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Author Topic: Vintage Mic Value Registry: Good Idea?  (Read 18024 times)

Klaus Heyne

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Re: Vintage Mic Value Registry Coming Soon...???
« Reply #30 on: August 19, 2010, 04:24:39 PM »

antoniosolo wrote on Thu, 19 August 2010 12:37

I welcome some guidance, in my future purchases, from this forum and its respected members.


That is the reason why I usually prohibit pricing quotes on this forum. Citing "Blue Book" prices without direct knowledge of, and correlation to, an individual microphone can be tempting, and could quickly drag the value of this forum down to a mud-hole used by hucksters to cheat the ignorant.

This is what would happen if I were to allow pricing discussions:
seller of mic x will quote to potential buyer the highest price someone at some point may have mentioned here, that mic x has garnered, as "established average price", then use it to justify a similar price for his version of mic x.

Besides the points already made- that only a free market establishes the actual value of a mic, and  every time anew when the deal is struck- the cosmetic and functional condition of a used microphone varies so widely, with so many minute variations, and with often purely discretionary values attached to these variations.  The price range therefore can be very large, and therefore, pricing info too unreliable to print here.

Rule of thumb: the older the mic, the larger the price variations- due to condition and fluctuating demand.

(But then there are exceptions to that rule, too: U87s, old, new, bad, good, all range within a few hundred dollars of one another. Go figure!)
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joeyhavoc

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Re: Vintage Mic Value Registry Coming Soon...???
« Reply #31 on: August 19, 2010, 05:49:50 PM »

antoniosolo wrote on Thu, 19 August 2010 14:37

 I am not arguing that the value established as fair must be the selling price, we value our personal belongings differently.


This is the crux of the problem.  Would you pay $15K for a 2.5" x 3.5" playing card that cost less than $.10 to make in 1993 and you can't actually play with?  How about $89K?

http://www.examiner.com/magic-the-gathering-in-boston/bgs-10 -beta-black-lotus-magic-the-gathering-card-on-ebay-for-89-00 0

Is that crazy?  It's a matter of personal perspective.  Folks on this forum would spend $89K in some other way, but the former Magic player who came in second at the World Series of Poker and always wished he had one has a different perspective.

I bring it up because it is analogous to vintage Nuemann mics.  Less than 2000 Alpha Black Lotus cards were made.  Some got worn out, some thrown away.  No one knows how many are truly available.  If you want one in good condition, how many options (or shots) do you have?  The ebay auction claims that in the last 5 years, no Black Lotus has been offered or sold in better condition.  It's a true statement.  

Jump back to our industry and to the small studio that has lost out on three clients in the last month because they don't own a historic U47.  They may be willing to pay a hefty premium for one that a studio that already has 2 or 3 might not.  You're not just paying for a brass tube and resistors, you're paying for access to a product of unknown quantity, along with legitimacy and prestige.  That U47 is worth different amounts to those two parties and each party must decide its value to them.    

antoniosolo wrote on Thu, 19 August 2010 14:37

  Surely there can, and should, be a system whereby value is established, with "agreement" being the next step in a normal purchase agreement.  We aren't setting rules, only establishing some documented values and benchmarks to establish worth.


There are folks who buy microphones as collectibles and some who speculate in their future value.  That's no different than the stock or futures markets.  The demand and interest in a specific item can fluctuate on a weekly basis if not daily and there is no way to track that until after the fact.  At that point, it's too late.  Paper and even electronically published price guides are too slow to react for collectible categories with active participation.

Which is worse?  Having a price guide that represents itself as the authoritative advisement on pricing but is inaccurate more often then not, or having no price guide at all?

Joe Hauck
AMI, Inc.
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Stephen Andrew Bright

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Re: Vintage Mic Value Registry: Good Idea?
« Reply #32 on: August 19, 2010, 06:07:32 PM »

I think the Vintage Mic Price Registry is an excellent idea, and here's why -- if you are in the market for a vintage mic, the first thing to do is check ebay and see what that mic has been selling for. Unfortunately, ebay only archives about 30-90 days of previous sales, and most vintage mics don't sell very often in that time frame. Wouldn't it be great if this info was archived for years or even decades instead of just days? Who cares if the price fluctuates all over the place? The more data points you have, the more accurate your conclusions will be. Trends will be made clear -- like the selling price for a Schoeps M221b is currently going down.

The other big plus is, say you want a C414 EB Teflon, and you check ebay and the only ones for sale are from Madooma for $1299. Is that a reasonable price, or are you paying a $500 premium??? The price registry would tell you the answer.

Stephen
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joeyhavoc

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Re: Vintage Mic Value Registry: Good Idea?
« Reply #33 on: August 20, 2010, 10:17:44 AM »

Stephen Andrew Bright wrote on Thu, 19 August 2010 17:07

-- if you are in the market for a vintage mic, the first thing to do is check ebay and see what that mic has been selling for. Unfortunately, ebay only archives about 30-90 days of previous sales, and most vintage mics don't sell very often in that time frame. Wouldn't it be great if this info was archived for years or even decades instead of just days?


I 100% agree that storing ebay data would be a good idea.  This is done in other categories.

Stephen Andrew Bright wrote on Thu, 19 August 2010 17:07

Who cares if the price fluctuates all over the place? The more data points you have, the more accurate your conclusions will be. Trends will be made clear -- like the selling price for a Schoeps M221b is currently going down.


I 90% disagree with this statement.  There is a saying in the market research industry; GIGO.  Garbage In, Garbage Out.  I've heard recording engineers state it as SISO...

Having "lots of data points" doesn't help if those points are not properly documented or defined.  Schoeps M221b's could be trending down because they are losing popularity OR because the last 15 sales have been for mics with serious problems OR the mics were all sold by folks with poor ebay feedback OR sold from countries that are not trusted to purchase from, OR they were described and presented poorly OR prices for all auctions on ebay trend down in Summer or a combination of all of those things.  Without proper documentation it is difficult to separate the anomalies and make an accurate statement of cause and effect with trends.

Having a generic list of prices achieved (and not achieved) on ebay would be somewhat helpful.  It would provide folks a broad range of prices paid for a mic... on ebay.  It may be helpful to folks to know that U47's sell from $4K-$9K on ebay.  But even that is flawed as prices in many collectible categories are suppressed on ebay due to the risks involved with buying something on ebay.  A U47 sold by a reputable mic repair person that can be seen and heard in person will sell for more in private than if the mic were put on ebay.

This is true for saxophones, violins, stamps, vintage games, Magic cards, sports cards, and many other products as well.

Joe Hauck
AMI, Inc.
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Stephen Andrew Bright

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Re: Vintage Mic Value Registry: Good Idea?
« Reply #34 on: August 20, 2010, 11:30:32 AM »

It would be VERY easy to get a Vintage Mic Registry that consisted of screen shots of completed eBay sales. This would identify the seller (and hence whether or not he is a dealer), the final selling  price, 1 photo, and the description. It can be all done with no typing in about 30 seconds time.

You don't even have to be the buyer to post. People could just follow a couple of mics -- like they might do anyway -- and just take screen shots of the completed sale, no matter who wins.

Other good places to archive would eBay Germany and eBay France, as their selling prices are consistently much less for vintage Neumann and Schoeps mics than eBay USA.

Stephen
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joeyhavoc

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Re: Vintage Mic Value Registry: Good Idea?
« Reply #35 on: August 20, 2010, 11:59:25 AM »

Stephen Andrew Bright wrote on Fri, 20 August 2010 10:30

It would be VERY easy to get a Vintage Mic Registry that consisted of screen shots of completed eBay sales.


I look forward to seeing your new Vintage Mic ebay Auction Archive website!   Very Happy      ...just kidding...

Stephen Andrew Bright wrote on Fri, 20 August 2010 10:30

This would identify the seller (and hence whether or not he is a dealer), the final selling  price, 1 photo, and the description. It can be all done with no typing in about 30 seconds time.


That's solves my concerns about capturing all of the subtle ebay data.  It does not provide a viewer looking at the archived record with enough data regarding condition.  One picture, or the tiny thumbnails of inside shots won't be sufficient and the written description of many of the sellers on ebay is quite questionable.

Stephen Andrew Bright wrote on Fri, 20 August 2010 10:30


You don't even have to be the buyer to post. People could just follow a couple of mics -- like they might do anyway -- and just take screen shots of the completed sale, no matter who wins.


This is another good suggestion.  It would require an editor of the website to delete duplicate listings, ensure that a consistent nomenclature is used and at a minimum a spot check for accuracy of the information being posted.

While it might not be a price guide in the traditional sense, it would at least be an archive of ebay data which people would have to decide for themselves as how to interpret the data.

Joe Hauck
AMI, Inc.
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Stephen Andrew Bright

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Re: Vintage Mic Value Registry: Good Idea?
« Reply #36 on: August 20, 2010, 12:27:46 PM »

[quote title=joeyhavoc wrote on Fri, 20 August 2010 10:59]
I look forward to seeing your new Vintage Mic ebay Auction Archive website!   Very Happy      ...just kidding...

Hi Joe:

If Klaus decides against doing some kind of Vintage Mic Registry here at PSW (which would be a nice companion piece to the forthcoming book), I might actually do it myself. In my view the topic is directly tied to new mics, as some vintage mics are still outright bargains, while others are quite the opposite.

Stephen
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Klaus Heyne

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Re: Vintage Mic Value Registry: Good Idea?
« Reply #37 on: August 20, 2010, 02:33:52 PM »

My guess is that eBay would fight any third-party data aggregation and publication of auction information as copyright infringement, or, if you are lucky, first will ask for a little financial contribution.

How do you think Meg Whitman became a billionaire?

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Klaus Heyne
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Greg Youngman

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Re: Vintage Mic Value Registry: Good Idea?
« Reply #38 on: August 20, 2010, 05:05:56 PM »

Klaus Heyne wrote on Fri, 20 August 2010 11:33


How do you think Meg Whitman became a billionaire?



That's a loaded question.  Living in CA, I'm not happy about my choices for Gov.

As for mic values, the way the economy and unemployment are headed, I predict that prices will continue to drop as more and more people become desperate for cash.
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Mike Cleaver

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Re: Vintage Mic Value Registry: Good Idea?
« Reply #39 on: August 20, 2010, 05:23:25 PM »

For what it's worth, James U Steele has an Ebay price monitor section on his excellent website: http://www.k-bay106.com/market.htm
While nowhere near all inclusive (just American made "vintage" microphones,) it is helpful for those who want to buy and sell their microphones, giving in many cases, the original selling price and the high/low selling prices and pricing trends.
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Klaus Heyne

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Re: Vintage Mic Value Registry: Good Idea?
« Reply #40 on: August 20, 2010, 05:55:17 PM »

But what am going to do with such registry if I were, say, in the market for an RCA 77DX?

He states:
77DX High: $5,049.99   Recent: $525.00

How does that help me determine a reasonable price to pay?
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Klaus Heyne
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mullard

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Re: Vintage Mic Value Registry: Good Idea?
« Reply #41 on: August 21, 2010, 01:52:32 AM »

500 to 5000?
Average is somewhere 2500-3000.
Does it sound right (I have no idea what might sound good as fair price for this particular mic)?
Sinking economy, as well as, domination of modern popular music that doesn't require so much vintage microphones will very likely keep prices from flying extremelly high, but there will be always some demand from collectors, so some average price indicator is still possible to make (like U47 - 6 k, 251 - 12 k etc., etc.)
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Klaus Heyne

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Re: Vintage Mic Value Registry: Good Idea?
« Reply #42 on: August 21, 2010, 02:23:59 AM »

Mullard,
Your conclusions confirm to me why this existing registry cited above is not working, and why I would stay away from adding another one myself:  

Your arriving at an "average" price for a DX77 by adding $5000 to $500, then dividing by 2 is not the way to get at reasonable pricing data for vintage mics.
To obtain useful averages you need a recent, large, data base, not just two mics without any reference to sell date and condition at time of sale.

Your follow-up conclusions therefore will leave any wanna-be U47 and ELA M251 bidder dry. Not even in the current deep recession have I seen such low prices for genuine, stock, vintage samples of these mics.

Judging just from first hand experience alone, popular vintage mics in original, well-working, condition have not seen any discernible drop in prices over the last two years.

What as shrunk somewhat but, not significantly,in this economic climate is the market for marginal models in marginal condition.
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Klaus Heyne
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joeyhavoc

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Re: Vintage Mic Value Registry: Good Idea?
« Reply #43 on: August 21, 2010, 09:55:47 AM »

Klaus Heyne wrote on Sat, 21 August 2010 01:23

Your arriving at an "average" price for a DX77 by adding $5000 to $500, then dividing by 2 is not the way to get at reasonable pricing data for vintage mics.

To obtain useful averages you need a recent, large, data base, not just two mics without any reference to sell date and condition at time of sale.


To quote Fletcher, "I 1000% agree..."  Also, "average" or "mean" is a misleading figure unless you have large data sets (at least 100 data points) and they happen to fall into a bell curve.  It is amazing what a graph can reveal!  Also, I have always calculated mean, median (midpoint between the extremes) and mode (i.e. price most often paid).  A graph along with the three "M's" provides the best tools for accurate analysis.


Klaus Heyne wrote on Sat, 21 August 2010 01:23


Judging just from first hand experience alone, popular vintage mics in original, well-working, condition have not seen any discernible drop in prices over the last two years.

What as shrunk somewhat but, not significantly,in this economic climate is the market for marginal models in marginal condition.


On ebay at least, this phenomenon is occurring in multiple categories.  I don't know if it is the economy or a function of ebay.  For example, in stamps, marginal, mediocre or unclear examples sell for 10-30% of catalog (which everyone knows is over inflated but no one knows by how much).  Stamps of exceptional quality with good pictures and/or some certification will sell for over catalog.

It could be a sign of the times, or it could be a function of the trust of ebay, or it could be that history has shown that the stellar samples in a collectible category have traditionally risen dramatically higher than run of the mill samples.  As the number of "collectors" increases, the percentage that can have the cream of the crop shrinks and the competition to get those pieces increases.

Joe Hauck
AMI, Inc.

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Mike Cleaver

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Re: Vintage Mic Value Registry: Good Idea?
« Reply #44 on: August 21, 2010, 08:48:09 PM »

True, Steele"s "Ebay Market Watch" does not take into account the condition of the microphone sold.
As anyone who frequently scans Ebay knows, given Klaus' example of an RCA 77DX, that these things show up pristine and original, refurbished by known RCA microphone restorers, to beat up radio station cast offs to total trash, sold with missing parts, some just empty shells, etc.

I liked it more for the "original selling price" column.
As one who keeps track, particularly of RCA ribbon microphones, I saw the 5 thousand dollar plus 77DX. I even saved the pictures from the auction.
It was brand new, in a sealed box, fresh from the factory, with everything, including the tags and documentation.

Others in much worse condition have sold for less but some with provenance sell for more than 3 thousand dollars.
"So and so owned and sang or played into this particular microphone" is the usual claim, often backed up with pictures, letters etc. which may or may not be genuine.
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