Jump to content


Photo

Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes

  • Please log in to reply
148 replies to this topic

#1 BarrySimon615

BarrySimon615

    Pa Bear

  • *****
  • Posts: 2791
  • Joined: 01 Mar 2004
  • Loc: New Orleans, LA

Posted 01 April 2013 - 10:00 AM

How do we do it? Sometimes like a cook - a pinch of this, a dash of that, a wet finger held up to the wind, and basically just a gut feeling......at least some of the time.

Typically if I want to sell something, I will attempt to see what my item has sold for before - I will do an archive search both here and on "other" sites. If I bought used that is always a good starting point, as is the price I paid for something new. I am very careful with my equipment, generally most of my stuff looks as new as the day I purchased it, so I will price something at about 70 to 75% of what I paid, unless reasearch dictates otherwise. Sometimes with used equipment and demand, with improvements I may have made I do feel justified in asking for a bit more than what I paid. In all cases there is always a justifiable reason for doing this. However even with all of these guidelines pricing can be tough. I do not think that any of us really want to be mercenary, yet we do not want to give away things either.

I think some thought should always go into pricing an object for sale, especially something rare and old where you do not have too much if any data to go by. In that case you can always price your item a bit higher than what you really think it will likely sell for and then negotiate down. An extremely quick sale is a sure way of knowing that you priced your item too low, and when that happens there is nothing you can do about it but sell it for what you priced it at and learn from your mistake.

I was recently asked about how a rare and initially expensive Unitron telescope should be priced. That prompted me to create a poll on the UnitronTelescopes Yahoo Group to help establish some pricing guidelines. That poll is going on now. It is a pity that we do not have a mechanism to do polls here, I believe they would be a very valuable tool.

Barry Simon

#2 starman876

starman876

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5998
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2008
  • Loc: VA

Posted 01 April 2013 - 10:11 AM

I read that post Barry. I really think that the price guide is way off for 75mm and 102mm Unitrons. they have sharply gone up in value. I also remember a nicely oufitted 128 can fetch over a $1000 easily. I have seen nice 75mm go for over $2000. I strongly believe that is going to be the norm soon. Now I have had a 102mm equatorial for sale for over $3000 for well over a week and only a few nibbles. I feel that for many they can afford up to $2000 for that scope they always wanted, but once we get over $3000 we are in a different ball park of buyers.

#3 bierbelly

bierbelly

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6594
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2004
  • Loc: Sterling, VA

Posted 01 April 2013 - 12:53 PM

I think the best way is for everyone on this forum to put their respective scopes up for auction to others here, and see what they bring. :roflmao:

#4 grendel

grendel

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1464
  • Joined: 12 Apr 2009
  • Loc: Canterbury, Kent, UK

Posted 01 April 2013 - 01:00 PM

I could never afford what would be considered a fair price for a scope, so I have to rely on getting a bargain on ebay or wherever, if I couldnt get a bargain I would never have a classic scope, as it is I have a few, that have been restored from incomplete to working, as bargains are generally the runts of the litter and dont come in perfect condition, but then I use my scopes so they dont have to look perfect - just work perfectly.
Grendel

#5 Dave M

Dave M

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 8185
  • Joined: 03 Aug 2004
  • Loc: Ohio

Posted 01 April 2013 - 01:03 PM

I looked at the post / poll but didnt see either the 131-C
or the 132-C in the list..

#6 starman876

starman876

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5998
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2008
  • Loc: VA

Posted 01 April 2013 - 01:08 PM

Post deleted by starman876

#7 starman876

starman876

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5998
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2008
  • Loc: VA

Posted 01 April 2013 - 01:08 PM

There were a lot of Unitron models missing on the list.

#8 Bob Myler

Bob Myler

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1977
  • Joined: 18 May 2006
  • Loc: St Louis, MO

Posted 01 April 2013 - 01:33 PM

Establishing a marketable price on a moving target is difficult - especially when demand has recently turned hot or cold. Auctions have competition and immediacy in their favor. For used cars - Kelly Blue Book numbers are often hopelessly out of date - but that doesn't mean KBB can't be used to negotiate a better deal.

Whether Unitrons or Unicorns - the ever changing marketplace decides who will win - and who will lose.

#9 Datapanic

Datapanic

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3230
  • Joined: 17 Oct 2009
  • Loc: Tucson, Arizona

Posted 01 April 2013 - 02:04 PM

There is no Telescope Cartel (and shouldn't be one).

#10 starman876

starman876

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5998
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2008
  • Loc: VA

Posted 01 April 2013 - 02:06 PM

Don Carlos here and I want to know where you live :roflmao:

#11 BarrySimon615

BarrySimon615

    Pa Bear

  • *****
  • Posts: 2791
  • Joined: 01 Mar 2004
  • Loc: New Orleans, LA

Posted 01 April 2013 - 03:30 PM

There were a lot of Unitron models missing on the list.


I selected four models - the Unitron #114, the #142, #152 and the #510. I created 5 price brackets for each. Obviously some scopes were left off - the photo-equatorial scopes, the compact scopes, the rich-field scopes and the #128 60 mm equatorial......they will have their day.

I agree with others, price is a moving target and all is thrown off if you get someone that just has to have it. Much like at a real auction. Is $1000 a fair price if just one person is willing to pay it and if all other bidders in the room stops bidding at $300? Remember that most will not bid at all beyond the ridiculously low give away price. No, $1000 is off the bell curve. Hopefully the poll I created will help define just where the bell curve is. Others can do similar things for other scopes at other locations where polls can be created.

Barry Simon

#12 starman876

starman876

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5998
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2008
  • Loc: VA

Posted 01 April 2013 - 03:51 PM

:gotpopcorn: :gotpopcorn: :gotpopcorn:

#13 Dave M

Dave M

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 8185
  • Joined: 03 Aug 2004
  • Loc: Ohio

Posted 01 April 2013 - 04:39 PM

Don Carlos here and I want to know where you live :roflmao:

:funny: :lol:

#14 Jaimo!

Jaimo!

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1339
  • Joined: 11 Oct 2007
  • Loc: Exit 135 / 40° North

Posted 01 April 2013 - 05:11 PM

They are not baseball cards... They are much more rare, how can you publish a market value when your sample size is so low?

Jaimo!

#15 starman876

starman876

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5998
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2008
  • Loc: VA

Posted 01 April 2013 - 05:29 PM

It appears that we have suggested the price of other vintage telescopes in this forum. However, it does appear when it comes to buying Unitrons the rules normally do not apply. They are so sought after that some people will pay just about anything to get what they want. It would almost seem that establishing a price guide would supress the free market of what is happening in the Unitron market. Maybe that is the intent of this pricing guide.

#16 sgorton99

sgorton99

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3469
  • Joined: 30 Apr 2008
  • Loc: Wisconsin, Madison

Posted 01 April 2013 - 05:42 PM

I guess we could all put the prices we paid with purchase date next to our scopes in our signature lines. :scared:

#17 starman876

starman876

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5998
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2008
  • Loc: VA

Posted 01 April 2013 - 05:45 PM

Good idea Steve. I should have thought of that :lol:

#18 starman876

starman876

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5998
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2008
  • Loc: VA

Posted 01 April 2013 - 05:47 PM

here is what someone stated on Yahoo unitron groups what they buy and sell Unitrons for. This is not me

"What I have paid recently for Unitrons ( within the past 3 years)

160 in poor shape but with gravity drive and all the other fixings 1000.00
128: in mint shape with all cases and ep etc 375.00

142: circa 1960 600.00


I sold a 132 in mint sape with special coatings ( green) for 875.00"

Really now :lol: :lol:

#19 orion61

orion61

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4585
  • Joined: 20 Oct 2007
  • Loc: Birthplace James T Kirk

Posted 01 April 2013 - 06:26 PM

They are worth what you can get for them. try to sell a Baseball card lately?
If you put out an ad and gont get any offers in the first week... It's too high.
On the other hand if you have 10 people fighting for it the next day....

#20 BarrySimon615

BarrySimon615

    Pa Bear

  • *****
  • Posts: 2791
  • Joined: 01 Mar 2004
  • Loc: New Orleans, LA

Posted 01 April 2013 - 06:59 PM

They are not baseball cards... They are much more rare, how can you publish a market value when your sample size is so low?

Jaimo!


We have over 650 members in the Unitron Group, so if most owners choose to participate in the poll, the sample size is not low. Yes, the price paid for any item, whether it be a mint condition 4" Unitron #152 or a 67 Mustang Fastback is demand driven as it is for any item out of production.

My intention in creating the poll was not to manipulate price but to serve as a tool. If we can establish a pricing bell curve it will help those that are interested in a purchase and help those in setting a price who want to sell.

I would think that most here that have something for sale will do a bit of research in setting a price, a reasonable price that leaves both buyer and seller happy. In most cases the information that can be ferreted out is pretty meager, a much smaller sampling of what I hope to create for a very small subset of classic telescopes. As good as the poll can be, it in truth is just a snapshot in time, a snapshot taken in April, 2013. Most buyers will hope that they do not pay too much and hopefully information gathered will help. They will generally be happy if the price they pay is smack dab in the middle of what most people would pay for an identical or similar item. Most sellers want to get a fair price for what they sell. Typically they will be satisfied if the price they get is smack dab in the middle of what most people get for an identical or similar item. Buyer is tickled pink if he gets something for a bit less and the seller is tickled pink if he sells something for a bit more.

In addition there will always be that fanatical buyer that has to have a particular something at almost any price. This does not change that at all. What it will hopefully do is give the prudent purchaser some guideline as to what most people who have bought and sold these particular scopes have paid and made.

Keep in mind that many of us do have somewhat limited funds and the money we earn by selling fuels future purchases that we make. We are all helping the telescope market economy!

Note - I have asked Unitron purchasers and sellers to participate in the poll, no one else. The intention is not to have those that really know little to nothing about a Unitron (or a Polarex) to participate in the poll. Speculating about what a price should be without having some buying and selling experience with these scopes first serves no purpose so non-Unitron owners should not participate.

Barry Simon

#21 highertheflyer

highertheflyer

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 697
  • Joined: 08 Jul 2005
  • Loc: Aledo, Texas

Posted 01 April 2013 - 08:43 PM

I'm reminded of the days in 1985 when I made a decent living with two kids and a wife at $36,000/year.
Recalling the Unitron price list from May 1st of that same year then,

http://geogdata.csun...cessories85.pdf

The 6" scope was priced at eight months my salary!
So its no wonder they are rare today!

Jim

#22 Datapanic

Datapanic

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3230
  • Joined: 17 Oct 2009
  • Loc: Tucson, Arizona

Posted 01 April 2013 - 08:46 PM

I don't think anyone or group will ever be able to establish "Fair" prices for Unitrons or any other brand of scope because...

We, the collectors are always looking for the 'steal' of a low price and not willing to pay retail, unless we really want it. And then, if we didn't pay retail, we usually don't want to sell it for what we paid for it - we want a profit to help pay for whatever's next or some other expense. It's Buy Low, Sell High. Might as well open a Pawn Shop.

The reason I say we don't need a "Telescope Cartel", is that we don't need an exclusive group of people controlling the prices of anything. Think of De Beers and the Diamond Cartel - there's no shortage of Diamonds but for some reason, they still cost a lot of money because an elite group controls the monopoly.

Going for De Beer now :lol:

#23 amicus sidera

amicus sidera

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4070
  • Joined: 14 Oct 2011
  • Loc: East of the Sun, West of the Moon...

Posted 01 April 2013 - 08:56 PM

I think a renaming of this thread to "Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Unitron Scopes" might be in order, as that is what seem to be primarily under discussion here.

For that matter, perhaps changing the name of the entire forum to "Classic Refractor Telescopes" might also be a generally more descriptive, and of late more accurate term.

I'm joking... sort of.

#24 Datapanic

Datapanic

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3230
  • Joined: 17 Oct 2009
  • Loc: Tucson, Arizona

Posted 01 April 2013 - 09:01 PM

I think a renaming of this thread to "Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Unitron Scopes" might be in order, as that is what seem to be primarily under discussion here.

For that matter, perhaps changing the name of the entire forum to "Classic Refractor Telescopes" might be in order.

I'm joking... sort of.


Agreed - prices are all over the map, no matter what the type or brand. But if this is another Refractor Value thread, then the thread title should be changed to REFLECT that :lol:

#25 starman876

starman876

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5998
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2008
  • Loc: VA

Posted 01 April 2013 - 09:03 PM

It is amazing that I have not heard to many positive comments for this idea. Would be nice to hear from anyone who likes this idea and why. Ok Wait that is Barry :lol: :lol:






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics