I am happy to report the public's love of musical instruments has never waned. In my 30 years plus of buying and selling vintage guitars, I have not seen the genre in a recession. In fact, it just seems to keep getting better. The most sought after guitars are actually getting priced out of affordability for the average collector. Your 1950s and 60s Gibson Les Pauls, American Fender Stratocasters, Telecasters, Gretsch Falcons and the like are all commanding top dollar on the secondary market. It’s nothing for some of these to command $20,000 to $30,000 and more.
Today we are seeing the player collect some of the 1970s and 80s bizarre and retro guitars from the U.S. and Japan as these are still affordable but continuing to climb in value. I have to give you a little back story. I owned and operated a used musical instrument shop for 10 years in the 1990s and would often see these guitars. At the time, they were literally selling for under a few hundred dollars. Oh, if I could only jump in to a hot tub time machine and tell the young me to hang on to these and also, not to date a few of those girls.
Let me give you just a few examples. We would sell a Daphne Blue, a rare color, Fender Jaguar for $150. Today, that’s a $6,000 guitar. A 1975 Ibanez Destroyer was $200. A Van Halen Inspired version brought $3,750 recently. Mosrite guitars were about $300 and now $2,000. From 1995 to 2020 we have seen an amazing surge. You might have taken guitar lessons on an old Silvertone Electric with a built in amplifier from Sears that your parents paid $69 for. That’s about $500 today. Who knew that would happen? Names like Univox, Teisco Del Ray, Kay, Harmony, Hamer, Charvel and ESP may all sound alien to some of you but collectors want these guitars.
That example is not just limited to guitars. Many a vintage saxophone, clarinet and flute have seen similar trends. Look in your closet. You may have a hidden treasure you long forgot about from your high school band days. Did you play a Selmer Mark 6 saxophone? That is now about $5,000. Some Ludwig Snare drums are $2,000. A Conn Constellation trumpet is now bringing in about a $1,000 at auction.
Many savvy millennials are finding ways to make a little extra money, non-Uber style, by yard sailing. I believe looking for musical instruments is a no brainer. Many of our “pickers”, no guitar pun intended, bring us these finds on a regular basis. It’s a quick turn at the auction for some extra spending money. I am very passionate about vintage musical instruments as it was my first love in the collecting world. From the trend I see, I am not alone. Music is timeless. I wish I could say that about Hummels and Beanie Babies.
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