March 29, 2006
I got an email this week from a guy at Microsoft who’s getting into wetshaving, lamenting the fact that he can’t find a 1940’s Super Speed razor for a decent price on eBay now that my comments have driven the market for vintage Gillettes to irrational exuberance.
“You’re the Alan Greenspan of shave,” he compl-imented/ained. “Say something nasty about these razors so prices’ll come down. Pretty soon there’ll be a shortage of rosehip seed oil.”
Thing is, I can’t help it. I find these things that work spectacularly well for my shaving and I blog about them. That’s the drill. Take that away and you’ve got just another whiny shavegeek forum like CutMySamwich and Beavis&Bladehead.
I will say one thing about all this eBay craziness, though. For some reason, the geeks seem to be under the impression that not only are two particular models of vintage Gillette DEs some kind of magic bullets, but that they’re actually rare and, gulp, investment grade.
That’s right — we’ve somehow reached the point where a crusty old razor some hobo probably stored up his ass while hopping the Central Pacific all the way from Colton to Salt Lake is the new yuppie hedge fund.
Hey, like I should talk. I’ve got enough old razors at this point to completely let myself go, get as fat as a whale and never work or bathe again. Just roam the neighborhood in dirty sweatpants that are too small for me, carelessly farting and barking orders at strangers while waving a gun around.
Beloved Wife knows the stash I’m sitting on, and that’s why she smiles sweetly and cuts my samwiches just the way I like them, diagonally, because there’s nothing sweeter than that first bite in the middle of a diagonal-cut samwich where all the meat bulges and no crust can be seen for miles.
But even I don’t possess the two “Fool’s Gold” Gillettes setting eBay on fire right now:
The shavegeeks worship these two models like no other and bid them up into the hundreds of dollars, and that should tell you all you need to know about their real worth. Because both of these razors are exactly, and I mean exactly the same from the neck up as any other 1960s Gillette adjustable DE you can still score on eBay for ten or fifteen bucks.
In fact, the Toggle is the exact same razor as the standard 60s Gillette, except it has a toggle lever instead of a TTO twist-to-open knob at the bottom. That’s it. Aside from that, it’s just another decent 60s adjustable, not quite as good as the 50s Gillettes and not nearly as good as the 40s models. Oh wait, it’s GOLD! Yippee!!
Same deal with the 195. Like the Toggle, it’s essentially a failed experiment to see what the standard adjustable DE would look like if the adjustment collar were moved to the bottom of the handle instead of the top. But the shaving head is exactly the same as any other 60s Gillette adjustable, and just like the Toggle, the shave is no different. If anything, it’s a step backward, as the adjustment collar, which stays nicely out of your way on the standard version, bulges right there in your hand where you grip the handle while shaving. So every time you rinse and shake the razor, “Did I jostle the adjustment? Am I about to slice my neck open?” is in the back of your mind.
Maybe it’s a good thing the geeks are chasing these two Fools Gold razors. It’s not like they’re taking any good DEs out of the pool for the rest of us who just want to catch a good shave. And a month from now, when the market corrects itself and the values of the Toggle and the 195 have plunged to where they should be, you can tell yourself you were there when the bubble finally popped and a new generation of hobos and their razors become fast friends.