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Thread: Not all Collings hold their value

  1. #51
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    Default Re: Not all Collings hold their value

    BTW, I have bought new trucks twice, both times I planned to (and did) drive them until they were useless (over 300,000 miles,) both were in accidents and the insurance company declined to fix them ("Bambi" can really wreck a truck!) Now that the price of trucks new is more than I paid for my first house, it's used all the way!

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  3. #52
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Not all Collings hold their value

    Twice in my life pure dumb luck resulted in a material thing retaining its value. Sometimes its all in the timing. I reenlisted in the USN back in early 1985. I got a pretty nice bonus. I bought a new 1984 Toyota pickup for $11,000 (the Ford's and Chevys were too expensive). I drove that truck for the next 30 years, then sold it for $3,000. Obviously didn't "hold its value" but I feel I got my money's worth. At the same time (1985) I bought a new Harley FXRS for about $8,000. Due to insanity in the big cruiser motorcycle market the book value of my bike went up for the next 5 years, then held steady for the next 5. If I tried to sell it now (she still runs great) I'd likely get less than the original purchase price. But there was a time when it definitely held its value.
    Again, I'd say I certainly got my money's worth from that bike. Lastly, around the same time frame, I bought a used Ibanez Musician electric guitar with a Peavey 130 amp for about $750 (I was single at the time of all these purchases, by the way). This guitar was a real beauty, extremely versatile for a variety of tone. As I came to the realization I'd never be a rock guitar god, I shopped it around to music stores in San Diego and later Seattle. They all said "nice guitar, but nobody is looking for one of these. I can give you $100." The case alone was worth more than that! So I hung on to the guitar. Fast forward to about 5 years ago - I inquired what the value of my old Musician was on a classic Ibanez website. The bids started pouring in totally unsolicited. I agreed to take $2600 from a guy in my state (later a guy in Chicago offered me $3000, but I'd already accepted an offer). I don't expect to ever have that experience again.

  4. #53

    Default Re: Not all Collings hold their value

    I think if you are a trader by nature, and you know who you are, you know there will be a certain financial cost. I know several who generally lose small amounts buying and selling, but don't really mind renting an instrument for a couple of hundred a year. Look at the car lease market. Plenty are willing to do that so they can drive cars they really can't afford.

    But I'm not by nature a trader. One of my personal guidelines is not to buy a particular instrument if I'm thinking resale before purchase. But if I were to by a Collings for $4700 and sell it a year later for $4500, I wouldn't be put out. But they sure are tempting lined up all new and shiny at the store. And knowing I'm a keeper not a trader, I'll never say never to new.
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  6. #54
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    Default Re: Not all Collings hold their value

    There's no obvious reason why a used Collings, purchased new for $6,000, would sell for anywhere near the same price just six months later. The OP is simply not being realistic, in my opinion. As others have already pointed out, used mandolins in good shape typically go for somewhere between 2/3 to 3/4 of the new price, provided that they aren't considered vintage instruments, in which case both monetary inflation and collectability become relevant issues.

    However, sometimes you get lucky -- but that tends to be the exception, and not the rule! I purchased a new Northfield NF-F5M back in 2011, when it was one of the first hundred-or-so mandolins that Northfield had produced. The list price of new Northfield F5 models was being raised steadily, year after year, from 2008 until the lower-cost S-series was introduced, a few years back. I managed to sell my Northfield at a profit in 2014. So, it not only held its value: it appreciated considerably. Of course, that's not remotely why I bought it in the first place, and I never expected to turn a profit. But that's because Northfields were seriously undervalued at the start, as the market subsequently told us.

    Unless you are a highly knowledgeable buyer investing in vintage (never new!), collectable instruments, it is seldom possible to turn a profit on a resale. But yes, it can happen on rare occasions.
    Last edited by sblock; Apr-19-2019 at 12:59pm.

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  8. #55
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    Default Re: Not all Collings hold their value

    And then there is the Henderson D-18 that I got new in 1996, before the book was published about the guitar he built for Eric Clapton..........
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  10. #56

    Default Re: Not all Collings hold their value

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
    At the same time (1985) I bought a new Harley FXRS for about $8,000. Due to insanity in the big cruiser motorcycle market the book value of my bike went up for the next 5 years, then held steady for the next 5. If I tried to sell it now (she still runs great) I'd likely get less than the original purchase price. But there was a time when it definitely held its value.
    +1. Most things purchased new lose monetary market value the moment you buy them. But the notion that nothing holds its value is just as wrong as expecting everything/anything to hold its value.

    That period you described re Harley Davidson was certainly unusual but it happened. Because of sudden unforeseen demand, you could buy a new Big Twin H-D, ride it for a year or two, sell it for more than you paid for it and pick up the new one (that you ordered when you picked up the last one) and still come out a few bucks ahead.

    Lots of examples of things holding or increasing value. The trick is knowing which items and when to buy and sell them. Good luck with that.

    That said, somewhat of a shame that a particular brand was singled out in the thread title.
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  12. #57

    Default Re: Not all Collings hold their value

    ".....somewhat of a shame that a particular brand was singled out in the thread title....."

    +1

    See what happens when you buy a new Les Paul or telecaster!

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  14. #58
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    Default Re: Not all Collings hold their value

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom C View Post
    You would probably get the same $4500 5 years from now. or even 10 years from now. Now that is holding value
    That is a good point.

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  16. #59

    Default Re: Not all Collings hold their value

    zI am the OP and I hear you. I paid a little over $6000 and it has been difficult to get $4500 now for this 2018 model in super condition. So, I thought I would just share this and I have learned a lot from the posts. At this point, it is better for me to keep it and enjoy it. It is a little more bluegrassy than what I prefer, but it will cut through when I need it to do so. Meanwhile, I really want a warm oval hole with sitka or englemann top - but I want to hear it first.

    I did buy a used mando and was able to recoup what I paid. I have a preference now for used, unless it is in person and exactly the mando for my purpose.

    I hope this thread was worthwhile - there are some takeaways I hope.
    Best to everyone here, AB

    Quote Originally Posted by sblock View Post
    There's no obvious reason why a used Collings, purchased new for $6,000, would sell for anywhere near the same price just six months later. The OP is simply not being realistic, in my opinion. As others have already pointed out, used mandolins in good shape typically go for somewhere between 2/3 to 3/4 of the new price, provided that they aren't considered vintage instruments, in which case both monetary inflation and collectability become relevant issues.

    However, sometimes you get lucky -- but that tends to be the exception, and not the rule! I purchased a new Northfield NF-F5M back in 2011, when it was one of the first hundred-or-so mandolins that Northfield had produced. The list price of new Northfield F5 models was being raised steadily, year after year, from 2008 until the lower-cost S-series was introduced, a few years back. I managed to sell my Northfield at a profit in 2014. So, it not only held its value: it appreciated considerably. Of course, that's not remotely why I bought it in the first place, and I never expected to turn a profit. But that's because Northfields were seriously undervalued at the start, as the market subsequently told us.

    Unless you are a highly knowledgeable buyer investing in vintage (never new!), collectable instruments, it is seldom possible to turn a profit on a resale. But yes, it can happen on rare occasions.

  17. #60
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    Default Re: Not all Collings hold their value

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandoplumb View Post
    This is the second post that basically gives the manufacturer the sole right to setting price. This is where our thinking goes wrong and we tend to allow this to happen. If I make a widget and decide to sell it for$1000 and no one will pay $1000 I sit holding my widget till the cows come home and I ain't got no $1000! the market sets the price, not the manufacturer. Supply and demand, it matters not if you are a capitalist or not
    Actually, manufacturers DO have the "sole right" to set the price. They can, and they do. This does then 'filter down' (eventually) to the used market. Another example is the Kentucky KM1000. Just a few years ago you could buy brand new for $1100 or sometimes even less. Used examples could sometimes be found for $750. Street new price now is around $1800. Good luck finding a minty used one for $750 today. Nothing has changed. Same mandolin, but the manufacturer greatly increased the price and this had a trickle-down effect on the used market. Clearly we are talking about generally desirable and sought-after instruments here, not low-class junk than no-one wants to buy. As noted above, Northfield are another example of this.
    Last edited by almeriastrings; Apr-20-2019 at 1:17am.
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  19. #61

    Default Re: Not all Collings hold their value

    i have bought new from builders i really liked, and wanted to support, other wise i usually buy used for the better prices. i have a special liking for odd instruments and unusual ones, that is found used, from ebay to junk stores. looking is fun.

  20. #62
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    Default Re: Not all Collings hold their value

    Quote Originally Posted by willkamm View Post
    I've had pretty decent success buying NOS. (New old stock.) Generally those are priced as if they are used. Plus you get the warranty. If I do end up selling, I barely take a hit at all.
    Four of my five mandolins were NOS. The other was so cheap it didn’t bother me.
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  21. #63
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    Default Re: Not all Collings hold their value

    I own two instruments by the great English luthier Stefan Sobell, which I'm not planning to sell. His stuff comes up quite rarely and he is an example of instruments which certainly hold their value.
    His approach seems to be to assist owners of his instruments who are looking to sell by putting them up on an 'Available now' page on his website (nothing there today - I've looked!).

    The main reasons people sell are things like they're never being played any more, the widow of its owner is putting it up for sale, and sometimes it's been traded in to buy a different Sobell instrument.
    I doubt if Stefan takes a cut from these sales, but perhaps he does offer some helpful advice about condition of the instrument and how much you might expect to sell it for. I don't know.

    But it's good that he offers this service to his old customers.
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    Default Re: Not all Collings hold their value

    Quote Originally Posted by almeriastrings View Post
    Actually, manufacturers DO have the "sole right" to set the price. They can, and they do. This does then 'filter down' (eventually) to the used market. Another example is the Kentucky KM1000. Just a few years ago you could buy brand new for $1100 or sometimes even less. Used examples could sometimes be found for $750. Street new price now is around $1800. Good luck finding a minty used one for $750 today. Nothing has changed. Same mandolin, but the manufacturer greatly increased the price and this had a trickle-down effect on the used market. Clearly we are talking about generally desirable and sought-after instruments here, not low-class junk than no-one wants to buy. As noted above, Northfield are
    another example of this.
    The fact that there is a MSRP and a street price proves my point. The MSRP is the manufacturers "sole right" to set the price The street price is where the consumer set the price. Which one is the real selling price? If the manufacturer won't move from the MSRP, and the consumer won't pay it there is no sale. Who really sets the price?

  23. #65
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Not all Collings hold their value

    Perhaps one should remember that not everyone has the time or wants to spend hours researching instruments or buying and selling until they find 'the one.' I have friends in my jam who have bought new one good axe, always a well-known name--Gibson, Collings, Bourgeois, etc., and it'll be the keeper. They wanted the assurance that goes with buying a new warrantied instrument from a reputable store that has given it a set-up. Seems perfectly reasonable.

    Then there are people like us who read reviews endlessly, go into every music store they pass, check the classifieds, and think of the quest as an exciting journey. Sure, I feel clever because I bought my Passernig 12 years ago or so when he wasn't on almost anyone's radar. That appealed to me, the fact that nobody I knew played one. (A kind of snobbishness in itself really.) I could likely sell it now for $1,000 more than I bought it. Part of that is just rising prices. I wouldn't sell it but I've bought and sold plenty of other lesser used instruments, looking for the right oval hole, the right travel mandolin, but really enjoying the chase and the challenge of not losing money. In fact, I'm a little sorry to say I've found them and have dropped out of the hunt. But I look anyway...
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  25. #66

    Default Re: Not all Collings hold their value

    It is worth mentioning that the some makers of musical instruments and some salesmen routinely conflate the possibility of their used products rising in value with the very much more remote possibility of a new purchase doing the same. We may think the OP is naive, but another way of saying that is that he is honest and expects others to be as honest as he is. Why are we not more critical of, why are we so accepting of, those whose mild fraud is so endemic? The Uniform Commercial Code makes a distinction between fraud and "puffing", between lies and exaggerations. A lie is a lie, and we should strain less to discern gray levels of lying and be less willing to portray someone who believes a lie in a black and white judgment.

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  27. #67

    Default Re: Not all Collings hold their value

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg P. Stone View Post
    It is worth mentioning that the some makers of musical instruments and some salesmen routinely conflate the possibility of their used products rising in value with the very much more remote possibility of a new purchase doing the same. We may think the OP is naive, but another way of saying that is that he is honest and expects others to be as honest as he is. Why are we not more critical of, why are we so accepting of, those whose mild fraud is so endemic? The Uniform Commercial Code makes a distinction between fraud and "puffing", between lies and exaggerations. A lie is a lie, and we should strain less to discern gray levels of lying and be less willing to portray someone who believes a lie in a black and white judgment.
    Collings has never made that claim, nor have I, in the 30 plus years of buying and selling instruments, heard any builder, maker, or dealer promise (or even intimate) a “return on investment”. Some people have made money on instruments they sold (hopefully they remembered that the rates on collectibles gains are pretty steep), but those transactions seem to be far and few between.


    That said, some instruments sell quicker than others. A wide nut mandolin has a very small pool of buyers. So does a $10k or $20k mandolin. However, folks are willing to take a “haircut” on a new purchase, or even a used purchase. That affects the buying behavior of prospective buyers. You have to have the tenacity and the “stomach” to sell instruments on-line (and the time to deal with buyers). I recognized a long time ago, that I have neither, so I leave that frustration up to the professionals. It’s well worth the fees associated with these sales.
    Good Advice: Play before you pay, and know your product and your market.

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  29. #68
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    Default Re: Not all Collings hold their value

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg P. Stone View Post
    Why are we not more critical of, why are we so accepting of, those whose mild fraud is so endemic?
    I think a lot mandolin sales is about puffing (woody tone, opens up, beautiful back) lots of opinions and not as many facts. If folks want more facts, maybe spend time studying dialectical phenomenology versus enjoying music. That said, if there is fraud, then use appropriate or legal remedies.

  30. #69
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    Default Re: Not all Collings hold their value

    When you buy anything, you pay for the life of using that item. Here it's a Collings instrument, but it could be a Rolls Royce or a box if Cherios. When you use that item (or play the Hell out of it) you are using up that item's finite life, so when you sell it, it will naturally reflect the loss of the part of that life that you have used up, like a half-eaten box of cheriois. That's the accounting principle of depreciation, where one assesses the cost of an item over the period of time inwhich it is used, rather than simply when you buy it. It's like buying on time in that when you sell it off you no longer make payments, but you're only selling the unused portion of its useful life, so you get less money.

    When you buy a premium or collector's mandolin, like a Loar (should we be that lucky), you are either willing to pay a premium because of the name cache because you are a working musician who appreciates the fine artistry in it and how it makes you sound, or you are betting that the price of the instrument will appreciate because of its rarity or high demand. In both cases, buying a costly antique can be risky, as can buying a new instrument for $7,000 when you can't really afford it. The buyer understands and agrees to take that risk because of one or the other set of reasons, it sounds great and is cool, or it's probably going to be worth even more money. Sometimes this is just something we tell our wives. Sometimes we kid ourselves.

    Thus, when you are a person of limited means buying a fine instrument, it's not wise to buy above your budget -- but it's oh so damned enticing. I love the Collings blonde or Honey finishes, but then there is the wife who would throw me out and sell the mando if I spent that much on an instrument given my current financial position. There are other uses for that money that I am weighing a purchase against. So it's a truly individual decision based on appreciation -- yours and the instrument's -- and speculation -- one gambles only what one can afford to lose, and that's before asset risk, such as theft, fire or "whoops," the most scary word in the mandolin vocabulary.
    Last edited by Elliot Luber; Apr-20-2019 at 10:52am. Reason: typo
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    Default Re: Not all Collings hold their value

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandoplumb View Post
    The fact that there is a MSRP and a street price proves my point. The MSRP is the manufacturers "sole right" to set the price The street price is where the consumer set the price. Which one is the real selling price? If the manufacturer won't move from the MSRP, and the consumer won't pay it there is no sale. Who really sets the price?
    Whatever the actual dealer/wholesale price really is. We all know some companies 'inflate' the so-called 'list' price to make things appear a better deal than they really are - but ultimately what the store actually pays + their markup to cover costs and (hopefully) some profit is what 'creates' the 'street' price. Of course, the manufacturer/importer/distributor sets the price the store pays in the first place. Naturally supply and demand affect that, but as noted, we are talking about fairly desired instruments (at various levels) here, be that Collings, Gibson, Kentucky or Northfield. Not things that sit on the shelf for years.
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  33. #71

    Default Re: Not all Collings hold their value

    Speaking of manufacturers having the "sole right" to set prices........

    The internet age has "spoiled" us with information that was unavailable to a previous generation. Things like dealer cost, wholesale, and quantity discounts were concepts that were closely guarded among "insiders" and not available to the public. Car buying, for example, and for generations was a game of cat and mouse -- requiring negotiations lasting hours at the dealership, back and forth, with the buyer trying to get close to that mysterious number without the salesman telling what the number actually is..........nowadays, ANYBODY can look up the price for anything online in a matter of seconds.......I REPEAT we are spoiled!!!

    Speaking of cars, people seem to forget around 1980 when Honda cars were in such demand that people were paying more than sticker to get one. I forgot when they called it, dealer prep or something, anyway people glady paid it to drive a Honda.......

    Needless to say, not that long ago, many small town vendors with no competition were able to sell things for "more than retail" or MSRP as it is called today. In fact, nobody pays MSRP today, they pay the internet "street price" as it has become known.....I would go so far as to say prices overall have come down for most items over the last 50 years, if we take into account inflation. And, IN THE GOOD OLE DAYS, we got better service buying locally from Joe who ran the hat shop and lived down the street and his kids went to our school and were also in scouts, and Joe was a member of the PTA and also went to our church......of course, he HAD to give good service because he had no place to hide!

    Different world, different world.....

    I repeat, we are spoiled.........paying retail or more than retail was once the norm.

    Selection today has never been better, just get online. I remember as a kid visiting NYC and in Rockefeller Center was a men's shop and mom went crazy buying dad shirts because they "we so much cheaper" than what the shops charged in our little town back home -- imagine NYC being the "cheap" place to buy stuff!

    Times have changed. We are spoiled. And, largely ungrateful.......

    One last story, I'll repeat, when we were teenagers playing $50 made in Japan guitars, my buddy worked two years sacking groceries, drove a $50 car (yes, you could buy a running used car for $50 back then!), and came home one day and surprised us with his brand new D-35 Martin that he paid $1200 for at the local piano store who was an authorized Martin dealer. We all knew Martins were the best, so nobody questioned the price and it was a wonderful guitar. Years later, working at a music store I found some old price lists from Martin from that period and saw the suggested retail price on his guitar was $365 -- still a lot of money, but nowhere near the $1200 they charged him! This was from a respected local business, who looked him in the eye and charged him more than triple retail and got away with it -- that was normal, back then! NOBODY KNEW. If they did know they were sworn to a secrecy stronger than the magician's code......he still has the guitar, by the way!

    Yep, we sure are spoiled today.......

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  35. #72

    Default Re: Not all Collings hold their value

    Don't forget, if you can prove it to the Feds, tax benefits for instruments used by professionals. Ever notice how often an artist, when they reach a level of success, ditches that trusty old beat up mandolin and is seen with a Gilchrist or some such? Actual loss of value becomes less an issue. Then there are those willing to pay more because a heroe owned it. That perplexes me.

    Collings is a very good example for this discussion, because they have a well deserved reputation for quality and consistency. But they sell so many mandolins that there are a lot of used instruments out there. The XYZ instrument may be rare, but fewer are willing to take a chance. It kind of evens out. I do notice there are many new ones to choose from too. But doesn't Collings have a dealer agreement stipulating a minimum for which they can be sold?
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  37. #73

    Default Re: Not all Collings hold their value

    To be clear I didn't cite Collings. I made a general point about "some" companies and salesmen. Impressions from other sources can be generalized to apply to a specific purchase even if the company and salesperson associated with that individual purchase did not seek to make such an impression.

    For those unaware that some companies and some salespeople try to describe new purchases as investments, who's being naive now?

  38. #74

    Default Re: Not all Collings hold their value

    If you bought new from a dealer, you can almost never get full value as selling used there are no guarantees, returns, warranty, etc. that a dealer may offer. I usually use the 50% rule. If you bought it new, figure you will get about 50% of your price on the used market, sometimes less, sometimes more. The problem is, is you wanted $6k for it, someone can just go buy it new as there is no advantage to paying the same price for used as for new. Of course, condition and scarcity can play into this equation, but overall the 50% rule seems to work for me.

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  40. #75
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Not all Collings hold their value

    Since we’re telling stories...

    I shop for bargains, and bought an MD315 new for $500 a few years ago. I bought a tweed case for it, and played it a couple years, then sold it and recouped 98% of my total investment. To do that, I made a video that included sound bites and an explanation of the value of the setup I’d done and the value of the HSC. I threw in some case candy — strings, picks and a Joyo tuner, altogether maybe < $20 — and it sold in open auction for way more than I’d expected, nearly $600.

    Recently, I sold my MT for $1600, I’d bought it from a good friend awhile back for the crazy price of $1500. The fellow who bought it from me could probably get $1800 for it if he were so inclined. It sold through MC classifieds in a matter of hours.

    My experience has been that I have bought a lot of new and a lot of used instruments in my lifetime, and when I’ve sold instruments I’ve actually profited at times, while most often it’s been a net loss financially, but I’ve never had any regrets. I bought ‘em to enjoy, and never as a financial investment for financial profit as a motive.
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