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View Full Version : Second-hand pricing on20+ year old equipment



NeXT
June 17th, 2010, 10:41 PM
I'm starting to notice a disturbing trend around here.
Now that the recyclers have essentially purged all the basements of any loose electronics (be it computers or stereo gear for example), the amount of stuff the local second hand stores are getting in is a lot lower. About three years ago I saw a Sony reel-to-reel for sale for $25 at one particular store.
Now that the more interesting goods are more few and far between I'm starting to see second hand stores deviate from the "sell it cheap and you sell a lot more" rule that second hand stores are intended to be bult upon and move towards "if they want it, they will buy it at any cost" that most antique (real junk) stores have.
So I was in the same second hand store again today and saw that they had not one but two Sony reel-to-reel decks for sale. This time they were $150 and $180 respectively.
Ditto for cartridge games as another example. Do I really want to pay $6 for a copy of Sonic 2 or $200 for a Sony Trinicon camera that's missing its VCR? No.
I instead left the place after paying $35 for a 5000 BTU air conditioner which was a lot more of a reasonable price. why? Because air conditioners grow on trees.
Even worse, this is not local to me. It's happening in Vancouver as well and all the towns in between. :huh:
It kinda reminds me of how when the Amige 2000 and later series boxes were still being sold, nobody bought them but now the prices for them and pretty much any amiga accessory is worth its weight in platinum bars, encrusted with blue diamonds.

Edit: Oh damn. I forgot a space in the title.

I guess it's supply and demand but still, jacking the price just because it's older and more uncommon does not constitute that your theory on why you did so was logical. You are a second-hand store. Now act like one and stop trying to gouge us.

Ole Juul
June 18th, 2010, 01:03 AM
Second hand stores bug me when they do that kind of thing, and I don't mind telling them - with my wallet and my mouth. :) They are not adding value by having or providing expertise. On the other hand, I don't mind paying "big bucks" in high end antique stores (when I can) because they have the expertise and go to great trouble to have the right stuff. In fact I find the higher end antique stores are often cheaper for similar items than the trashy, so called, antique stores you typically find in smaller towns. The big town pros know what stuff is really worth and have a reputation to maintain.

The local dump is starting to bug me too. Now they're charging 10 bucks for all computers. Almost all are worth much much less. The end result is that they are no longer fulfilling their mandate of keeping stuff out of the landfill because people are not buying.

strollin
June 18th, 2010, 05:15 AM
It's pretty much governed by the law of supply and demand.

Chuck(G)
June 18th, 2010, 08:32 AM
What I've seen that's particularly puzzling is high prices for 60's era transistor audio gear. Most of that stuff was terrible. Who knows? Maybe my Sansui 2000 receiver will someday fetch more than I paid for it.

Ole Juul
June 18th, 2010, 12:22 PM
It's pretty much governed by the law of supply and demand.
Sometimes. Maybe even often. But I've seen a lot of cases where vendors want a lot of money and they are not selling stuff. That's the case with the country side antique stores. The "big city pros" turn over their stock, the over priced stores are just looking for the sucker market which is much smaller.

I remember going into a little computer store years ago and asking if he had any mother boards from upgrades. He did, but asked what I thought was way too much. I offered him a fraction of that and he went for it. It's a smart vendor who understands the concept that it's better to get a couple of bucks in your pocket right now, than likely none later.

I think the eBay phenomenon of higher prices is the apparent larger "sucker market". Perhaps that will even out after a while. Still the world is a puzzling place. In this part of the world we have something called pawn shops. They look up the price in catalogues and that's what they charge. You can get an old worn out item for the price of a new one. Interesting phenomenon.

NathanAllan
June 18th, 2010, 12:38 PM
Sometimes. Maybe even often. But I've seen a lot of cases where vendors want a lot of money and they are not selling stuff. That's the case with the country side antique stores. The "big city pros" turn over their stock, the over priced stores are just looking for the sucker market which is much smaller.

I remember going into a little computer store years ago and asking if he had any mother boards from upgrades. He did, but asked what I thought was way too much. I offered him a fraction of that and he went for it. It's a smart vendor who understands the concept that it's better to get a couple of bucks in your pocket right now, than likely none later.

I think the eBay phenomenon of higher prices is the apparent larger "sucker market". Perhaps that will even out after a while. Still the world is a puzzling place. In this part of the world we have something called pawn shops. They look up the price in catalogues and that's what they charge. You can get an old worn out item for the price of a new one. Interesting phenomenon.

Definitely agreed! I run one of those computer stores that sell parts for a small charge rather than hoping for a larger one. Just a few minutes ago, a person bought a stick of PC133 ram, and I sold it to him for $5. Even installed it for him, no problem.

One thing I have noticed about a lot of shops is that they are in it strictly as an investment and have no love for anything BUT money (they don't like the tech part). I love the tech part and will help people no problem when it comes to parts like those older sticks of ram. I could have gone for more, but he wouldn't have bought it.

To me this business is mostly a labor of love, and I do my best to keep prices down. One thing I wish is that more people would come in looking for that elusive small part that's $5.

Dave Farquhar
June 18th, 2010, 01:35 PM
Maybe it's cyclical? They think the old stuff is worth a fortune because it's not being made anymore, so they jacked prices to see what would happen? And most likely, the stuff priced at three figures will just sit, because, like you say, those types of stores add absolutely no value. If anything, their mishandling in the back room might subtract value as things like power adapters/cords get separated from the unit.

And maybe after 6 months, they'll get sick of looking at all that $180 equipment, someone will remember that people actually bought that kind of stuff when it was $25, and then prices will return to where they were?

Maverick1978
June 21st, 2010, 06:38 AM
I personally blame the popularity of auction sites, eBay in particular. Because eBay's now part of pop culture, everyone knows about it, and every small-town antique shop and second-hand vendor uses it to help determine prices for items that are not in their area of expertise. Unfortunately, this opens the prices of the auctions up for interpretation, where they can see closed auctions for a boxed/complete/nm Amiga 2000 with a plethora of high-end upgrades and peripherals going for big bucks, and thinking that their stock A2000 is worth nearly that much. Further complicating the situations is that many of these vendors also sell on eBay, and list high BINs for their items, which causes further trickle-down... and here we are. Where an IBM AT in unknown working condition and incomplete at best is listing for $150-200 as a standard.

With that said, I don't mind if a spare part that I sell on the 'bay goes for slightly more than it's worth... but I'd just as assume that things go back to where they were 6-7 years ago - when old hardware sold for old hardware prices... not the $200+ for an IBM AT motherboard-only... supposedly working pull at that.

mark66j
June 21st, 2010, 09:44 AM
One thing to add, however: If the prices are too high, we (the collectors) are really to blame. Some of us at least have been willing to shell out the big bucks on eBay and elsewhere for this gear. It's not like someone is ordering us to buy a vintage machine. At least on eBay, I know people are buying because they keep outbidding me -:(