10-27-2019, 06:44 AM
#1
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Hi,

Can someone explain why a vintage Rooney brush is so expensive? There is one for sale that is asking almost $800. I haven't seen another brush that costs anywhere near that much. Are they really that good or valuable? Thanks.

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 10-27-2019, 06:59 AM
#2
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(10-27-2019, 06:44 AM)MossMan Wrote: Hi,

Can someone explain why a vintage Rooney brush is so expensive? There is one for sale that is asking almost $800. I haven't seen another brush that costs anywhere near that much. Are they really that good or valuable? Thanks.


Are they that good is subjective, to some it may be the holy grail and to others not so much. Price is in line with what they’ve been for a few years now, supply and demand is an interesting variable in the shaving hobby.


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 10-27-2019, 08:22 AM
#3
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So demand is very high for them and supply is almost non existent other than the occasional BST listing as they are no longer produced , the hair was rare even during production and is extremely unique. Depending on if you have a high or low loft setting the backbone and splay are something not offered in today’s market. The prickly type face feel is somewhat notorious but there are soft knots out there that still maintain that unique face feel and monster backbone. To a collector yes they are worth every penny , to someone looking for a nice brush to get a great shave going with idk how much is $800 worth to a person? Some people $800 is a drop in the bucket for hobby items so cost is very subjective and worth perhaps even more so. They are gorgeous brushes and for me worth the prices they are sold price.

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 10-27-2019, 10:03 AM
#4
  • Rufus
  • Senior Member
  • Greater Toronto Area
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I bought a Rooney 2/1 Finest from Vintage Blades on 04/25/2007 for US$210, plus postage.  It’s a very nice brush, but nothing overly special.  I don’t use it on a daily basis as I have 29 other brushes that I like to rotate through.  Unfortunately, the badger hair has not been robust as the knot has started to hollow out in the centre.  I only face lather and generally use shaving cream.  I lather with all my brushes in the same manner, but with no other one has the knot started to hollow out as the Rooney has.  Perhaps mine is an anomaly.  What ever it is, it is still a fine brush to shave with, but I use it sparingly now.

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 10-27-2019, 10:32 AM
#5
  • German
  • Simpson 2 Band Aficionado
  • USA
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Because they are so unique. Finest, Heritage Super 2 and 3 Bands are no more...

[Image: r8cM3Sr.jpg][Image: He7uQmB.jpg][Image: iFhxUdw.jpg]

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 10-27-2019, 11:23 AM
#6
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So would anyone know why a brush maker can't reproduce that kind of brush?

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 10-27-2019, 11:34 AM
#7
  • Agravic
  • Emeritus
  • Pennsylvania, USA
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(10-27-2019, 11:23 AM)MossMan Wrote: So would anyone know why a brush maker can't reproduce that kind of brush?

Hair Supply

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 10-27-2019, 11:52 AM
#8
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(10-27-2019, 11:34 AM)Agravic Wrote:
(10-27-2019, 11:23 AM)MossMan Wrote: So would anyone know why a brush maker can't reproduce that kind of brush?

Hair Supply

But if it's badger hair, why would it no longer be available?

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 10-27-2019, 12:18 PM
#9
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(10-27-2019, 11:52 AM)MossMan Wrote:
(10-27-2019, 11:34 AM)Agravic Wrote:
(10-27-2019, 11:23 AM)MossMan Wrote: So would anyone know why a brush maker can't reproduce that kind of brush?

Hair Supply

But if it's badger hair, why would it no longer be available?

It's not just badger hair.  Certain older Rooney brushes have badger hair which many serious brush enthusiasts feel exhibits highly desireable characteristics not present in current badger hair.

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 10-27-2019, 12:29 PM
#10
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(10-27-2019, 12:18 PM)TheLegalRazor Wrote:
(10-27-2019, 11:52 AM)MossMan Wrote:
(10-27-2019, 11:34 AM)Agravic Wrote: Hair Supply

But if it's badger hair, why would it no longer be available?

It's not just badger hair.  Certain older Rooney brushes have badger hair which many serious brush enthusiasts feel exhibits highly desireable characteristics not present in current badger hair.
That’s what I’m trying to understand. These brushes aren’t that old. Why wouldn’t the same badger hair be available still?

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 10-27-2019, 12:39 PM
#11
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(10-27-2019, 12:29 PM)MossMan Wrote:
(10-27-2019, 12:18 PM)TheLegalRazor Wrote:
(10-27-2019, 11:52 AM)MossMan Wrote: But if it's badger hair, why would it no longer be available?

It's not just badger hair.  Certain older Rooney brushes have badger hair which many serious brush enthusiasts feel exhibits highly desireable characteristics not present in current badger hair.
That’s what I’m trying to understand. These brushes aren’t that old. Why wouldn’t the same badger hair be available still?

Badger hair is a natural product, with significant variations among batches.   The batches which went into the Rooney brushes we're talking about have desirable characteristics which, to some, are not available in later batches.

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 10-27-2019, 12:43 PM
#12
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(10-27-2019, 11:23 AM)MossMan Wrote: So would anyone know why a brush maker can't reproduce that kind of brush?

I have seven or eight brushes with old Rooney Finest knots dating from -- best guess -- 2006 to 2010. I haven't seen anything like that hair show up in a brush identifiably made since 2010. Badgers with hair like that may (probably do) still exist, but I don't believe it has been harvested and made commercially available for many years. I asked Lee Sabini about it several times. On one occasion I understood him to say it came from Russia or in close vicinity to Russia in a region that was not safe to travel. Who knows?

I have a brush like the one on eBay except a Size 3. I wouldn't give $800 for one but I also wouldn't take $800 for it. It's not for sale at any price a reasonable person would pay. 

FWIW, I personally don't enjoy using any except one of the Rooneys I have with Finest hair of that type, which is easily distinguishable by tip color from across a room. I keep mine for reasons unrelated to practical utility.

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 10-27-2019, 01:15 PM
#13
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(10-27-2019, 12:39 PM)TheLegalRazor Wrote:
(10-27-2019, 12:29 PM)MossMan Wrote:
(10-27-2019, 12:18 PM)TheLegalRazor Wrote: It's not just badger hair.  Certain older Rooney brushes have badger hair which many serious brush enthusiasts feel exhibits highly desireable characteristics not present in current badger hair.
That’s what I’m trying to understand. These brushes aren’t that old. Why wouldn’t the same badger hair be available still?

Badger hair is a natural product, with significant variations among batches.   The batches which went into the Rooney brushes we're talking about have desirable characteristics which, to some, are not available in later batches.

(10-27-2019, 12:43 PM)ChiefBroom Wrote:
(10-27-2019, 11:23 AM)MossMan Wrote: So would anyone know why a brush maker can't reproduce that kind of brush?

I have seven or eight brushes with old Rooney Finest knots dating from -- best guess -- 2006 to 2010. I haven't seen anything like that hair show up in a brush identifiably made since 2010. Badgers with hair like that may (probably do) still exist, but I don't believe it has been harvested and made commercially available for many years. I asked Lee Sabini about it several times. On one occasion I understood him to say it came from Russia or in close vicinity to Russia in a region that was not safe to travel. Who knows?

I have a brush like the one on eBay except a Size 3. I wouldn't give $800 for one but I also wouldn't take $800 for it. It's not for sale at any price a reasonable person would pay. 

FWIW, I personally don't enjoy using any except one of the Rooneys I have with Finest hair of that type, which is easily distinguishable by tip color from across a room. I keep mine for reasons unrelated to practical utility.
Thank you for your great answers. Now I think I get it.

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 10-27-2019, 02:44 PM
#14
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To me the original heritage three bands are far more desirable , those were and are in my opinion the finest brushes ever offered , there are many others that are close seconds but the original Rooney heritage three band release is the one for me.

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 10-27-2019, 03:15 PM
#15
  • Puma
  • Senior Member
  • Central Jersey
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Not all Rooneys command $800. I had one with Heritage 3 band and couldn't get $200 for it.

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 10-27-2019, 04:45 PM
#16
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The Rooney brand is tricky. Their Finest brushes were considered by many to be the holy grail of shaving brushes because of the uniquely dense knots with a rare quality of badger, which could lather like no other. That said, I bought one years ago and found it really unpleasant to use. Extremely scritchy in a most irritating way. For some skin types though, I guess they were fine. If you could tolerate the scritch, the performance was indeed outstanding. 

They also had what were called Heritage brushes, which, if you bought one prior to around 2013 or thereabouts (I’m sure Chief Broom knows the dates better) were really outstanding brushes, particularly for their time. My all time favourites to that point for their cloud soft tips, backbone and density. However, after a certain point the Heritage brushes became totally unremarkable - much like Simpson best hair - workhorse but not exceptional in any way.

Also, I’ve never seen a Rooney sell for $800. Not saying it hasn’t happened. But I can tell you most certainly from purely a functional perspective, you can get an equally fantastic brush (assuming you don’t mind scritch) and even a far better brush for well under a 1/4 of that price. Particularly in a 22mm diameter knot.

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 10-27-2019, 04:50 PM
#17
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(10-27-2019, 02:44 PM)ultra~nova Wrote: To me the original heritage three bands are far more desirable , those were and are in my opinion the finest brushes ever offered , there are many others that are close seconds but the original Rooney heritage three band release is the one for me.

(10-27-2019, 03:15 PM)Puma Wrote: Not all Rooneys command $800. I had one with Heritage 3 band and couldn't get $200 for it.

Brushes with the original Finest hair generally command the highest prices for a combination of reasons, I think, including 1) it has become borderline mythical, 2) it is simply extraordinary in terms of both appearance and feel when dry, and 3) it's unobtainium (related to 1). I spent big bucks (for me) on a several in 2012-13, all of which were too scritchy for me to enjoy using. The rest I picked up opportunistically at more reasonable prices just because notwithstanding the fact I don't enjoy using them, they still have almost mystical appeal. 

I agree with ultra~nova that the original 3-band Heritage knots are more desirable for use, although I generally prefer 2-bands.

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 10-27-2019, 05:00 PM
#18
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never paid 800 for a rooney  but a first generation ebonite made me salivate and pay a ton for it

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 10-27-2019, 05:35 PM
#19
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(10-27-2019, 02:44 PM)ultra~nova Wrote: To me the original heritage three bands are far more desirable , those were and are in my opinion the finest brushes ever offered , there are many others that are close seconds but the original Rooney heritage three band release is the one for me.

(10-27-2019, 03:15 PM)Puma Wrote: Not all Rooneys command $800. I had one with Heritage 3 band and couldn't get $200 for it.

Brushes with the original Finest hair generally command the highest prices for a combination of reasons, I think, including 1) it has become borderline mythical, 2) it is simply extraordinary in terms of both appearance and feel when dry, and 3) it's unobtainium (related to 1). I spent big bucks (for me) on several in 2012-13, all of which were too scritchy for me to enjoy using. The rest I picked up opportunistically at more reasonable prices just because notwithstanding the fact I don't enjoy using them, they still have almost mystical appeal.

I agree with ultra~nova that the original 3-band Heritage knots are more desirable for use, although I generally prefer 2-bands.

Counter-intuitively, the Rooney Finest brush that I do enjoy using (and which I think might be labeled M&F, I can't remember), has both the densest knot and shortest loft.

Final note: the time-frame of a brush's offering for sale or making doesn't necessarily serve to date harvesting or sourcing of the hair used to make it. Neither, for that matter, does the making of a knot. I wouldn't be surprised if the old Rooney Finest hair was in inventory when Lee acquired an interest in the company and subsequently used over a stretch of time that might have spanned years. I'm not saying that's the case, just that it could be.

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 10-27-2019, 07:08 PM
#20
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Just for some context for the benefit of the original poster, who is new, Chief Broom, who arrived on the wet shaving forums as a civilian a few years ago, is quickly approaching mythical brush maker status himself with his Paladin brushes. At one point, if not still, at least some Paladin brush knots were supplied by Lee Sabini, who was either one of, or the, owner of Rooney when it was making its highly regarded brushes (as an aside, Lee currently makes other highly regarded brushes under the brand Morris & Forndran).

At any rate, my point is that Chief Broom might be more motivated than the average enthusiast to collect Rooney brushes. I don’t expect the majority of enthusiasts are yet willing to spend $800 for any brush, even a Rooney.

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