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Thread: Trading

  1. #1
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    Default Trading

    This will probably be controversial, but I'm the curious type and am going to ask:

    The question is about establishing trade values on instruments; we'll say "mandolins" because this is a mandolin forum. This is generic and hypothetical:

    Bob has Mandolin X and Bill has Mandolin Y, and they are discussing a trade. Both mandolins are in pristine condition, say 9.5 out of 10, and both were made by large makers rather than being boutique instruments. X was purchased new in 2005, and Y new in 2015. The mandos are probably comparable in value, but since they were purchased 10 years apart, the original purchase prices are quite a bit different. Both models of mando are still in current production by the respective makers.

    So Bob and Bill are hashing out values, and can't quite reach agreement, when one of them says "Well, since these are still being made why don't we compare the current street price of the mandos?"

    There is my question: would that be a reasonable way to establish trade values, all other things being equal?

  2. #2
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trading

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Lindstrom View Post
    There is my question: would that be a reasonable way to establish trade values, all other things being equal?
    In a word, yes. I tend to think of resale or trade value as roughly 70% of current replacement value, not original sale price.
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  4. #3
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trading

    I always swap as its great to try new/old stuff! Sometimes its even sometimes I swap something worth less for something worth more and vise versa, as long as both parties are happy and agree that's what its all about right?

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Trading

    Sell, buy, trade, there is never a "correct" value, only what you can agree on. That being said, todays new prices or used(if enough data exists) can of course be and indication of value.

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  8. #5
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    Default Re: Trading

    As Paul said above there isn't a correct value. There are indications of a correct range. In the scenario laid out in the OP there probably is a sufficient secondary market to look up prices in places like Reverb., the classifieds here, etc.

  9. #6
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    Default Re: Trading

    Some years ago, I swapped a guitar for a mandolin, we both valued our respective instruments at (very) similar values, and we both paid for our own shipping to the trader. Worked out great!

  10. #7
    Registered User Mike Buesseler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trading

    I’ve only traded on The Cafe once. Have sold a few more times over the years. I got MANY more offers for trades than offers to buy. And the trade was a lot more fun!

    Not sure how to calculate a donation to the Cafe on a trade, though...

  11. #8
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    Default Re: Trading

    I’ve only traded once, with another cafe member. He initially put up a want ad for an OM, but took it down pretty quickly, replacing it with a ad selling a Collings MT. I had a Weber Hyalite with a 22.5 inch scale that wasn’t comfortable for me (20-21 is my sweet spot) that I’d paid 1500 for used (but had played for a few years), and I think he was asking 1600 for the MT (this was a couple years before their prices increased). I sent him a PM, and we eventually talked on the phone, which made us both feel better about the deal, and it worked out nicely. Iirc, I sent the OM and 200-300 in cash. We shipped on the same day and both instruments arrived safely, and we were both happy. The MT eventually became part of a trade with TMS for a ‘cello.

    Agree that the best way to ballpark values is by searching what they’re selling for in the classifieds, on Reverb and EBay, and also search used inventories of TMS, Elderly, TME, Mandomutt, etc. The better known shops can charge a premium, so consider their used prices probably a bit above what you can get in a private sale/trade.
    Chuck

  12. #9
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    Default Re: Trading

    My favorite swap was this past year from the cafe' classifieds: a listing for an F-4 from a party in the next state to me. I asked if he was interested in trading and he stated he was selling to get funds an F-5. I told him what I had and we drove and met midway and swapped even. I guess I saved him the effort of having to sell and go shopping. It was cool in that we could both examine the instruments without having to deal with shipping and approval periods.
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  13. #10
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    Default Re: Trading

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Lindstrom View Post
    .... The mandos are probably comparable in value, ...
    IF that's what you both actually agree upon, then the other aspects (difference in age, condition, original selling price, history, "provenance") are already factored in to your agreement. What the absolute $ value might be to an uninvolved third party should be irrelevant, except maybe for tax or insurance purposes... and, oh yeah, donation to the Cafe!
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  14. #11
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    Default Re: Trading

    A while back, I put forward the notion of a temporary trade of mandolins, and many members got all worked up about the dangers of instruments being lent. As your hypothetical situation has instruments being equal, what makes situation need to be a permanent swap? I have a stellar back up mando, that I want to own forever, but I’d like to share it with someone who also has a very nice mando, but wants to ride a different horse for a while.
    How would one solve any value difference in a impermanent trade?
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  15. #12
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    Default Re: Trading

    I'm the OP- let me add one more data point that complicates matters a bit. The actual thing I want to do is trade a Collings MT for a Fender Stratocaster. It would have to be either a vintage or high end American made Strat and I'm in no way expert on Strats, so I figure that a comparison to current retail values might simplify matters. An MT is an MT is an MT so to speak and you know what you're getting. On the other hand there have been probably 50 or a hundred iterations of the Stratocaster since they were introduced. Some are very valuable, some not so much.

  16. #13
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    Default Re: Trading

    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaMatt View Post
    A while back, I put forward the notion of a temporary trade of mandolins, and many members got all worked up about the dangers of instruments being lent. As your hypothetical situation has instruments being equal, what makes situation need to be a permanent swap? I have a stellar back up mando, that I want to own forever, but I’d like to share it with someone who also has a very nice mando, but wants to ride a different horse for a while.
    How would one solve any value difference in a impermanent trade?
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  18. #14
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    Default Re: Trading

    Deviating to address the question of trading for a Stratocaster: Unless you are interested in the collectable value, I would find a Strat that played well. I have played lower end Strats that were at least as nice as expensive ones. Sell the Collings and try out a dozen Starts.

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  20. #15
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    Default Re: Trading

    Quote Originally Posted by Nevin View Post
    Sell the Collings and try out a dozen Starts.
    I’m inclined to agree. While the premise of a trade sounds convenient — one in / one out — you really are beholden to the unusual circumstance in which someone has what you need and wants what you’ve got (unless you trade with a store which can sometimes make it difficult to extract full value from your trade). I’d probably pursue a private sale and use the liberated funds to guitar shopping.
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  21. #16

    Default Re: Trading

    You can hardly take out the trash without stumbling over a Strat. So unless you know you are getting a good trade value-wise (which it sounds like you aren't that well informed on the used Strat market) it may make sense to sell it and go Strat shopping, as others have suggested.

  22. #17

    Default Re: Trading

    When it was made or who made it has no relevance. You answered your own question. Current street value is what it is all about.

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  24. #18

    Default Re: Trading

    In the old USSR days it was illegal to sell the apartments but was perfectly legal to swap them. So people went to great lengths swapping apartments in order to reach their goals. Sometimes there were chains of up to 10 owners swapping at the same time. There were no official real estate agents, but there were unofficial ones. Modern real estate agents work is a breeze compared to the ones involved in those swap deals. Just a little memoir that has nothing to do with mandolins...

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  26. #19
    Registered User Aaron Bohnen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trading

    Quote Originally Posted by Nevin View Post
    Sell the Collings and try out a dozen Strats.
    I know it's not original, but here's another +1 for this idea. Collings mandolins sell quite easily at sensible prices that tend to satisfy both sellers and buyers. Several reasons I guess, not least of which is that they are so consistently good in quality, workmanship, wood, sound, playability, etc.

    With cash in hand you could go looking at Strats and get into that world until you start finding the ones you like. Maybe play a few you like and then pick the best of those? There are tons around in nearly endless variations on the theme but exploring that could be part of the fun.

    Enjoy!
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