Alfred Sargent have gone out of business - but you can still grab a bargain on eBay
Updated: Apr 29, 2021
It was confirmed last month that Alfred Sargent have gone into liquidation. A sad end for a very storied brand - founded in 1899, then bankrupt in 2009, before being taken over by French owners in 2012.
For more information on why the brand fell to the wayside, check out the linked Shoegazing post. This post is more of a morbid reflection that this is a great time to be scouring eBay for the samples, seconds and factory stock that have been liquidated from the company. UK 8 / US 9, in particular, will have many opportunities.
A couple of caveats before you venture onto eBay
Many of the shoes cropping up post liquidation will be seconds grade, sample models or deadstock. Some of the quirks to keep an eye out for include:
Odd sizing - e.g. one shoe half a size larger than the other. Obviously, the buyer will call this out, and if you do have noticeably differently sized feet (as most of us do) you could even get a really good fit out of this
"Amputee" models - a slightly euphemistic term for when only one shoe is available out of the pair! Clearly, the seller will list this, but don't be caught out (unless you genuinely are an amputee, then there are some real bargains to be had!)
Mismatched colouring - this could be an instance of one shoe being left out for display while the other is in storage, so one will be significantly lighter in shade. This may not be too much of a deal-breaker to you though
General seconds - minor manufacturing defects or damage can lead to a shoe being marked seconds. Have a close inspection of the photos if you notice this is recorded on the listings - I've got seconds shoes from a number of makers and often the "defects" are very minor
You won't see very many of these crop up, but if you do and they're your size you should jump on them. The highest quality shoes AS made - for a time AS made Gaziano & Girling before they had their own factory, and the Handgrade shoes that crop up now are made to the same sort of specification.
This is a shot of the kind of sole finishing you can expect - really impressive. With current eBay pricing you can probably expect prices in the £300 - £350 range.
A couple of example listings:
The next step down in quality is the Exclusive collection. Not quite as refined as the Handgrade collection, but still very impressive and with a pretty wide range of models. The AS models made for Kingsman (Mr Porter) are made to this sort of specification.
The most well-recognised model is probably the Moore, pictured below - an Adelaide Captoe which has a lot of design similarities to Gaziano & Girling's iconic St James II, but comes at about a quarter of the RRP. Listing is included below.
With current eBay pricing you might be paying £250 - £300 for a lot of these models.
An unsurprisingly boot-heavy collection, there's more than a whiff of the Tricker's design sensibilities to be found here. As well as heavy brogued shoes, the Country Collection contains what I consider to be Alfred Sargent's two best boot models - the wingtip Hannover and the captoe Cambridge (pictured below). These are solid pickups if you can get them.
Current eBay pricing is probably around £200 - £250 for this collection.
The AS Main Range is broad and while not refined, they do make very reliable beater pairs for everyday use. Pricing will vary on this - you can probably get some real bargains for less than £100 in many instances.