A 14-year-old boy from Grimston left the paper rounds behind and earned more than £5,000 last year after starting his own business restoring pushbikes.
Robbie Kingshot, a pupil at Springwood High School, has now branched out and discovered a love for restoring vintage bikes and a range of other items including petrol pumps and even a cash register.
He said: “Just over a year ago, I decided I wanted to do something to earn some money and I decided that restoring bikes might be a good way of doing it. I discovered I had a passion for restoring items and it seemed a perfect combination.
“I’ve got bikes from car boots, auctions and even ones that were sold at the front of someone’s house. I learnt how to restore them by watching television programmes and in the past year have restored and sold more than 100 bikes.”
His mother, Jo, 48, said: “We always told Robbie that the only way to make money and achieve what you want is to work hard. We didn’t mean now, but we are extremely proud of him for setting all of this up and working so hard on it.”
Although Robbie’s passion is for vintage items, he has been restoring modern bikes and selling them on to pay for the restoration of older items.
He said: “It feels pretty good to have made so much money but I plough all of it back into restoring more items and paying for the great vintage finds.”
He now spends up to 70 per cent of his time researching, restoring or scouting these vintage finds at auctions, which he attends weekly, on eBay or car boot sales.
He said: “I normally like the best stuff and get quite lucky. The first time I went to an auction I was quite nervous, but it’s a thrill everyday to go and see what is there.”
His first vintage purchase was two tricycles, one which was built in the 1950s in the USA, and the other a British cycle from the 1930s.
He said: “I stripped them down completely and after three days of sanding the tricycles down by hand, I resprayed them and reassembled the parts.”
Robbie has also bought two petrol pumps from between the 20s and 50s, several butcher bikes and a toy pedal car from the 1950s, paying £40 for the car, he restored it and sold it for £110.
One of his biggest finds was a huge, brass, National Cash Register from 1910, which came from what was known as the Grand Hotel, in Cromer. He paid £320 for and is now restoring before he sells it for some £1,000.
He said: “I use my phone to research a lot while I am at auctions before I buy anything, but sometimes I like to take a gamble and it usually pays off.”
He took a gamble on another find, while at an auction he spotted a ladies tricycle for £320 and after snapping it up, he almost sold it on eBay before realising the true value of the cycle.
Robbie is waiting for confirmation, but it is believed that it could be a Swift tricycle from 1900, worth up to £2,000. There are only two of these in the UK – one in a museum.
Robbie said: “Hopefully one day I’ll have my own workshop to restore other people’s items in and show off my own, I’ve been looking at premises already.”
He asks that anyone who has a bike in need of restoring, or for sale, contacts him by calling 07810 501524.
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