nsmar4211

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Graydon:

I have to agree with Tom, those bougies and tropicals look terrible. That nursery isn't that far away from me, and my plants are growing very well, even the ones I don't pay attention to. (you're pretty much on the other coast of FL from me).

Personally, the asking price would have to be low. Take into consideration how much it would cost you to dump all the trash, can you get someone to help you move it all (will you have to pay them), how much are you going to spend on soil/fertilizer/new pots/wire to get those trees alive again, how much is gas going to cost to make the trips to move everything, etc. How much free time do you have? Can you spare it?

Could you take someone along with you from a local club that has no interest in buying a nursery to help you appraise? Pictures do make it harder to judge than a live view so we may not be getting the whole picture.

If you do decide to do it......you've got your hands full :). Maybe you could recruit some local help in exchange for a tree or two? Honestly though, those trees are badly neglected. I've taken on some sorry cases but I'm a beginner and havent learned better yet... but I wouldn't want to take on that many neglected souls! Maybe the money would be better spent on buying nicer trees? It's your choice :). I wish you the best of luck!
 
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Jon Chown

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Hi Graydon,

An interesting dilemma that you find yourself in with regard to purchasing the left over stock from this defunct nursery. I studied the photos that you posted as best that I could and while I’m not there in person and looks can be deceiving, I have to say that there isn’t much there that turns me on.

The way I see it is that the current owner (who doesn’t seem to have been able to sell them to date) has decided to liquidate them for a lump sum provided that you clear his site for him. I’m not sure where the go between on eBay fits in. I have purchased a few collections like this and have been faced with the same problem of working out a price where the owner has been reluctant to tell me how much they wanted. This is how I would handle your situation - Firstly I would see if there was any stock that I wanted for my own collection. If there was I would estimate how much I would be prepared to pay for it. Secondly with what is left that is obviously alive, I would calculate who much I could reasonably sell them for as is - divide this figure by 3. With what is left in the way of pots that are saleable - total and divide by 5 and as to removing benches and the sick trees I would take for nothing and what survives is a bonus and pays for your time.

Look at it this way, How much competition are you going to have? Not much I would assume. Unless you are intending to open your own nursery, my suggestion would be to go out and shout yourself a real good piece of advanced stock and leave the problems to someone else.

Yours in bonsai
Jon
 

Tachigi

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I would calculate who much I could reasonably sell them for as is - divide this figure by 3. With what is left in the way of pots that are saleable - total and divide by 5 and as to removing benches and the sick trees I would take for nothing and what survives is a bonus and pays for your time.
Hi Jon, I'm a little curious here.:) I'm not really sure why your are using divisional factors for this and why two different factors. I agree with you on the idea of keeping what you want and not trying to refurbish those other wayward trees, sell them as is, and for what they are. No sense of piling good money and time into them with other horticultural commitments at home. I believe this could be a doable deal, as long as its a hit and run that you can turn a round fast. With the idea that it is at best a break even proposition.
 
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Graydon

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Thanks Jon, interesting way to come up with a total. I'm going to run numbers using your method and see where it comes. I can agree with you on all points. It has to be worth it for me on a couple of levels - one being acquisition of material for my collection. The second needs to be at least a break even situation with getting the trees I do not want and selling off the ones that are still alive and have value. As you put it the dead or nearly dead ones are worthless and need to be a negative amount to cover the cost of handling and disposal. Same with the benches and other haul off stuff. I really like Tom's suggestion of selling unwanted stuff as is for what it is now and turn the investment as quickly as possible. I don't want to get stuck sitting on these trees for whatever reason.

I have a number in mind from my rough estimate. I can almost guarantee that it is well below what the owner would like to see for this collection. He did voice the option of selling the trees piece meal on eBay or another web site if his minimum was not met. We discussed the reality that he would have to put more effort in to that option to yield a greater return and pretty much agreed that the extra money he may get would not compensate him for his extra time and efforts. He understands it would drag on for another year if he went that way. He's very motivated to sell now as he needs the money. The big question is how little will he take. That is a tough nut to swallow because at one time the value of all of this stuff was much greater than it is now. It's a shame and a lesson to learn from I suppose.

I'm going to make an offer after the close of the eBay auction. The go between on eBay is just an associate that is hoping to make a few bucks for his effort in photos and time it takes to respond to questions as well as doing the listing on eBay. I have had open communication with him and have expressed my desire to not use eBay as a purchasing tool to help both of them avoid the fees associated with selling and payment collection.

Thanks again to everyone for the opinions and input.
 

Jon Chown

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Hi Tom. you ask,

Hi Jon, I'm a little curious here. I'm not really sure why your are using divisional factors for this and why two different factors.
Put simply, I was just taking a business approach to Graydons dilemma and working on the mark ups or profit margin that I would want from this type of deal. The different divisions stems from my observation of the quality of the pots and my thought that they would take a while to shift therefore longer holding cost. Apart from that you are just purchasing someone elses junk.

I remember getting carried away the first time I had the opportunity to purchase a collection. it subsequently took me ages to get a return on my investment.

Just my opinion.

Jon
 

Graydon

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Hi all.

I walked away from this today. No need to go in to the details more than cold feet. As much as I wanted to hope this would turn out for the best I came to the realization that it would be tough to keep everything alive and to make it better. My schedule for the next month was a tough one, 12 or so hours a day and no days off. The risks far outweighed the good points and it was made worse by not having the time to give everything the care it needed.

I may make offers on a few trees in the coming weeks if he does not sell it as a lot before then - if he wants to speak to me after this.

Thank you to those who offered opinion, advice and support. I appreciated it all.
 

Tachigi

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Graydon, This maybe for the best, you are wise to realize that you can't make the time commitment.
If he doesn't sell them as a lot, he would be a fool not to consider any offer made on any individual tree from you. He has a huge mess on his hands. It going to take a slightly masochistic person to take his problems on and pay him for the pleasure of doing it.
 

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