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Equipment Discussions >> Classic Telescopes

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JonH
sage
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Reged: 04/07/12

Loc: Brisbane Australia
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
Pa Bear
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Reged: 03/01/04

Loc: New Orleans, LA
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
Postmaster
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Reged: 04/28/08

Loc: VA
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
professor emeritus
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Reged: 07/08/05

Loc: Aledo, Texas
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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terraclarke
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Reged: 05/29/12

Loc: Just South of the Mason-Dixon ...
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
Pa Bear
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Reged: 03/01/04

Loc: New Orleans, LA
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
Postmaster
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Reged: 04/28/08

Loc: VA
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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Reged: 04/28/08

Loc: VA
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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terraclarke
Post Laureate
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Reged: 05/29/12

Loc: Just South of the Mason-Dixon ...
Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes [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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Reged: 04/28/08

Loc: VA
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
member


Reged: 03/07/11

Loc: Haymarket Va
Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: clintwhitman]
      #5776287 - 04/03/13 07:42 PM Attachment (9 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
Pa Bear
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Reged: 03/01/04

Loc: New Orleans, LA
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
Pa Bear
*****

Reged: 03/01/04

Loc: New Orleans, LA
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
Postmaster
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Reged: 01/18/07

Loc: bellevue ne.
Re: Establishing Fair Prices for Classic Scopes new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5776842 - 04/04/13 12:12 AM Attachment (9 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
Postmaster
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Reged: 01/18/07

Loc: bellevue ne.
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
Caveman
*****

Reged: 01/01/07

Loc: CALI SoEasyACavemanCanSlewIt
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
Pa Bear
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Reged: 03/01/04

Loc: New Orleans, LA
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
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 03/18/10

Loc: Dark North Woods
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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Reged: 04/28/08

Loc: VA
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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Reged: 10/14/11

Loc: East of the Sun, West of the M...
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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