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Equipment Discussions >> Classic Telescopes

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highertheflyer
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5771759 - 04/01/13 09:43 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.edu/~voltaire/classics/unitron/accessories85.pdf

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

Jim


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Datapanic
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5771765 - 04/01/13 09:46 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


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amicus sidera
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: Datapanic]
      #5771788 - 04/01/13 09:56 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.


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Datapanic
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5771799 - 04/01/13 10:01 PM

Quote:

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


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: Datapanic]
      #5771802 - 04/01/13 10:03 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

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Datapanic
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5771868 - 04/01/13 10:29 PM

Quote:

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




I hope nobody gets me wrong - I just think that it's impossible to establish price guidelines when...

A). Prices are volatile
B). Collectors are not going to pay top dollar
C). Some sellers don't know what they have and underprice
D). Buyers take advantage of "C"'s
E). Some sellers know what they have and overprice
F). Buyers ignore or chastice "E"'s

Good luck with it!


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sgorton99
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: Datapanic]
      #5771887 - 04/01/13 10:37 PM

I agree Dan, and sometimes we also "G). Give the scope away to a friend".

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BarrySimon615
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: sgorton99]
      #5771936 - 04/01/13 11:09 PM

There has been very good response to the poll created. I am tempted to give some preliminary results.....but that would bias future voting so I will hold off.

Whenever anything is no longer available the price goes up because supply goes down and demand goes up. Witness the interest in the Celestron C5 when it was discontinued and Miyauchi binoculars now that production has ceased for the second time.

I will say this, rarity raises prices. In the refractor world why else would a doublet achromat of 5" aperture be twice as costly as a triplet apochromat of 5" aperture?

Barry Simon


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Jaimo!
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5771968 - 04/01/13 11:36 PM

Ok Barry...

Just a little hypothetical math... 650 members of the Unitron group, representing 10 - 15 different models of Unitrons produced, representing Excellent, Good, Average, Fair & As-Is conditions sold with or without a mount or other accessories. Your n is some where between 4 and 7 per model. I know many of your 650 members might have 2, 3, 4, or 5 scopes... I also know this is extreme and the 114 has sold many more than some of the rarer models. But my point is statistically your variance on the price per model with condition requirements will be exceedingly high. Checking A-Mart, one of the leaders in used astronomy equipment and an easy sampling, 31 Unitron Scopes have been sold in the last 5 years... Small n, difficult to establish any meaningful statistical results.

Please realize I'm doing the math as an extreme example...

Jaimo!

Edited by Jaimo! (04/01/13 11:46 PM)


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Datapanic
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5771969 - 04/01/13 11:36 PM

Quote:

Whenever anything is no longer available the price goes up because supply goes down and demand goes up. Witness the interest in the Celestron C5 when it was discontinued and Miyauchi binoculars now that production has ceased for the second time.




Respectfully, true to a point in time, but eventually, what happens is that everybody who wants one, has one. Then, the prices stabilize or even go down. I have a friend that owns a mint, award winning '69 Ford Red/Black Stripe Shelby GT and is currently experiencing that phenomenon.

Quote:

I will say this, rarity raises prices. In the refractor world why else would a doublet achromat of 5" aperture be twice as costly as a triplet apochromat of 5" aperture?




Because not everybody yet who wants one, has one! But they're still looking for those below retail prices before they're going to commit to a buy.


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JonH
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: sgorton99]
      #5772019 - 04/02/13 12:20 AM

Quote:

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




Wouldnt work for Johann, the signature would go over a page


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: JonH]
      #5772368 - 04/02/13 09:01 AM

I love you guys, You let me ramble on and on even when I do not make any sense.

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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5772374 - 04/02/13 09:03 AM

You know if we let on for what we paid for our classic scopes we we could get one of two things.

YOU PAID HOW MUCH ???????????? What A fool
YOU PAID HOW MUCH??????????? and you want what for it. You greedy @^@%@&@*.

I think you all get my point


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BarrySimon615
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: Jaimo!]
      #5772380 - 04/02/13 09:08 AM

Quote:

Ok Barry...

Just a little hypothetical math... 650 members of the Unitron group, representing 10 - 15 different models of Unitrons produced, representing Excellent, Good, Average, Fair & As-Is conditions sold with or without a mount or other accessories. Your n is some where between 4 and 7 per model. I know many of your 650 members might have 2, 3, 4, or 5 scopes... I also know this is extreme and the 114 has sold many more than some of the rarer models. But my point is statistically your variance on the price per model with condition requirements will be exceedingly high. Checking A-Mart, one of the leaders in used astronomy equipment and an easy sampling, 31 Unitron Scopes have been sold in the last 5 years... Small n, difficult to establish any meaningful statistical results.

Please realize I'm doing the math as an extreme example...

Jaimo!




Great, I am glad you are researching prices! What you have learned would be a valuable addition to what we already have. I would like you to contribute to the posts we have on the Unitron Group and document your findings about price. In addition for models (such as the 114 that have sold multiple times) that you can document, you could contribute your data to the poll. Keep in mind that the poll only wants objective price information on scopes that are really in very, very good/excellent condition.

I know that once you broaden the selection by consideration of different conditions ranging from poor to excellent/as new, the selling/buying price range broadens out. This is complicated more by the addition/subtraction of different accessories and eyepieces. All of this contributes to what ultimately is a "gut feel" of just what a reasonable price is.

Barry Simon


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Dave M
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5772397 - 04/02/13 09:13 AM

Quote:

You know if we let on for what we paid for out classic scopes we we could one of two things.

YOU PAID HOW MUCH ???????????? What A fool
YOU PAID HOW MUCH??????????? and you want what for it. You greeady @^@%@&@*.

I think you all get my point




You forgot one
YOU PAID HOW MUCH ?????? How could you %*@! the seller like that.


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terraclarke
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5772544 - 04/02/13 10:34 AM

"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."

Hmmmmmmm, ..... I like that idea. Do I hear a motion?



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clintwhitman
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: Dave M]
      #5772559 - 04/02/13 10:42 AM Attachment (6 downloads)

The pricing of classics ,

"Condition" "Minty Original condition" will bring the best prices and the collectors out of the wood works. All the scopes I have held onto fall into this description. To me it is one one the biggest parts of their charm. While all of the Classic Telescopes in any condition are very nice, the ones with all their original boxes and bits and pieces are the best and will alway bring top dollar. As far as setting prices, all the variables will make that quite impossible to set firm prices. But you could set a middle of the road price based on past sales. In fact most of the old timers on this group already know what these are. If we see a 76mm Tasco or Mayflower for sale for $474 we all gasp. But if it is $175 and in perfect shape then the wheels start turning. Same with a 150 Unitron. If there was a 155 E minty Unitron for sale with all its original boxes Guide scope and bits and pieces and a E clock drive for $3500 it would get snapped up in a second. $5k it would more than likely sit for a while.


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BarrySimon615
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: clintwhitman]
      #5772592 - 04/02/13 10:59 AM

Another factor that should be taken into account whether it be a discontinued Unitron or other discontinued classic telescope is "Inflation".

I said in the Poll Question that the 1987 price (thru RVR) for a #510 (5" f/16 Unitron equatorial telescope) was $13,200. The few that I have seen sold over the past few years typically sell for at or close to $15,000. This is actually reasonable considering rarity/availability and inflation. If you use an inflation calculator and plug $13,200.00 into 1987 and then convert to 2012 (2013 data is not yet available), the result is $26,259.00. So in a way a mint condition/as new rare 5" Unitron could be considered a bargain at $15,000.00
Calculator - http://www.westegg.com/inflation/infl.cgi

We do not like to see good scopes go out of production, but as long as they are still being produced, that tends to keep prices down. A bare bones Celestron C8 in 2013 costs little more than it did when first introduced in the early 70's. Considering inflation, a dollar spent today is equivalent to about 18 cents being spent in 1970 or so. This is bad for someone wanting to sell an early 70's C8, but good for someone wanting to buy one.

Imagine what would likely happen to the price of Questar telescopes on the used market if Questar Corporation ceased production today. Wow!

Barry Simon

Edited by BarrySimon615 (04/02/13 11:01 AM)


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5773174 - 04/02/13 03:39 PM

Barry

All you really need to do is ask Clint what the scope is worth. He is the resident expert. I cannot think of anyone better to evaluate the value of a classic scope. There are enough experts in this forum, yourself included who already know these answers very well.


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amicus sidera
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes [Re: starman876]
      #5773531 - 04/02/13 05:45 PM

The fair price for any classic telescope (or any other similar luxury good, for that matter) is determined by whatever the "market", i.e., individual collectors acting as a group, will bear on a given day. In my opinion, it won't be too long before the market for high-end classic instruments will follow a pattern in which the age of collectors, and hence their financial status, will begin to figure prominently.

Among amateurs of a certain stage in life (mostly middle-aged today, and who grew up in the 1950's and 1960's), a sort of cultish devotion to Unitron, Questar, et al., seems to have taken hold. How much of this fancy is driven by such factors as the peer influence of their fellow collectors, the instruments themselves, their ego needs or the clever marketing ploys in advertisements of four decades and more past that affected them in their youth, is a matter of opinion. Be that as it may, I believe that there might well be diminishing interest in these instruments in coming years, as those of us who grew up desiring what were then unattainable treasures pass from the scene.

When the current crop of 50-year-old-plus Unitron and Questar collectors reach old age and attempt to sell their valued instruments, they may be in for a rude awakening to discover that the market for relatively small-aperture refractors and catadioptrics has itself become quite small, regardless of any supposed mechanical and optical perfection which the instruments might possess. It will not be our world any longer, in which Sputnik and Moon landings were childhood wayposts, but that of our grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who will live in a world that we likely cannot imagine at this present time, and who may well have but little attachment to, or use for, their ancestor's archaic instruments, no matter how finely crafted.

As Horace wrote, "Eheu fugaces labuntur anni"...

Fred


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