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Classic Telescope Pricing

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#1 Bomber Bob

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 09:23 AM

Since this is a perennial thread-derailing topic (especially on the auction link pages), could we discuss it here?

- What's a Classic Telescope worth?
- Who decides the value of a brand or of a particular offering?
- Are we (this CN Community) pricing ourselves out of the market?
- Does the Classic Telescopes Forum have an impact on auction asking prices?

Just some of the issues that occur to me... What do y'all think?

#2 Bomber Bob

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 10:02 AM

Here's another issue: Are new collectors driving up prices?

I'm an old guy, but I'm a new collector, having given away or sold several classics over the years myself (hindsight always being 20/20). I'd say yes, we are. But I think it's common for other collectibles as well; and, I think the wave will crest, it's just a matter of when. But I also think it's a good thing in the long run, if we agree that saving some of these scopes from the land fill is worth some temporary price inflation.

My classic scope collecting is driven by nostalgia, and like a lot of Boomers, I'm at a point in my life where I can afford to buy what I couldn't 40 years ago. But even I have spending limits. I paid less than $200 for the Monolux 4380. I wanted it because it's an unusual brand, and the scope appeared in good shape and near complete. But, if the auction had gone over $300, I would have dropped out. I would have thought, "I could get a Unitron for that much!" So maybe thinking like that is driving up Unitron prices?

IMO, this CN Forum affects pricing both down & up. Before joining, I never paid much attention to Maker's Marks, and now I'm obsessed with them. Makes me a smarter shopper, but also gives me a rationale for bidding up on a scope with a respected MM. That's what I mean about the impact of this Forum. It'll be interesting to read what the other New Collectors think!

#3 starman876

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 10:05 AM

Now this will be an interesting thread. Talk about trying to open up Pandora's box.

A classis scope price is basically placed at what people are willing to pay for it, the demand for that scope and the availability. We all know that certain brands demand a higher price because they are sought after.

are we pricing ourselves out of the market. I think we are the market. We have clearly shown what we are willing to pay for classic scopes and we have also seen what a lot of us are willing to sell a scope for. The price all depends on how much we want that scope and what people are offering it for. If we have our heart set on a certain model emotions take over and we will be willing to pay a higher price. Some people have more available funding and therefore will pay the higher price. Some are bargain hunters and will wait until a bargain comes along. However, these bargain hunters always seem to sell their bargain at a higher price. They will always say I will never pay that price for a certain scope, but they will always gladly sell it at that price :lol:

Do we have an impact on the price. Of course we do. We post here and tell people where the deals are. This in most cases sets off a bidding war for the item. People in the classis forum who are active in this forum are not the only ones that read the classic forum. at any one time there are just as many registered members as there are guests in the classic forum. I am sure we have been a reliable price guide for people selling their scopes. I know if I was selling a scope I would google the scope name and every time one does the classic forum comes up and it list all the posts people have made about that scope. so how can it not influence the value of scopes. Cloudy nights classified and Astromart are sources for finding out what scopes are worth. However, astromart does not have a forum for talking about what a scope is worth. You will find that wonderful feature on Cloudy Nights. There have been several scopes I have bought in where the buyer had no response to the listing until it got listed in the classic forum and I was told that I now have higher offers and that the price now has doubled. So yes, we find the bargains, but by letting everyone else know where they are they quickly are no longer bargains.

#4 MattT

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 10:06 AM

Nice idea. Let me start it off by moving my inquiry about my "Anonitron" 60mm to this thread:

I recently bought the scope discussed and pictured in the thread titled: "Anonymous Early Unitron?" Thanks for all the comments on the scope. I'm making a list of stuff I need to clean it up properly....and I'll start another thread about that. But before I start tinkering with it, I'm wondering about the value.

I can look up past sales of Unitron OTAs but this one is a little different. On the plus side it is apparently quite early, rare (no one either here or on the Unitron Yahoo group has apparently seen an unbranded 62/900 before), and in very good condition. On the downside it is incomplete, being an OTA only, and....is unbranded. It looks, feels, walks, flies and quacks like a very early Unitron, but will the lack of a brand name appeal to collectors for the uniqueness, or repel them?

If the non-branding and incompleteness mean this OTA is worth about what I paid for it: $100 - I'll go ahead and start to work on it. But if it's something special - moreso than your average Unitron - maybe it'd be better off with someone who's a real collector and would appreciate it on that level. And who wouldn't screw it up trying to clean, disassemble and regrease it.

Somebody PM'd me and suggested I not touch the scope, if it is working decently. Unfortunately that's not an option....I guess I'm a somewhat compulsive cleaner/tinkerer. I could probably resist monkeying with the scope just long enough to sell it, but if I keep it I will have to put some work into it.

Thanks for any comments on the value! If people are uncomfortable for any reason posting their values to the forum, I'd be grateful for anything by PM. And of course I won't hold you responsible for your guess!


#5 Bomber Bob

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 10:16 AM

Matt, I've followed your thread with great interest. If I had your unbranded Unitron, my first concern would be how good are the optics - are they worth what I paid? IMO, at $100, they should be! As for Collectors: I like the oddballs, so your rare scope would be worth more to me than to some others. Would I pay $1000 for a 62mm OTA? Nope. But, if I had a Unitron mounting, and needed an OTA... who knows how much I'd fork out. As Johann wrote, emotions get mixed in with some of these purchases, and that greatly affects the final selling price.

#6 actionhac

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 10:58 AM

Mine usually need a little work when I find them so prices are usually very low. This C8 was almost useless

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#7 actionhac

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 10:59 AM

Bugsville

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#8 actionhac

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 11:01 AM

Insects love the Newtonian

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#9 actionhac

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 11:02 AM

"needs a recoat"

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#10 actionhac

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 11:04 AM

Tubes got a few scratches

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#11 actionhac

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 11:34 AM

got wet! Ooopsy!

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#12 terraclarke

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 11:59 AM

Easy and I can never understand the debate on this. Plain and simple, the market sets the price. This is the case with any commodity in a free economy. We constitute part of the market. Speculators are also part of the market. In the overall market for consumer goods, speculators are playing an increasingly important role in driving up prices. This can only happen for so long however, and then the market will re-adjust and speculators will loose, especially those who get in the game late. Whether guns, butter, or telescopes, it all works the same. Finally, you can set the price on any good at any level that you want in a free economy. Those that are over priced will not sell. The best economic practice is to charge whatever the market will bare. It's no different than when you go and fill your tank. Some of us want to give ourselves too much credit. Ie. the only thing more inflated than some of the prices are some of the egos.

#13 pdxmoon

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 12:49 PM

Ok. Since I just paid $700 for a U140 I think I can weigh in.

I look at it this way: A SW80ED would cost me $600 unmounted. And they are in production.

Why is a Unitron 140 that has been cleaned up (lovingly, I might add) and on a Unitron alt az mount, overpriced at $700?

The short answer is, I don't think it is. I think, for me, it was a fair price, and one that I am happy to have paid.

Just because someone else bought theirs on CL for $100 and got a deal, does not mean mine is overpriced at $700. I'm the buyer, and I get to decide whether I want to make a market at that price. :-)

I'm with Terra, I don't understand what the problem is. I get the feeling sometimes, that some feel collecting classic scopes is a private club, and we who are new to the game should be kept on the outside looking in, because we are somehow ruining it for everybody else. It can leave a bad taste in the mouth if I actually cared. Because at the end of the day, I will have a Unitron 140 and I will be happy with it, and it doesn't really matter if some guys on the CN forum are cross with me because of what I paid. I'm a big boy now-- I can take it. :jump:

(PS--Thanks for starting this thread. It's a topic worthy of cordial discussion.)

#14 Geo31

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 01:39 PM

I agree with Terra. Completely.

#15 apfever

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 01:40 PM

It's rather the other way around Thom. You got a steal of a deal well UNDER what a 140 goes for lately and yours has all the eyepieces, and the sun projection set up that did NOT come with the scope but was optional. I think there are some papers with it as well.
The only upsetting thing (if any, and I don't know it exist)would be envy or those disgruntled with the sale possibly affecting prices downward.

#16 figurate

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 02:01 PM

Like Actionhac, I seem to specialize in problem telescopes. So far, that pretty much suits me just fine. However, there is another side to the issue. While the internet marketplaces might approach an ideal for market behavior, those same marketplaces are operating on less-than-perfect information. You are trusting the integrity and knowledge of the seller (not neccessarily a given) and more importantly, the accuracy of the attached imagery. If the pictures don't tell the complete story, then you can get this.

I purchased a 4" pier for my largest refractor that included three legs. However, it only became apparent when I got the package that the legs in the photo were actually for a 6" diameter pier. The photo had been taken at an angle that obscured this fact. I am sure I will use the oversize legs in the future, so it was only an issue in terms of getting my scope operational (I have used my O.C. legs for some time now with this pier). The photo here shows my recently acquired and reinforced Meade legs on that same pier with the black ones that were included in the original sale.

This possibility of flawed or garbled information is something people should factor into pricing determinations. I think most of us recognize that reality at some level, and that the only way to really have "perfect" information is to buy locally. I suspect, from this way of looking at it, that prices are actually a bit high.

Fred

#17 pdxmoon

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 02:08 PM

It's rather the other way around Thom. You got a steal of a deal well UNDER what a 140 goes for lately and yours has all the eyepieces, and the sun projection set up that did NOT come with the scope but was optional. I think there are some papers with it as well.
The only upsetting thing (if any, and I don't know it exist)would be envy or those disgruntled with the sale possibly affecting prices downward.


Thanks for the perspective. I have not paid the slightest attention to prices for Unitrons, so I really have no idea, except that this particular scope seemed like a very fair price for a scope that had caring hands on it.

#18 figurate

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 02:14 PM

Like Actionhac, I seem to specialize in problem telescopes. So far, that pretty much suits me just fine. However, there is another side to the issue. While the internet marketplaces might approach an ideal for market behavior, those same marketplaces are operating on less-than-perfect information. You are trusting the integrity and knowledge of the seller (not neccessarily a given) and more importantly, the accuracy of the attached imagery. If the pictures don't tell the complete story, then you can get this.

I purchased a 4" pier for my largest refractor that included three legs. However, it only became apparent when I got the package that the legs in the photo were actually for a 6" diameter pier. The photo had been taken at an angle that obscured this fact. I am sure I will use the oversize legs in the future, so it was only an issue in terms of getting my scope operational (I have used my O.C. legs for some time now with this pier). The photo here shows my recently acquired and reinforced Meade legs on that same pier with the black ones that were included in the original sale.

This possibility of flawed or garbled information is something people should factor into pricing determinations. I think most of us recognize that reality at some level, and that the only way to really approach "perfect" information is to buy locally. I suspect, from this way of looking at it, that prices are actually a bit high.

Fred

#19 figurate

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 02:22 PM

Problems getting my photo to run...

#20 EJN

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 02:26 PM

Back before the classic forum existed here, before there was much interest
in "classic" scopes; at the Astrofest swap tables, Gary Hand had a 4" Unitron
with pier mount & Unihex. The asking price was $1200. Now I see the same
setups going for $5000 to as much as $8000. So I think the OP has a valid point.

Frankly, while I like classic scopes, I can get better functionality for
less money from modern scopes, given what classics usually go for these days.

I do have a 60mm Sans & Streiffe I would like to restore to mint condition,
and a 60mm Sears frankenscope.

I have a 1980's Mizar mount, I don't know if that is really "classic."

And a Vixen 102mm f/9.8, has that reached "classic" status yet?

#21 pdxmoon

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 02:29 PM

Back before the classic forum existed here, before there was much interest
in "classic" scopes; at the Astrofest swap tables, Gary Hand had a 4" Unitron
with pier mount & Unihex. The asking price was $1200. Now I see the same
setups going for $5000 to as much as $8000. So I think the OP has a valid point.


Yes, and back before the Internet and Ebay most everything in a hobby sold for less, because there weren't as many buyers and collectors had to actively go looking--and it took time.

The Web has changed everything. And the toothpaste is out of the tube on that one.

#22 starman876

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 04:32 PM

That is a good point that the web has changed everything. Actually ebay changed prices a lot because now there are buyers world wide. All of these web sites have people coming in from all over the world. There are web sites for audio equipment, cars, telescopes, cameras, toys, and so forth. Through these sites people can get an idea what the gear they own is worth. Through these same websites you can also purchase the gear. So to say that these websites do not influence the pricing of the equipment is like having blinders on.

#23 terraclarke

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 04:42 PM

It still all boils down to market pressures; simple supply and demand. It's just a much bigger market now and while supply is largely reflected by the demographics of 50 years, demand is reflected by modern demographics. All those folks that couldn't afford them then can afford them now, and that doesn't take into account loss of telescopes through attrition.

#24 sgorton99

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 04:51 PM

It is simple...

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#25 Geo31

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 04:51 PM

That is a good point that the web has changed everything. Actually ebay changed prices a lot because now there are buyers world wide. All of these web sites have people coming in from all over the world. There are web sites for audio equipment, cars, telescopes, cameras, toys, and so forth. Through these sites people can get an idea what the gear they own is worth. Through these same websites you can also purchase the gear. So to say that these websites do not influence the pricing of the equipment is like having blinders on.


Or perhaps web sites like this just increase the interest (demand) and that is what drives prices up.






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