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Equipment Discussions >> Classic Telescopes

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BarrySimon615
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Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes
      #5770501 - 04/01/13 11:00 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


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5770515 - 04/01/13 11:11 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.

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bierbelly
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5770870 - 04/01/13 01:53 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.

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grendel
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: bierbelly]
      #5770886 - 04/01/13 02:00 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


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Dave M
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: grendel]
      #5770890 - 04/01/13 02:03 PM

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


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes *DELETED* new [Re: Dave M]
      #5770899 - 04/01/13 02:08 PM

Post deleted by starman876

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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: Dave M]
      #5770900 - 04/01/13 02:08 PM

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

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Bob Myler
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: bierbelly]
      #5770947 - 04/01/13 02:33 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.


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Datapanic
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: Bob Myler]
      #5771004 - 04/01/13 03:04 PM

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

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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: Datapanic]
      #5771012 - 04/01/13 03:06 PM

Don Carlos here and I want to know where you live

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BarrySimon615
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5771133 - 04/01/13 04:30 PM

Quote:

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


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5771194 - 04/01/13 04:51 PM



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Dave M
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5771322 - 04/01/13 05:39 PM

Quote:

Don Carlos here and I want to know where you live




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Jaimo!
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: Dave M]
      #5771385 - 04/01/13 06:11 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!


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: Jaimo!]
      #5771420 - 04/01/13 06:29 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.

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sgorton99
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5771444 - 04/01/13 06:42 PM

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

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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: sgorton99]
      #5771449 - 04/01/13 06:45 PM

Good idea Steve. I should have thought of that

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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5771455 - 04/01/13 06:47 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


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orion61

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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5771514 - 04/01/13 07:26 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....


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BarrySimon615
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: Jaimo!]
      #5771596 - 04/01/13 07:59 PM

Quote:

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

Edited by BarrySimon615 (04/01/13 08:06 PM)


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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 new [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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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5773551 - 04/02/13 05:48 PM

That does it. Time to sell before you guys do not remember what Unitron means.

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BarrySimon615
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5773722 - 04/02/13 07:09 PM

Quote:

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




Boy does this paragraph ring true. I believe, as you apparently do, that the price of certain classic instruments such as Unitron telescopes is largely nostalgia driven. In our youth back in the 50's and 60's, these were highly coveted but unobtainable. Some of us in our 30's bought our first Unitrons and some waited until later. (I am now 60, but was 33 when I got my Unitron #152 4" equatorial). The young adults of today entering the hobby did not grow up in an age where Unitrons were advertised and much sought after.
I feel that interest will wane and prices will stabilize and likely even fall (factoring in inflation effect) as many of us assume the horizontal position.

Barry Simon


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5773766 - 04/02/13 07:21 PM

I was too busy buying corvettes and jaguars in my youth and never even considered buying a telescope. I was also too busy partying and catching my hand

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will808
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5773916 - 04/02/13 08:15 PM

These telescopes are anachronisms now but they had their day...the 530 the past 2 years has been a real source of gratification for me as i was a really motivated amateur astronomer back in the day!

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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: terraclarke]
      #5773959 - 04/02/13 08:39 PM

Quote:

"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?





The Cave and Criterion owners may disagree with you on that one..


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: orion61]
      #5774030 - 04/02/13 09:00 PM

I think they can have a forum called the??? What was that term used not long ago???? Oh yes. Scopes that looked like garbage cans

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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5774278 - 04/02/13 10:05 PM

Quote:

I think they can have a forum called the??? What was that term used not long ago???? Oh yes. Scopes that looked like garbage cans


I thought it was "water heaters" quoting of course the late George Carlin. Mike

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amicus sidera
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: mikey cee]
      #5774330 - 04/02/13 10:36 PM

I remember when we used to be reasonably civil to each other, and didn't denigrate each other's choice of equipment, even in jest.

Seems like a long time ago...


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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5774339 - 04/02/13 10:41 PM Attachment (7 downloads)

Quote:

I remember when we used to be reasonably civil to each other, and didn't denigrate each other's choice of equipment, even in jest.

Seems like a long time ago...




Well, I agree and love all my classics! Even though I have 4 Unitrons, my 1959 Cave is on my do not sell list for that observatory when I retire! Go ahead and call it a garbage can or a water heater...

Edited by sgorton99 (04/02/13 10:42 PM)


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Datapanic
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: sgorton99]
      #5774363 - 04/02/13 10:52 PM Attachment (7 downloads)

Garbage Cans! *#$(&*@!!!???

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Datapanic
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5774365 - 04/02/13 10:53 PM

Quote:

Quote:

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




Boy does this paragraph ring true. I believe, as you apparently do, that the price of certain classic instruments such as Unitron telescopes is largely nostalgia driven. In our youth back in the 50's and 60's, these were highly coveted but unobtainable. Some of us in our 30's bought our first Unitrons and some waited until later. (I am now 60, but was 33 when I got my Unitron #152 4" equatorial). The young adults of today entering the hobby did not grow up in an age where Unitrons were advertised and much sought after.
I feel that interest will wane and prices will stabilize and likely even fall (factoring in inflation effect) as many of us assume the horizontal position.

Barry Simon




Once everyone who wants a Unitron (or whatever) at a good price, gets a Unitron at a good price, the bubble is going to pop. Think of it as the Telescope Bubble.


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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: sgorton99]
      #5774368 - 04/02/13 10:55 PM

Classic Caves, Criterions, and other well built classic Newtonian water heaters are cool, I only denigrate the ones that look like clothes hampers and garb.... or, excuse me, dobsonians

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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: terraclarke]
      #5774387 - 04/02/13 11:05 PM

What would life be if we could not poke fun at it. It would be a very dull world. This is a great forum and most people appear to enjoy life and have a great sense of humor. So let us all take a deep breath and relax. I do see that some take things a lot more seriously than I do. As the old saying goes. I will be laying flowers on your grave and buying your Unitrons at your estate sale

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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes *DELETED* new [Re: starman876]
      #5774474 - 04/02/13 11:52 PM

Post deleted by JWW

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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: JWW]
      #5774549 - 04/03/13 12:41 AM

Are those pics of 35 and 50 gallons units?

Edited by mikey cee (04/03/13 12:43 AM)


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JustinO
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5774554 - 04/03/13 12:45 AM

The fairest price is found in the largest market of knowledgeable buyers and sellers.

Where it really gets complicated is trading. How many Clark eyepieces can you get for a 4" Unitron? We should make a huge spreadsheet.


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Datapanic
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: JustinO]
      #5774563 - 04/03/13 12:52 AM

Frankly, I really don't care about prices.

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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: Datapanic]
      #5774668 - 04/03/13 03:13 AM Attachment (9 downloads)

How much is the 1970 155c in its Original wood, cardboard boxes and wrapping paper. I have never seen another like it for sale. And I will hopefully be able to keep it till I am done here.
Well if I died tomorrow and all my scopes got dumped off at the salvation army, I can say I have gotten every penny's worth from my collection!!
Beside I am going to be compacted and buried in my nine inch refractor and have them use the rest of my collection to backfill the hole....
(aveman
I like to think of the 65 Cave as a Lawn Cannon
The 66 El Camino is a Cowboy Cadillac


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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: clintwhitman]
      #5774770 - 04/03/13 07:02 AM

A sense of humor is a valuable asset. If we cannot laugh at/with ourselves, how can we justify laughing at/with others.

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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: clintwhitman]
      #5774863 - 04/03/13 08:32 AM

To be honest when I see pictures of those Cave's I drool. I would love to have one. Maybe someday I will. They are a beautiful scope

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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5774907 - 04/03/13 08:55 AM

Well said Johann, the caves' appeal is reflected in the sentiments people express when they see any well crafted scope. Personally I dont remember the glory days of the unitron and was not around for the chequred flag at the end of the space race, although I hear you guys won. I had a chance encounter with Unitrons (a blog written by Clint) and was instantly hooked. Many of my friends in their mid twenties admire these exquisite instruments and one of them recently purchased a vintage f15 achromat. While you are free to take your scopes to your graves I hope you wont do so as there are (in my experience) many younger astronomers who appreciate the higher quality workmanship in a vintage Zeiss compared to a contemporary Meade or Orion. Ultimately, these are the people who will be establishing scope prices.

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BarrySimon615
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: Datapanic]
      #5774953 - 04/03/13 09:10 AM

Quote:

Frankly, I really don't care about prices.




Interesting position statement....given your Username (Datapanic).

Barry Simon

Edited by BarrySimon615 (04/03/13 09:13 AM)


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5775014 - 04/03/13 09:28 AM

Barry

In all honesty I have voted. The only thing I want to mention is that a 75mm equatorial recently sold for over $2000 and you really do not allow that benchmark in your poll. So, if you wish the poll to be somewhat accurate maybe an adjustment in pricing should be made. Statistics are only as good as the data provided. Omit certain facts and the statistics are not accurate.


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highertheflyer
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5775032 - 04/03/13 09:31 AM

Just perusing Google search for Unitron Price Lists, I came upon another one.

1960 Unitron Price list.
1.6" Altazimith----------------------$75.00 US$
2.4" " ---------------------$125.00
2.4" Equatorial---------------------$225.00
3" Altazimuth---------------------$265.00
3" Equatorial ---------------------$435.00
3" Photo-Equatorial----------------$550.00
4" Altazimuth-----------------------$465.00
4" Equatorial-----------------------$785.00
4" Photo-Equatorial----------------$980.00
4" Equatorial w/clock drive Model 160V--------------$985.00
4" Equatorial w/clock drive Model 166V-------------$1075.00
4" Photo-Equatorial w/clock drive and Astro Camera $1175.00
4" Photo-Equatorial as above with pier---------------$1280.00
5" Photo-equatorial as above (pier ?)-----------------$2275.00
6" Equatorial w/clock drive---------------------------$5125.00
6" Photo-Equatorial w/4" guide scope & camera-----$5660.00
6" Photo-Equatorial with 3" Astrographic camera----$6075.00

Thinking my 1960 Chevy Convertible cost me used in 1963, $1,000 !

No wonder those heavyweights did not find owners.

Jim


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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5775055 - 04/03/13 09:40 AM

I think there will always be "reflector people" and "refractor people." WhiIe have stated many times my preference for refractors, I do also realize the utility, the inherent beauty, and desire for fine reflecting telescopes. My second and third telescopes in my lifetime were reflectors, both ATMd. I would love to have my 6 inch back but it appears to be long gone. Any derisive comments I made about reflecting telescopes in this thread were intended to poke a little fun and inject a little good humor. I think, as others have stated, that we are overall a very merry and cohesive group and I love that about this forum. If you want to see some real attitude, just take a trip over to the Refractors forum and read what some APO owners have to say about our beloved Fraunhofer achromats but that is neither here nor there.

On another note, some have said that interest in the classics will wain as we die off and that what drives our passion is the nostalgic longing to own some of those highly desirable and well marketed telescopes of our youth during the early space age, that were then out of our reach, the Unitrons and Caves for instance. Yes, I do believe that there is something to this, but I think it is also in large part, the desire to own something that is beautifully made, expertly crafted, and used and treated lovingly by an earlier generation. I live in a craftsman bungalow that was built more than 20 years before I was born, rather than in a 1950s ranch such as the one I grew up in. It is decorated with furniture and antiques that are of its era if not earlier, rather than artifacts of my own youth. So I don't buy the argument solely that we are trying to recapture or relive our youth by owning a telescope that would hark back to that time period.

I love Unitrons not just because I wanted one when I was young, but more importantly because they are lovely precision instruments of a bygone era. Even though they are expensive today (remember, we have seen that they really cost little more than when they were new when we factor in inflation), they are much more affordable than telescopes made by Mogey, Brashear, Clark, Zeiss, or Bausch and Lomb in the 1920s or earlier. I would love to own, but will never be able to afford a 1920s Zeiss or a 1900 Clark, but I can afford a Zeiss or several Unitrons made in the 60s. So I think our 1950s and 1960s telescopes will be every bit as desirable to people who love fine old things in the future as an Alvin Clark and Sons is to us today.


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BarrySimon615
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5775197 - 04/03/13 10:34 AM

Quote:

Barry

In all honesty I have voted. The only thing I want to mention is that a 75mm equatorial recently sold for over $2000 and you really do not allow that benchmark in your poll. So, if you wish the poll to be somewhat accurate maybe an adjustment in pricing should be made. Statistics are only as good as the data provided. Omit certain facts and the statistics are not accurate.




Re - the 75 mm equatorial selling for over $2000.00 - was this a Model #142 (basic equatorial with standard focuser and no guidescope and no Uni-Balance), or was this a Model #145, the photo-equatorial with deluxe focuser, photo-guide scope and Uni-Balance? The #145 with it's additional features given the same condition would typically result in an upward price jump of between $500 and $1000.00 to most buyers/collectors. Additionally there were also fewer #145's making them all the more desirable and able to garner a higher price.

My poll for the #142 has $1400 and up as the highest selection, so this would obviously be the place to register your vote, if indeed it was a model #142 that sold for over $2000.00. If it was a model #145, you should not have voted for it in the #142 category. (It may be included later in a separate poll, and if so there will be a bracket that takes the price over $2000.00.)

Keep in mind too, that in the original parameters for the poll I said that the price should not reflect the price of the motor drive, if available. Many of these scopes originally sold without that option. Many buyers did opt to get one later as additional funds became available.

When the poll is over this is how I will establish a price guideline - let's simplify it and say that we have 4 people saying something is worth between $100 and $200 (mid-point is $150 and as there are 4 voters, 4x150 = 600, we also have 2 people establishing a value of between $200 and $300, so we take $250 as a mid-point and as there are 2 voters, 2x250 = 500. If this is all the data we have 1100 total and 6 voters, so 1100/6 = 183.33 or $183.33 as an average price for the item in very good to excellent condition, complete as originally sold. I would think that the $183.33 could be a benchmark for right now - not the year 2010, nor the year 2015 for whatever this number represents. This assumes no one tries to game the system by underpricing or overpricing the models listed. This should be possible if those participating are only entering data for these same models as they purchased them or sold them.

This is only a benchmark. Some people that want something bad enough (in the case of my Unitron 75 mm richfield refractor with #128 mount that was purchased for $1900.00 over 10 years ago) or someone sells something much lower than what market forces would dictate will throw the numbers off, but hopefully the highs and the lows will balance out. Better to have additional guidelines than fewer or none at all.

Barry Simon


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5775214 - 04/03/13 10:46 AM

that was a 142
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Unitron-3-Model-142-Refractor-Telescope-/160987467374...


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5775218 - 04/03/13 10:48 AM

Also, note that the 102mm equatorials have been going for $3000 and up in really nice condition.

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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5775536 - 04/03/13 01:13 PM

The 90mm Sears #6345 has been relisted and the price dropped from $1100 to $850. Thats not a Unitron but otherwise a great scope which some on here have compared to a 4 inch Unitron. So what you think of that Some prices are dropping; that one by ~25% in a month's time. Yup, April 15th is just around the corner and some of us are giving Uncle Sam a hefty check right about now, but others are getting substantial refunds from the tax man. What's up with that

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Sears-Discoverer-6345-Refractor-Telescope-/2908909898...


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: terraclarke]
      #5775857 - 04/03/13 03:48 PM

That sears will never be a Unitron. However, it is a rare beast.

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will808
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: clintwhitman]
      #5776287 - 04/03/13 07:42 PM Attachment (7 downloads)

Love the El Camino Caveman...suspected you werent a one trick pony!...i'm the proud second owner of a 65 Mustang Fastback & have had it for 21 years...even the East coast folks rock too!..Thanks for all of your thoughts in this forum over the years...we likely wouldnt even know about John Pons/Steve and the GOTO 6" refractor if it wasnt for you...what a story that is...take care & enjoy the Pearl,yet another unbelievable story...West coast rocks...Will.

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BarrySimon615
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5776708 - 04/03/13 10:57 PM

Quote:

that was a 142
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Unitron-3-Model-142-Refractor-Telescope-/160987467374...




Judging by the pictures on the link, that is certainly a time capsule scope. Essentially showroom new and worthy of some extra dollars.

Barry Simon


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BarrySimon615
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5776726 - 04/03/13 11:09 PM

Quote:

That sears will never be a Unitron. However, it is a rare beast.




Not the aura of a Unitron, but fully as good a performer When I re-emerged from my high school/college years tunnel....and saw the light, the first telescope I bought was s Sears 3" f/16 equatorial refractor that I paid $160 for. It had a blue/gray tube, blue objective cell and focuser and a black equatorial mount with a declination shaft that was captive both above and below the polar axis. The tripod had metal tubular legs. It was an amazing performer, easily able to split the Double-Double with a 28 RKE eyepiece (less than 43x). An amazing scope, fully the optical equal of any 3" Unitron I ever had.

Later Unitron 3" tube assemblies that I had were all very capable performers, but I never had one better optically than that 3" Sears Discoverer tube assembly.

What really sets a Unitron apart is the mounts, not the tubes.

Barry Simon


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mikey cee
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5776842 - 04/04/13 12:12 AM Attachment (8 downloads)

At this point in time this Tasco 20TE "Obervatory" model is not for sale. Someday maybe but I still use it on a semi regular basis. It currently sits in the SE corner of the observatory and easily wheels out to an observing position below the main scope. Image quality is amazing. I honestly haven't a clue to it's value having seen none anywhere for sale. Hmmmm just curious. Mike

Edited by mikey cee (04/04/13 12:23 AM)


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mikey cee
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: mikey cee]
      #5776853 - 04/04/13 12:27 AM Attachment (8 downloads)

Another angle in a more recent pic.

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clintwhitman
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: will808]
      #5776986 - 04/04/13 03:39 AM

will808 Will, You are one of the old timers on the group,, Thanks for the Kudos we do have a little fun finding the stuff the realoldtimers left behind.
Mike C always nice to see that TAsCO scope!!!

To all concerned your telescopes are worth exactly what the buyer gives you for it... LOL My gosh 2 12mm Abbe Orthos sold for $1600


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BarrySimon615
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: clintwhitman]
      #5777161 - 04/04/13 08:28 AM

Quote:

To all concerned your telescopes are worth exactly what the buyer gives you for it... LOL My gosh 2 12mm Abbe Orthos sold for $1600




Yes that is so true and many sellers and buyers do establish what they hope is a fair price by doing a little research, typically looking up past transactions. Often a seller of used equipment will take in consideration what they paid for the item, either new or used, factor in what has been added to it or subtracted from it, factor in wear, factor in current demand (via an internet search including forum talk like right here) and factor in time/inflation.

What we have on the internet is a wonderful resource for buying and selling. I remember back in the 70's you had your local newspaper's classified section as your platform for buying and selling, plus if you were in a club you could place an advertisement in a club newsletter. Maybe if you had a local telescope store with a kind owner, he might allow an ad to be placed on a bulletin board. There were also ads in Sky & Telescope and ASTRONOMY, but by the time the magazine got to you all the good stuff was gone. Flash forward to the late 80's and you got a monthly classifieds magazine called "The Starry Messenger". That was a lot of fun going thru that magazine every month. Problem with it was it was still somewhat dated. In most cases by the time you first saw an ad, it was at least 2 months since the seller submitted it for posting. If other parts of the country got their copy in the mail first, you were out of luck on things that looked good. Moving into the 90's we get the internet and things like eBay, AstroMart, Craig's List and CloudyNights classifieds and something I decide to sell at 10 am could be sold within hours. These venues certainly open up the world to us, but they also drive prices up as it creates a feeding frenzy of sorts. However this is current reality and we have to take the bad with the good, but mostly good I believe.

Barry Simon


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Joe Cepleur
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5777178 - 04/04/13 08:49 AM

Quote:

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




Had to research that one. It means, "Alas! The fleeting years glide on."

Amicus, your assessment will likely prove true. When we look at instruments from hundreds of years ago, we love 'em --all brassy and beautiful-- but we also think, "Narrow field of view, low resolution, uncoated optics," and assess them, at best, as the best that could be made in their time.

I tried to find comet Panstarrs in my 60mm Jason 313 last week. The view through the reflex viewfinder was so dark and dim that there was hardly a chance of success, not even by accident. Gotta confess I thought to myself, "I love small refractors, but I hate having to use them." Not meaning to start a flame war about the many virtues and appropriate applications for small refractors. Just commenting that, had I not hurt myself that day, and so had been willing to haul the C8 to the observing site, I'd surely have seen the comet in more than just binoculars!

I try to focus on quality, not brands. Is my Tasco 7te-5 really such a bad poor man's prize if I don't care to spend on a Unitron? I'm not asking if there is no difference. I'm stating that, for me, I'm getting 99% of what I want for 10% of the price, and am more than happy with that. (Folks like me don't drive prices higher!)

The profusion of fine quality, small refractors is the result of a Japanese armaments industry (gun sights and spotting scopes) needing business after World War II, mixed with an American desire for leisure being exploited adroitly by businessmen such as David Bushnell. One might expect that, ultimately, the Tom Johnson's or John Dobson's reinventing telescopes for sake of their optics would prevail. It's no surprise that a C8 or a big Dob reveals more than a small refractor. Still, aperture rules only when one can lift it. Small refractors will remain tempting for their gorgeous grab-and-go views of many, many objects. They are also fun. I suspect they will long have a following, even if, someday, only a few astronomers-cum-antiquarians use them and love them. Kinda like antique costume jewelry. Too good to throw away, so they will always retain some value.


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5777187 - 04/04/13 08:57 AM

So, if many buyers do their own research and most of us know what the value of these classic telescopes is why do we need a price guide that does not provide a grading factor like overall condition. What extras come with the scope. Without these factors the price guide is really worthelss. Someone could use this priceguide that does noe take all these factors into account and tell a seller that their scope is not worth anything near what they are asking. Most collectors buy scopes because they are priced below what they consider market value. If you follow this forum most of us brag how cheaply we got a collectable scope.

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amicus sidera
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5777615 - 04/04/13 12:48 PM

I believe that the buyers in the market are, and will continue to be the sole determiner of prices for any instrument, no matter how finely made or prestigious, as they are without exception luxury goods - they are not bread.

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highertheflyer
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5777754 - 04/04/13 01:37 PM

I've watched the PBS ANTIQUES ROADSHOW and newer cable programming such as PAWNSTARS, yet wondered how the so called "experts", actually achieved the means for todays pricing's. For me it's assumed the exposures enhance their "Prestige Professionals" and to establish rulings for appraisl and insurance assessments.
Did I mention enhancements to "Professional Recognitions, and Pocketbooks" ???
As an example, I've a collection of furniture from a deceased relative forming a portion of this home today.
Now when formally I sell, there will be an auctions' media representative to gain the knowledge and interests in final formal bidding's.
Antique cars and cattle have presence on cable television and viewing there enhances opportunities to sell at higher prices.
Antique hobby trains are another case in point, but most of those high dollar items were packed away in attics with original packaging, yet unaware the boxes were worth nearly as much as the train item inside!

Telescopes are much larger and rarely does one find cartons with original packaging's
So no entity, excepting a few dedicated handfull's of antique telescope buffs, will ever gain this interest, and no profit orientated cable channel will ever place our telescopes on auctions for their programming!

Now as a dedicated group, are are left to our own means, and shall we resist the museum's dusty warehouses?

To thus perhaps a youngster, a view of the nights lights from early sights of their grandfathers?

Just my two cents,
Jim

Edited by highertheflyer (04/04/13 03:45 PM)


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Bonco
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5778094 - 04/04/13 04:36 PM

Quote:

I believe that the buyers in the market are, and will continue to be the sole determiner of prices for any instrument, no matter how finely made or prestigious, as they are without exception luxury goods - they are not bread.




Yes! Let the market place determine the value. Too many variables to create a meaningful price list. Also the values will contiue to change as time goes by.
Bill


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: Bonco]
      #5778172 - 04/04/13 05:22 PM

http://www.cloudynights.com/classifieds/showproduct.php?product=67228&sor...

another 142 selling for $2300.
Barry
I have a feeling that your price list needs a lot of adjustment.
Instead of a price list guide why not just a spreadsheet that follows the sale of Unitrons. The more research I do I cannot justify recommending a pricing guide. I hope this is not a baby you fell in love with and cannot let go.


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BarrySimon615
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5778222 - 04/04/13 05:57 PM

Quote:

So, if many buyers do their own research and most of us know what the value of these classic telescopes is why do we need a price guide that does not provide a grading factor like overall condition. What extras come with the scope. Without these factors the price guide is really worthelss.




If what you are referring to as a price guide is the poll (on UnitronTelescopes), there is an "overall condition" parameter set - very good to excellent condition. Additionally I do, in the original question and in the forum message about the poll do establish further guidelines - specifically, for the model # given, the answers of individuals concerning price should be for complete scopes as in the descriptive text in catalogs for that particular scope. If someone does not have a catalog, most of them can be found in our "Files Section". We are talking about complete scopes with eyepieces and either a diagonal or Uni-Hex. Motor drives should not be included as these were considered accessory items.

Anyone having difficulty with the question should not participate in the poll and anyone who has not actually bought or sold one of the models in question should not participate in the poll.

Ultimately this serves as just another reference in helping someone price out a scope. The catalyst for all of this was a private meassage query I got here on CloudyNights from the owner of one of the scopes included on the poll. He wanted my help in helping him price what he had for sale. The poll is what I decided would be useful for him......and perhaps for others. The results that I am seeing so far dovetail pretty darn well with my preconceived notion about what kind of price range I would see. In short it seems to be right on the money to me for right now.

Barry Simon


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5778259 - 04/04/13 06:19 PM

Well Barry, in all fairness once you decide what the right prices are you should than ask us all if we think the prices are correct. There are some die hard collectors here who know very well what prices these scopes fetch. Of course if you follow tile guy lately and his auctions you will see that some of the parts that has sold lately on ebay blows your price guide out of the water. However, it would be best not to mention that

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BarrySimon615
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5778275 - 04/04/13 06:27 PM

Quote:

another 142 selling for $2300.
Barry

I have a feeling that your price list needs a lot of adjustment.

Instead of a price list guide why not just a spreadsheet that follows the sale of Unitrons. The more research I do I cannot justify recommending a pricing guide. I hope this is not a baby you fell in love with and cannot let go.




No, not really. The two #142 scopes you mentioned at high prices are really lying outside the curve in a sense. The first one you referenced is really an amazing scope in showroom new condition if the pictures can be believed. If I had the hots for another Unitron #142 and had the money for it, it would be tempting (but then again I bought a #145 which is the 3" photo-equatorial in showroom condition for $600 back in 1987). The scope you just mentioned has additional equipment which add to the price - the Astronomy Shoppe motor drive which sells for about $300 and the catalog, some of those are going for $30 to $50, amazing for something that used to be given away free. You will note too that this particular 3" is an early model with some of the tell tale features of an early #142 - holes in the RA gear, setting circles, attachment wing nuts, etc. Early models tend to catch the interest of the collectors, driving price up. Additionally there is a category for prices like this in the poll.

I am tempted to give you more data about poll results so far which I will do but only via Private Message and only with the promise that you will not divulge what I tell you either here or on the UnitronTelescopes forums, at least not until I conclude the poll on the 15th.

Barry Simon


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5778283 - 04/04/13 06:29 PM

You send me a 145 in mint condition you can buy my silence

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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5778286 - 04/04/13 06:32 PM

Oh wait, never mind, the last thing I need is another telescope. Guess you will have to trust me

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Bonco
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5778569 - 04/04/13 09:05 PM

Quote:

http://www.cloudynights.com/classifieds/showproduct.php?product=67228&sor...

another 142 selling for $2300.
Barry
I have a feeling that your price list needs a lot of adjustment.
Instead of a price list guide why not just a spreadsheet that follows the sale of Unitrons. The more research I do I cannot justify recommending a pricing guide. I hope this is not a baby you fell in love with and cannot let go.



Forget any price list. I'd only offer my superb 142 for over $2000 probably around $2300. It's worth that much and more to me.
Bill


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: Bonco]
      #5782372 - 04/06/13 06:32 PM

As the old saying goes. Never do anything that will bite you in the ars later in life. Barry is about to learn this lesson in life

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highertheflyer
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5782827 - 04/06/13 10:38 PM

And oh to be the bloke that lives in Australia as to such a lucky fellow, a beautiful find!
Hope the final price is actually published.
Jim


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BarrySimon615
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5782931 - 04/07/13 12:19 AM

Quote:

As the old saying goes. Never do anything that will bite you in the ars later in life. Barry is about to learn this lesson in life




You know Starman 876, most that have commented in the Unitron Group do support my generation of the poll. I have explained my rationale for and the criteria for it enough so that there is absolutely no need to defend it further. You persist in attempting to demean it, to ridicule it and to state that I will regret doing this. My question is how so? Will the "Free Market Police" come take me away in the dead of the night? I think not, and the last time I checked, we were still able to speak our mind and to render our opinions. You have obviously given all your opinion on the subject. You are entitled to that, so if you want, keep at it. I just want to be on record as saying, it doesn't change a thing, as last I looked, I was entitled to speak my mind as well. So at this point just sit back, chill out and just wait for the poll results. There is absolutely nothing you can do to deter me from seeing this through and I am absolutely not worried about anything "biting me later in life", much less you.

Best regards,

Barry Simon

Note - I always am willing to freely share my complete real name, how about you?


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Rich (RLTYS)Moderator
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5783217 - 04/07/13 07:12 AM

Quote:

As the old saying goes. Never do anything that will bite you in the ars later in life. Barry is about to learn this lesson in life




Starman876, please don't make me have to lock this thread. KEEP IT FRIENDLY.

Rich (RLTYS)


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terraclarke
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: Rich (RLTYS)]
      #5783540 - 04/07/13 10:55 AM

I remember an old Sherlock Holmes movie. It was one of the great ones with Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes, made back in the 40s. To me those, while not in keeping with the novels and short stories (I have read them all- another interest of mine). At any rate, in one of these movies, Holme say something like this:

"A true collector buys but never sells."

My brother and I used to tease each other about that line because we were both somewhat similar in that way, he even more so than myself.

My Unitrons are not now, nor ever as long as I am living, for sale. (At least not for any reasonable price.)


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mikey cee
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: Rich (RLTYS)]
      #5783556 - 04/07/13 11:06 AM

Quote:

Quote:

As the old saying goes. Never do anything that will bite you in the ars later in life. Barry is about to learn this lesson in life




Starman876, please don't make me have to lock this thread. KEEP IT FRIENDLY.

Rich (RLTYS)


Ah c'mon RLTYS I just popped up a fresh batch!!

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BarrySimon615
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: terraclarke]
      #5783595 - 04/07/13 11:29 AM Attachment (7 downloads)

Terra,

I am a big fan of Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes too, as well as the stories as originally written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. (4 as's in one sentence, how about that!) However I digress, back to the subject.

I too have often thought, boy that is one that I will never sell. Said that about my Model #152 Unitron when it originally was purchased new by me back in 1986. About 6 years later I acquired a Brandon 130 f/8 apo which was essentially a scope that melded "same as Unitron 5" hardware (focuser, objective cell, Uni-clamps, shortened Unitron tube, etc., etc." with an Astro Physics supplied apo triplet objective. That telescope literally blew the 4" Unitron out of the water but nevertheless I managed to hold on to the 4" Unitron for another 8 or 9 years until it was sold primarily because of non-use.

That 5" Brandon was also one that I thought I would never sell, but guess what, it is gone too. Primarily due to non-use. It was with out a doubt, the best looking telescope that I ever had, see photo.

I do wax nostalgic about some of these long gone "mistresses of the night", but their sale gives me the opportunity to flirt with other nice telescopes. One constant however, since I renewed my interest in astronomy back in 1978 has been my Jaegers "home-built" 6" f/5. Now that is one "old gal" that has been with me a long time and we have had many adventures together.

Picture is of the 130 mm f/8 Vernonscope Brandon with a home-built 75 mm guidescope using Unitron components. The tube assembly with all rings, finders, guidescope and Uniclamp rings weighs in at 33 lbs. No mounting holes are drilled in the tube, Uniclamps do all the work. The scope rides on a Losmandy/Celestron G11, one of the first available, purchased in 1992.

Barry Simon


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highertheflyer
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5783678 - 04/07/13 12:15 PM

We are all our own telescope's appraisers and all of us, as telescope appraiser's, a dime a dozen.
Looking back at Antique Roadshow and Pawn Star "expert" appraisers, I wonder what infighting those ranks consist?
Thank goodness for Barry's attempts to place these mixes together and thank you Barry in your attempts.
Keep it up.
Jim


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dgreyson
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: terraclarke]
      #5783770 - 04/07/13 01:05 PM

Quote:

I remember an old Sherlock Holmes movie. It was one of the great ones with Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes, made back in the 40s. To me those, while not in keeping with the novels and short stories (I have read them all- another interest of mine). At any rate, in one of these movies, Holme say something like this:

"A true collector buys but never sells."

My brother and I used to tease each other about that line because we were both somewhat similar in that way, he even more so than myself.

My Unitrons are not now, nor ever as long as I am living, for sale. (At least not for any reasonable price.)




Dog of Flanders!!! I just told Caveman I couldnt bear to trade him my live Dodo for his Holy Grail because, 'sigh', I must have hording tendencies.

Thank goodness, I'm a true Collector, not a miserable horder. I feel much better now.


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: dgreyson]
      #5783781 - 04/07/13 01:10 PM

Hey, I am just teasing. I am not trying to be nasty.

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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5783794 - 04/07/13 01:19 PM

I know I have been the voice of let's not do this. However, I hope that it does provide some insight into what people think these scopes are worth to people who have no clue. Maybe some of us are opposed because the list will tell us our scopes are worth less than what we think. some will see they are worth more than they thought. And the worst thing that could happen is that the ones you have up for sale are compared to the list and people tell you that you are asking too much. Thats about it

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terraclarke
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: dgreyson]
      #5783858 - 04/07/13 01:56 PM

Hmmmmmmm, oh well. I'm glad you feel much better now. So do I

Terra


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clintwhitman
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: Rich (RLTYS)]
      #5783875 - 04/07/13 02:04 PM

Quote:

Quote:

As the old saying goes. Never do anything that will bite you in the ars later in life. Barry is about to learn this lesson in life




Starman876, please don't make me have to lock this thread. KEEP IT FRIENDLY.

Rich (RLTYS)




Johann is being friendly, you should see him when he is mad!!
What we have here is just a myriad of different opinions on a topic.

First of all I am a long time member of Barry's Unitron group. I currently own one 114, one 75 EQ (ON LOAN), Four 4" Unitron OTAS, Three of them match the following mounts. One 1954 Unitron EQ Mount W/brass OTA, One 1970 155-c setup guide scope, Elec Drive and all, one 150 EQ Mount. The fourth OTA sits on my 9" AP refractor in my Observatory.

I have sold or been involved with the sale of at least three times as many vintage Unitron telescopes. I have sold many restoration parts that I have collected and I still have boxes of parts sitting around in my garage. I just looked at your poll Barry and have come to conclusion that while admirable it really is pointless to try to paint a set values to such a specific thing with such a wide brush. Case in point there are too many variables that I look for in Unitron Telescopes when buying them. Age and condition being the factors that matter to me the most.
a 1980s 114 to me is not worth anywhere near what a mint condition 1955 model would be. Also your polls pricing high value for a complete original condition 152 is at
"#152 - 102mm f/15 eq. - $2301 to $2600"
Please direct me to this telescope store, please?? If these were what you could buy a 152 for I would have 10 more of them in my collection because I think the prices on all these collectible items is going to go thru the roof one day soon.
Besides over the past 10 years I have sold 2 152 bare bones telescopes for over $3500 each and traded a complete restoration 152 scope for a $3500 Camera system several years ago. I am going to post a set of values for the whole line up on the group and see what the collectors here think of it. We All want a great deal and once in awhile one pops up. But to say thats what the item is worth is pretty silly.
(aveman


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BarrySimon615
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: clintwhitman]
      #5783935 - 04/07/13 02:31 PM

Clint,

Thanks for the additional data on your experiences. I will incorporate that into my comments/analysis after I end the poll tomorrow morning.

I do realize that there is a very broad spectrum of scopes and variables with each item up for sale. A lot that goes into setting a price is based upon gut feeling, but hopefully by somenone in tune with what something is worth.

Years ago (early to mid 90's) when my work territory had me running Interstate 10 between Lafayette, LA and Ft. Walton Beach, FL I spent some time in pawn shops along the route purchasing Olympus SLR camera bodies and Olympus Zuiko lenses. I knew the product and could determine if something was worth purchasing and what the price should be without referring to a list or a guide. I also knew when I would not be embarrassed by trying to negotiate downward a price that was already low. My adventures in "Pawn Shop Land" were both fun and profitable.

Unitron telescopes and mounts are fun in the same way and there is a range of prices that run from bargain to steep. By the way, the poll does not have a high value for the #152 which cuts off at $2600, the upper selection for that one is "more than $2600" and I fully intend to document specifics as to what your post above and Starman876 have said about specific scopes.

Assuming that those responding to the poll are following the parameters set up in the forum post about the poll and the specific question on the poll, results do show so far that while I have no doubt that what you have seen is true (Starman876 as well)there are scopes that are being bought and sold at lower prices. I am tempted to say more about this now, but I will hold off until tomorrow.

Perhaps west coast pricing is different than here in the Deep South, better bargains to be had in our neck of the woods.

Stay tuned.

Barry Simon


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clintwhitman
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5783953 - 04/07/13 02:41 PM

If you use pricing set by people that wish they had a 4" unitron telescope that live in a place where a house costs $26k I don't think you would be putting your thumb on the pulse of this issue. I posted current "Reasonable Pricing" For the whole line up of telescopes. And if any wants to sell me there for 33% less as shown in your polls pricing I WILL TAKE IT... In Fact please send me all the original equipped excellent to good condition 152 Unitrons you can get your hands on for $2600 each I will buy them all. I have about $80k I can invest right now.

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BarabinoSr
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: dgreyson]
      #5783964 - 04/07/13 02:47 PM

I've been following this post with interest.I believe that Barry has stirred up a subject that is dear to many of us classic owners, and I respect his opinion on this subject . As a collector, I don't have a problem with it as market values will of course dictate classic prices along with condition of the instrument. It is a well known fact that in most of the situations the rarer a scope is and the better condition it is in,the more it will cost.The Unitrons,Gogakus, questars and the like are considered prime classics and are more in demand,and I accept that a fair price would have to be negotiated between buyer and seller.Consider for example the price difference between the TASCO 7TE-5 and a comparable UNITRON 60mm, both scopes fully complete with all accessories ? Which would be the more sought after ? One lists their classic for a price they consider fair on the open market and see what happens.Thanks,Barry ! Great Topic!
Gary


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarabinoSr]
      #5784154 - 04/07/13 03:55 PM

This has been a great topic and I see that everyone has given their opinion. Barry, I do appreciate the time and effort you have pur forth to do this. I also hope you take all the advice you have gotten and factor it into your final guide. This is not an easy subject to pin down because of all the factors that need to be taken into consideration. Looking forward to seeing the price guide. I am sure that will prove to provide another serious amount of comments as for that is what this countty is all about.

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highertheflyer
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarabinoSr]
      #5784271 - 04/07/13 04:38 PM

Here's a true story with reference to classic telescopes and automobiles.
Four years ago, I listed a 1967 Mustang Fastback, a one owner, on Craigslist Dallas.
Two minutes after I pushed "enter", the phone rang from a local fellow urging me to wait till he pushed $4,000 cash in one hundred dollar bills.
It was a Friday night (don't sell a car on Friday Night as the Auto Title departments will be closed till Monday). I accepted the 40 100 dollar bills and wrote a affidavit selling the Mustang to him.
In the ensuing hours and days, I had many others wishing to buy. One showing up at the doorstep having 70 one hundred dollar bills for me!
When I told him a purchase had been made, I promptly removed the Craigslist posting.
As such, that $4,000 Mustang owner was very very happy.

And with regard to Unitron telescopes, here is a very recent posting from another member of our group showing a nearly complete Unitron 4" for sale, albeit in Australia.

http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/showthread.php?t=105402

A dedicated true admirer of this telescope would find its way to the new home, regardless of the new position here on this earth.
So the point of the matter; If you are not aware of an items demand, please do not Poo-Pooh others and please become familiar with items recent sales.
Are there friends here on Craiglist that would like to document recent and actual sale prices for these telescopes?

Just a thought,
Jim


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BarrySimon615
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: highertheflyer]
      #5784293 - 04/07/13 04:53 PM

Jim,

What is the Australian to US exchange rate? Note too that this is not the standard #152, it includes a guide scope plus a weight driven clock drive, which alone will likely add a ton of value to this package. (I am sure someone else will comment on the value of a weight driven clock drive. It was $738.00 in 1981, so maybe at least $2000.00 today for just that item.)

Barry Simon


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highertheflyer
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5784338 - 04/07/13 05:12 PM

1.04 Austraiian to one US Dollar. so just a bit less our United States dollars for the Australian dollars.
https://www.google.com/search?q=australian+to+us+dollars&ie=utf-8&oe=...
Just a bit of a the global field so we will shortly see and will have to deal with classic and ancient worldwide scopes.
Lets perhaps set up a means for everyone to work with this new long range pricing's and its means for long range sales.
Jim


Edited by highertheflyer (04/07/13 05:26 PM)


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: highertheflyer]
      #5784366 - 04/07/13 05:27 PM

The last mechanical clock drive for sale went for $2700.

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highertheflyer
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: highertheflyer]
      #5784421 - 04/07/13 05:58 PM

Hi Barry.

http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/showthread.php?t=105402

And as an old retired airline pilot, I wish I had happenend upon this 4" scope years and years ago.
I could have transported this find, stored in the belly of the airplane we flew, to destinations for the Dallas Fort Worth Airport and beyond.
Alas, I am with a new generation and I leave it up to the folks finding means to transport towards that new home.
jim


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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5784773 - 04/07/13 09:00 PM

Quote:

The last mechanical clock drive for sale went for $2700.




Considering that the Australian scope is now at $4500.00 and a guide scope with Uni-clamps and rings should be worth at least $500 and the weight driven clock drive is at $2700.00, (for a total of $3200 for these two items) the $4500 offer can really be considered low ball. Almost makes it feasible for someone in the USA to put in a bid above $4500.00. However, how much would it cost to ship this scope from Australia to the United States. Bet it would be a chunk of change!

Barry Simon


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gelkin
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5784797 - 04/07/13 09:13 PM

Quote:

The last mechanical clock drive for sale went for $2700.



And that was what, 6, 8 years ago. Couldn't find the ad anymore.


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highertheflyer
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5784890 - 04/07/13 10:05 PM

Quote:

Quote:

The last mechanical clock drive for sale went for $2700.




Considering that the Australian scope is now at $4500.00 and a guide scope with Uni-clamps and rings should be worth at least $500 and the weight driven clock drive is at $2700.00, (for a total of $3200 for these two items) the $4500 offer can really be considered low ball. Almost makes it feasible for someone in the USA to put in a bid above $4500.00. However, how much would it cost to ship this scope from Australia to the United States. Bet it would be a chunk of change!

Barry Simon




Hi Barry. I have known a fellow that shipped a small plane disassembled with the wings and tail detached, from Asia to the USA in a large shipboard container. Yes, it wasn't cheap but it can be done.
And with the proper desire and will power, a smaller package could be shipped as well.
Jim


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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: highertheflyer]
      #5784978 - 04/07/13 10:40 PM

I've shipped stuff from the US to Uzbekistan and the trick is to use UPS, pack well, pack in many smaller boxes as opposed to less larger boxes. UPS escorts the shipment through customs which reduces the time the shipment sits waiting for inspection. When I shipped via USPS, there was no integrity at the endpoint in Uzbekistan and 1/2 the items were stolen from postal employees. So, bottom line, UPS and pack it well. Whatever the cost, it's worth it. Of course if the shipment were coming from Australia to the US, I would expect better service than shipping to a 3rd world country.

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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: gelkin]
      #5785033 - 04/07/13 11:23 PM

That was an astromart auction
http://www.astromart.com/auctions/details.asp?auction_id=4558

final bid $2550. So I was wrong about the $2700.

If you search the astromart website for the last 10 years. Yes you can do that. you can get a very good idea of the varying prices of unitron for the last 10 years. You search bot the auctions and the classifieds.
You can find out just about what every classic scope has sold for. Or any other scope you are thinking of buying and you do not need to be a member.


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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5785059 - 04/07/13 11:38 PM

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Unitron-75mm-Refractor-Lens-in-Complete-Collimatable-...

If prices keep going like this what guide would we use?


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5785061 - 04/07/13 11:39 PM

And here is an eyepiece set that sold for what a 114 would be listed at.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Used-Unitron-Telescope-Eyepiece-Set-Optical-L...


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5785065 - 04/07/13 11:42 PM

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Unitron-Style-Counter-Weight-Mount-Bracket-for-4-inch...

and unibalance for $600

True you do not see these for sale very often, but this sort of sale is becoming a trend. All factors that need to be considered.


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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5785257 - 04/08/13 03:41 AM

Quote:

That was an astromart auction
http://www.astromart.com/auctions/details.asp?auction_id=4558

final bid $2550. So I was wrong about the $2700.

If you search the astromart website for the last 10 years. Yes you can do that. you can get a very good idea of the varying prices of unitron for the last 10 years. You search bot the auctions and the classifieds.
You can find out just about what every classic scope has sold for. Or any other scope you are thinking of buying and you do not need to be a member.




If you look it was missing parts the top transfer box was missing


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: clintwhitman]
      #5785391 - 04/08/13 07:56 AM

And the last 4" Unitron with the weight drive sold for $6000 and it was sold very quickly. That was a steal.

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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5785575 - 04/08/13 10:23 AM

All I can say is that all of this makes me continue to be very happy with my classic telescopes and I feel that I got them all (including the Unitrons) for what I consider to be very fair prices. In particular, there are three of you here in this that have helped me a great deal in assembling my collection and all I can say is again, humbly, thank you very much. And I again thank several others on here as well who have very generously helped me with a few hard to find odds and ends.

Terra


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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: terraclarke]
      #5785776 - 04/08/13 11:47 AM Attachment (7 downloads)

FLASH! FLASH! FLASH!

Unitron Poll Results

Ok, I just finished writing and posting my analysis, comments and results over on the UnitronTelescopes Yahoo Group. So it is time to put that information here.

FYI - Clint, check your spelling of Unitron, on the thread you started.

I have closed the poll effective at 9 am CDT this morning. As of that time we had a total of 99 votes in the poll.

Let me review what the objective of the poll was, what we were voting about, and just what we were voting on:

The purpose of the poll is to get an idea of just what the current (i.e. - April, 2013) selling prices should be (as a guide) to members of this group (UnitronTelescopes Yahoo Group), right here, right now based upon (recent) buying and selling experiences and (possibly) what everyone knows to be recent prices from transactions monitored. Hopefully those that participated had this experience or knowledge. I did not want anyone voting who had no experience, or worse yet, were trying to manipulate the poll by entering price information either higher or lower than what they had hard evidence to prove..

We voted on just 4 models of Unitron telescopes. I know there are a number more, but the poll is limited to 25 selections. I do now regret not including another upper price tier choice in each category as I could have done that within the 25 selections I had. I also regret not spreading out the price brackets for both the Unitron #142 75 mm equatorial and the Unitron #152 102 mm equatorial a bit more. Retrospectively I would have started the #142 at the same lower price range, but I would have also expanded each bracket and had one more. The #142 bracket should have been: $600 to $900, $901 to $1200, $1201 to $1500, $1501 to $1800, $1801 to $2100, and "above $2100". Likewise the #152 should have been: $1400 to $1800, $1801 to $2200, $2201 to $2600, $2601 to $3000, $3001 to $3400, and "above $3400".

There was some, let's call it: dissent in some arenas about the poll brackets being low, centered on these two. I have taken supporting data into consideration and I have to agree. One thing that the results you will see and the comments that I consider tell me is that:

1) Unitrons, some models in particular, are highly collectable, duh!

2) Collectability purchasers dictate price, pity the user who just wants a nice scope at a reasonable price.

As I said, we voted on 4 models only, the #114, 60 mm alt-azimuth, the #142, 75 mm equatorial, the #152, 102 mm equatorial, and the 500 series, 127 mm equatorial.

Results of the poll are driven by rarity of the scopes in question. Retail prices, when available were driven by rarity/demand of the scopes in question. (Why else would you have a basic doubling in price in moving from the #142 3" scope to the #152 4" scope, and then a tripling in price in moving from the 4" to the 5" in 1972, and then to a quintupling in price between the 4" to the 5" by the mid-1980's?)

So here are the results, with comments -

Most (15 voters) place the #114 in the $300 to $400 bracket. 8 voters place the #114 in the $401 to $500 bracket, and the #114 gets 1 vote each in the other 3 brackets. Assuming that we give a mid bracket dollar amount to each vote and multiply all brackets out and divide by the total # of votes, we get $401.00. I interpret this to mean that $401 would be, given today's market a reasonable expectation as a buying or selling price for a very good to excellent condition Model #114 that is complete. I am very mindful of the fact that age of the scope, additional accessories, missing or broken parts, cost of shipping, etc., etc., etc. can and will change all of this. Time will change this too and time in respect to this may be only a few months. Still and all $401.00 based upon scopes I have seen bought and sold recently does appear to be a good benchmark. I do not argue with the poll result here at all. This is a commonly available scope and the bunching of votes at the lower end of the brackets do confirm that.

Moving on to the #142 3" equatorial, the voting shifts with more votes registered in the higher brackets. As I said above, I should have had 1 more price bracket here and the range within each bracket should have been $300, not $200. The #142 represents a "sweet spot" in the Unitron line up - reasonable size at an affordable cost. The voting in this bracket broke out as follows:

$600 to $800 - just two votes, really a steal at this price

$801 to $1000 - 3 votes (still low)

$1001 to $1200 - 6 votes

$1201 to $1400 - 9 votes

more than $1400 - 7 votes (note this is the price bracket that I selected) In another discussion thread, 2 scopes were submitted with proof as to selling for approx. $2300, one of these included a new non-Unitron motor drive which sell for $300 plus as well as a catalog which is highly collectable. This then drops the price of that scope to below $2000.00 when you take those items out. Another respected Unitron guy (CW) has stated that he believes the $1600 to $2000 range is appropriate for a very good to excellent Model #142. I believe it, and the poll tends (but not quite) to confirm it. Based upon the mathematical acrobatics that I did like in the #114 paragraph above, the poll results would set a reasonable price for the #142 at $1218.00. Documentation would tend to indicate that this is about $500 to $600 too low. As demand is high the higher bidding auction participants would keep the price up closer to the $1800 to $2000 threshold.

The price that a #142 will sell for really graphically illustrates that this scope has crossed over into the "collectable arena". Those truly interested in using a good scope and not into such a scope purely for it's collectability will have moved on to greener and more affordable pastures long before they would be willing to plunk down $2000 for a 3" achromat as nice as a 3" Unitron might be.

Our next scope, the #152 equatorial, yields results similar to the #142, the prices are just pushed up to another level. With the #152 we really get into an atmosphere where the major buyers and sellers are true Unitron fans. They have the money and they want the scope. An image of Gollum from the Ring Trilogy pops into my head - "My Precious!"

Anyway the #152 which was $899.00 back in 1972 and then up to $1433 in 1981, $1895 in 1985 and then took a massive jump in 1986 to $3500 (no bull, I can scan a copy of Price List No. LP160 for anyone who would want it). (Note: at least in part, the reason for the demise of Unitron refractors as we knew them.) Back in 1986, Unitrons were not high demand, they were just expensive with a capital "E" and price increases were running well ahead of the inflation rate. Apply an inflation calculator to that $3500 price and you will get a staggering figure in 2013 dollars. In a way, the price paid for a 4" Unitron today is reasonable considering the inflation rate and their rarity.

The poll results are as follows:

$1400 to $1700 - 2 votes

$1701 to $2000 - 4 votes

$2001 to $2300 - 5 votes

$2301 to $2600 - 5 votes

more than $2600 - 10 votes

As previously stated I should have had a $400 price range in each bracket plus an additional bracket, this would have take us to a "more than $3400 option" which would have been more in keeping with what is actually current prices transacted. Applied the "math wizard" to the votes above yields an average price of $2346.00 which as Clint Whitman has said, not exactly in these words - "sell it for that and let me know where to mail the check!" Clint feels based upon his research that the current market supports 4" #152 equatorials in very good to excellent condition being purchased and sold in the $3000.00 to $3500.00 range. Considering the inflation rate and the fact that $3500.00 was the MSRP back in 1986, that seems fair to me. (I sold my #152, which had been upgraded to #155 status for $2800.00 back in about 2001.

Okay, here is the Big Boy, which in truth was the catalyst for this little exercise, the 5" 127 mm f/16 monster. I have seen one of these in person - "Thanks Jim Craft!". We are in rare country here, it is a large and beautiful scope with what looks like a #152 mount on steroids (I believe a #152 set up weighs in at 100 lbs/45 kg, and the 5" on a tripod tops the scale at 275 lbs/125 kg)

In 1972 a 5" equatorial Unitron listed at $2800 and in 1987 the price was up to about $13200.00, almost 5 times as much and outstripping the inflation rate. That $13,200 price tag was also almost 4 times as much as it's 4" brother. $9,700.00 more for just an additional inch of aperture and a lot more hernias! Still and all some were sold and they were and are beautifully impressive telescopes. If only I had an appropriate dome mounted on the roof of my house I would film my own Mystery Science Theater 3000 movie using that telescope as a centerpiece. Cue the aliens!

In the poll the voting broke out like this -

$10,000 to $12,500 - 5 votes (lot's of luck!)

$12,501 to $15,000 - 8 votes (most votes were here and some will sell for this price. Any defect or missing parts and this seems to be the price range to shoot for

$15,001 to $17,500 - 4 votes

$17,501 to $20,000 - 3 votes (gotta be in great condition and most likey one that can be observatory mounted on a pedestal)

more that $20,000 - no votes. This kind of surprised me. I see a vision of "Mrs. Caveman" with a rolling pin in her hand and stomping her foot on the ground. Even a Caveman has his limits! Just teasing Clint! Applying the Math Wizard to the poll results and we get a average poll price of $14,375.00. I wonder how that would fly if that sum were to disappear from the family savings account?

The discussion here and elsewhere plus the results tends to reinforce that as much as anything else, Unitrons are collectable, maybe more so than anything else. If you want to use a great telescope at a reasonable price, unfortunately Unitron is not the answer. Let's see a TEC 140 on a Losmandy G11 mount for $8000.00 or a 30 year old 5" Unitron achromat for double that price; decisions, decisions. However if I am a user it would be the TEC on the Losmandy mount.

Let the bricks be thrown where they may!

Your friendly Unitron Group Moderator,

Barry Simon

Edited by BarrySimon615 (04/08/13 12:25 PM)


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5785864 - 04/08/13 12:29 PM



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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5786029 - 04/08/13 01:23 PM

Quote: An image of Gollum from the Ring Trilogy pops into my head - "My Precious!"

Great Work Barry !
Thanks for the effort and result !

And now -- back to astronomy
allan


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: AllanDystrup]
      #5786161 - 04/08/13 02:33 PM

back to what?????

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AllanDystrup
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5786196 - 04/08/13 03:16 PM

He he, -- You know, "Star light, star bright -- First star I see tonight : I wish I may, I wish I might ..." etc

Ahhh, sorry, I forgot : Cloudy Nights

allan

Edited by AllanDystrup (04/08/13 03:21 PM)


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: AllanDystrup]
      #5786221 - 04/08/13 03:30 PM

I have not viewed in weeks. maybe soon.

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highertheflyer
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5786819 - 04/08/13 08:47 PM

Thank you Barry for your work and for your dedication.
Let's continue this thread with newer numbers certainly to be found.
Hang in their guy.
Jim

Edited by highertheflyer (04/08/13 08:50 PM)


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AllanDystrup
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5787217 - 04/09/13 01:04 AM

Maybe a small ATM project here -- just need to extend the vertical part of the scope 10^4m, then you're back in business

allan


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AllanDystrup
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5787256 - 04/09/13 01:56 AM

Could be be interesting to see a plot chart with fitted Poisson distribution for each of the scope models, -- ideally with a quality/condition signature for each plot point (eg. below, average, above) ...

A mean value without the statistical standard deviation is not really telling a lot.

Allan


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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5787441 - 04/09/13 06:25 AM

Barry, Everyone who would like to buy a Unitron wants a 4" 152 and would like to find a mint condition complete scope for $2k or less.
Everyone who Owns a 4" Unitron and never wants to sell it thinks it is worth $4 or $5K

They check the box that applies to their situation.

By the way the UNITORN post was a reply to your post to Johann. LOL


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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: clintwhitman]
      #5787573 - 04/09/13 08:33 AM

Quote:

Barry, Everyone who would like to buy a Unitron wants a 4" 152 and would like to find a mint condition complete scope for $2k or less.
Everyone who Owns a 4" Unitron and never wants to sell it thinks it is worth $4 or $5KThey check the box that applies to their situation.

By the way the UNITORN post was a reply to your post to Johann. LOL





Clint,

I have 4K in my 152 and it is in NO WAY mint! It wasn't perfect, only had a little ding in the lens when I bought it but boy did I abuse it. Broke the original tripod had to buy a 160 tripod to replace it, replaced the focuser as you know.

So with 4k into mine and it's NOT in mint or excellent condition but I am pretty happy with it.

Mark


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Napersky
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5787577 - 04/09/13 08:36 AM

Quote:

And the last 4" Unitron with the weight drive sold for $6000 and it was sold very quickly. That was a steal.




If you search for Weight drives the last sold on Amart a few years ago for somewhere around $2700 alone. So deduct $3,000 from that 160 and you have a 152 or 155 for $3,000! A steal!


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: Napersky]
      #5787624 - 04/09/13 09:05 AM

The never ending story of what is this Unitron worth. We now have the infamous price guide that looks pretty good, but the more I think about it, maybe the questions should have been answered by people who actually have that model Unitron. So here it goes and please answer only if you have one of the following models.

If you have a 114 what do you think its worth
If you have a 128 what do you think its worth
If you have a 140 what do you think its worth
If you have a 142 what do you think its worth
If you have a 145 what do you think its worth
If you have a 150 what do you think its worth
If you have a 152 what do you think its worth
If you have a 155 what do you think its worth
If you have a 160 what do you think its worth

Not going to ask about larger models because there are only a couple of people that have them.


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Dave M
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5787632 - 04/09/13 09:08 AM

My 114, Priceless...

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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: Dave M]
      #5787645 - 04/09/13 09:16 AM

There you go. Thats what I want to hear

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BarrySimon615
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: Napersky]
      #5787658 - 04/09/13 09:24 AM Attachment (9 downloads)

Given the collectible nature of Unitrons, pricing them out of reach of many with limited budgets, what would be some acceptable substitutes that would, at least partially satisfy those that don't have or cannot justify the funds release for some of us?

Here is my list -

1) The University Optics "Kit" Telescope - an 80 mm short tube f/6.25 (500 mm fl) refractor. This was available from University Optics back in (I think) the very late 80's to the early 90's. Essentially the kit was the unassembled components and an unpainted tube. All you had to do was to screw the objective cell on to the tube, screw the dewshield on to the objective cell and attach the focuser to the tube via 5 small bolts and it was complete if you were ok with an unpainted telescope. Painting, obviously was the biggest component project to the kit. So why is it "Unitron like", or more accurately, made by the same company that made Unitron scopes? The objective cell is virtually identical to the "pre-ear" cells that Unitron had. The telescope tube diameter is an identical diameter to a Unitron 75 mm telescope tube, and more importantly, the 5 attachment holes for the focuser is identical to the attachment holes on a Unitron 75 mm tube. The focuser from one will fit the other perfectly, without any modification. The 3rd reason is the focuser itself - while it is a two inch focuser and a bit more rough cast than a Unitron focuser, the knob assembly is exactly the same as the plastic knobs on the Unitron #152. I cannot prove the source, but I can connect the dots.

2) Telescope Substitute #2 - this one can be one of several telescopes with the awful looking (my opinion, others may like them) objective cells with the large circular connecting flange between the back of the cell and the front of the cell. Later model Celestron 6" f/8 refractors and current model Celestron Omni Series refractors (such as the Omni 120 mm f/8.3) have these. So why is it like Unitron? Well it could be like Unitron if you modify the objective cell. What? Selectively grind down the outer perimeter of that overly done flange and reveal the Unitron "ears" which are there, waiting to be released by the sculptor's tools. Have the front and rear of the objective cell connect where it can connect and remove all that extra mass. These are extremely front heavy telescopes due to the extra mass in those cells, streamlining the cells will give you a better balance point for the tube assembly and a more attractive, more "Unitron like" tube assembly.

3) Find yourself a good Celestron/Vixen SP C102 or SP C80 telescope on a Super Polaris Vixen mount. These scopes, introduced in about the mid 80's are one of several reasons why Unitron went downhill so fast in the late 80's to the early 90's. They offered shorter, but still reasonably long tube assemblies of about 1000 mm focal length with excellent optics (I feel the optics in my SP C102 is at least the equal of what I had in my Unitron #152, and the standard focuser was/is smoother than the Unitron focuser. The Vixen Super Polaris mount is quickly becoming a classic if it is not already there. More functional than a Unitron mount and driven in both axis's. Has hand control and can be used for guided astro-photography. Mine has been a true work horse. These scopes are still available on the used market and the prices have not "yet" gone astronomical. Probably not the case in 5 to 10 years. Not a bad idea to invest in one now.

4) Any one of a number of other classic, well made refractors from the 50's, 60's and 70's with a lesser name that can still be had for a reasonable price. Many of these less well recognized scopes have tube assemblies fully the equal in many cases, and in some cases - better (optical performers) than a Unitron. I will put my Milo 3" f/18.4 up against a Unitron #142 tube assembly any day of the week. I still love that Unitron equatorial mount best though!

Here is a photo of the University Optics kit scope - look at the focuser knobs - same as on the Unitron #152. The University scope is riding on the back of a Brandon 94 which in turn utilizes Unitron #152 identical components - look at the objective cell and look at the focuser.

Barry Simon

Edited by BarrySimon615 (04/09/13 09:26 AM)


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5787724 - 04/09/13 10:05 AM

Very good points Barry. Unitrons feeble attempt by making the folded refractor to battle the shorter refractors that were being favored over the longer F15 unitrons was the last ditch attempt to stay competitive. However, by the early 90's the shorter APO's coming out of Japna that were much cheaper than any 4" unitron was the final blow. Then the imports from China was the nails in the coffin. I know they tried to import some scopes from China to see if they could compete. But the quality that they are famous for was not there so they just stopped selling scopes.

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terraclarke
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: Dave M]
      #5787732 - 04/09/13 10:07 AM

I agree with Dave. I love my Unitrons. Each is a one of a kind in my collection and I would not consider selling or replacing them. I am happy with what I paid for them and consider the prices I paid to be quite fair, but to me, they are now part of my permanent collection and are priceless.

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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: terraclarke]
      #5787741 - 04/09/13 10:12 AM

OK so two votes for priceless

No we are getting somewhere as to the true value


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BarrySimon615
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5787762 - 04/09/13 10:26 AM

Quote:

....maybe the questions should have been answered by people who actually have that model Unitron ......




That was part of the guideline to the poll, in the forum post introducing the poll, I asked that respondents be those that actually had the scopes in question, either as a recent sale or purchase.

Unfortunately human nature being what it is I have no way of verifying if those responding to the poll actually met that criteria. Maybe if you get responses here with details and names it will be helpful. Beyond a few days people will forget about the question so you will have to continue to put the oar in the water. Responses like "priceless" are really not too helpful either. How do you assign a dollar value to that?


Barry Simon

Edited by BRisley (04/09/13 01:17 PM)


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5787775 - 04/09/13 10:36 AM

Barry

very well put. I was wondering about that myself. Were people responding that had, bought or sold the these scopes? I do appreciate what you are doing. However, being an engineer and having to do a lot of analysis I am always stuck in do the numbers really reflect reality and how to improve the results. Therefore, my critical nature of your poll. Hopefully with enough input we can get some accurate results. Also, we will need to update the results as the prices flucuate because of the economy and as people start paying more for these scopes because of demand or visa versa the lack thereof.

Thanks


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Bonco
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5788557 - 04/09/13 03:47 PM

For me: Pristine model 128 Priceless, but I'd might let her go maybe for $1200
Model 142 Priceless, but I'd consider letting her go at maybe $2500. In either case I'd have to really think about it before letting them go. In other words everything is for sale at the right price even if the owner thinks they are priceless.
Bill


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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: Bonco]
      #5788563 - 04/09/13 03:51 PM

More near priceless results
Seems we do not need a price guide. Not if no one wants to sell their Unitron


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highertheflyer
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #5788851 - 04/09/13 06:14 PM

Here, after tens of years owning a Unitron, I remember expounding also, a "Priceless" thought, way back when.
As years go by and time closes inward, my descendents are completely oblivious to my "priceless" needs.
And for an example, I've experienced a deceased member having a "Priceless" large scope donated to a museum, to now reside in a dusty storage warehouse, completely removed from anyone but the curator.
Perhaps now and forever, that's a telescope that will collect layers of dusty dirty dust.
So Classic/Antique telescopes are not to be for the cash reserved and uniformed, and yet we must work on a way to free these entities from a warehouse, so to never become "priceless".
Just my two cents,
jim


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amicus sidera
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: highertheflyer]
      #5790015 - 04/10/13 10:58 AM

Any material item, while it may indeed seem priceless to its possesser for a time, will ultimately become of no worth whatsoever.

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starman876
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5790122 - 04/10/13 11:49 AM

And sooner or later will be sold at an estate sale if you hang on to it long enough

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dgreyson
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Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5790530 - 04/10/13 03:15 PM

Quote:

Any material item, while it may indeed seem priceless to its possesser for a time, will ultimately become of no worth whatsoever.




Oh snap!! Does that include all my Gold, Gem Stones and Slim Whitman records??


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