...do great speakers increase in value over time in the vintage market?


Hello to all...

I have a pair of JBL L25 "PRIMA" speakers, made 1972, case in 7/10 shape (not repainted), surrounds on woofers reformed several years ago, grill cloth replaced several years ago, includes JBL badges on speakers. Original 1972 price $169/ea. 

Recent searches of this speaker in the vintage market show prices 50% OR MORE than the origional issue price: ???

Is this that good a speaker design? - I have read comments saying it his/was one of the best speakers ever made by JBL (at that time?) - and I do luv their sound (which I now wonder if I've ever really heard them?) especially with well-recorded jazz and have the ability with little power to ROCK OUT!

(Would greatly appreciate any comments by those who have/had these over the years...)

DO GREAT SPEAKERS INCREASE IN VALUE OVER TIME, or do/should all depreciate in value...
insearchofprat
NO never good luck though!!
Matter of fact everything does this. Just try and find something from 1972, still around and in good condition, that’s not seizing for more now than then.

General rule is 15 years of depreciation is followed by endless appreciation. Yes folks another one missed by everyone but me.
almost all don’t, it’s a rare one that does...and often vintage gear actually sells for far far less than those hopeful asking prices...
millercarbon

Your "bandwidth" and ability to relay that pleasantly continues to awe me ( and I did correctly mean awe, not augh!...)

Thanks for your blurb here...

BTW: in another forum - if I remember correctly - you said you had these once upon a time: any comments about them?
JL35:
almost all don’t, it’s a rare one that does...and often vintage gear actually sells for far far less than those hopeful asking prices...
+1.

The ultimate example of speakers increasing in value over time (actually just the drivers themselves) would undoubtedly be drivers made by Western Electric in the 1930s, originally for theatre applications but now revered by many audiophiles and worth not so small fortunes. Vintage Tannoy speakers and drivers have also increased greatly in value, as have a number of others including certain vintage Jensen models, Altec’s version of the Western Electric 755A driver (used in Acoustic Research’s original AR-1 speaker), etc.

I would draw a parallel to the field of antique radio collecting, which is another hobby of mine. Among vintage radios, say from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, most are worth much less than a non-collector might envision. But a few that are special in some way (as well as being rare) are worth vastly more than might be expected by someone who is not particularly knowledgeable about such things.

Regards,
-- Al

Some do, some don't...that should be obvious! There are two economic factors at work; "supply and demand", and "the time value of money." A well-preserved pair of JBL L200, L300 or Paragon can be significantly more than the original 1960-70 price. Consider a Porsche 911, or a 1957 Chevy. These originally sold for a few thousand. Today they are many time that. All you need to determine which will be tomorrow's classic is a crystal ball.





i guess it would depend on how much one is willing to pay for said speakers.
nope

u pay to play in this hobby

smarter folks pay a lot less
Yeah, let's just forget inflation in order to come to the simplistic conclusion that you really get ahead with a vintage piece of gear. Not to mention the ever present possibility of repairs, which BTW, would not be cheap. Let's not forget that since SOTA is a moving target, vintage gear always gets relatively worse sounding, if you actually use it, compared to newer gear. 




The Dunlavy's still have a following. After going to multiple audio shows, I'm still quite content with mine in multiple systems.
What douglas_schroeder said, which should be obvious. I think you would be hard pressed to find very many pieces of audio equipment that are worth more today than when new when inflation is taken into account. There will always be exceptions to the rule.
It's funny some do and some don't. 
My fellow Asian folk will always more for well respected Jbl or Tannoy , altec Lansing driver , for that kind of moneys they spend I rather pay for recently made and still have moneys left for more records 
This hobby doesn't seem to have as many "collectors" as other expensive male hobbies. People want their money to buy great sound above all else. Classic cars, this hobby ain't. 
Your "bandwidth" and ability to relay that pleasantly continues to awe me ( and I did correctly mean awe, not augh!...)

Thanks for your blurb here...

You're welcome.
BTW: in another forum - if I remember correctly - you said you had these once upon a time: any comments about them?

Yes the L25 Prima was my first real speaker. Well, the I can remember. I forget the Radio Shack ones they replaced. The L25 won out over the Advent as it was much more lifelike (I was in band at the time and hearing live instruments every day) and a lot more efficient. Really wanted the L36 three-way with its nice wood cabinet and midrange but my roommate had a pair so heard a lot of both, the L25 was close and both were better than anything similar in price back then and for many years.

When I built my first DIY speakers, the Roger Sanders transmission line, it was using the 10" woofers from the L25. Their bass response in the TL was impressive. But they were impracticably large for that stage of my life and the woofers went back into the L25s. There they stayed until around 1989 the surrounds began disintegrating.

At this point I made a real blunder. From 1974 to 1989 these JBLs were my reference. In 1974 my reference was real live musical instruments. Trumpet, French horn, sax. By 1989 my reference was L25. Know it now, didn't know it then. Consequently in my mind when I went shopping was that JBL sound. Looking back, I passed on a lot of very good speakers because instead of appreciating what I was hearing I was trying always to match it to my old speakers. The blunder was not realizing this is what was going on. Oh well. Know it now. Live and learn.

As long as you have them, enjoy them. They have endured long enough now to be at least holding their value. But realistically, only to those with an interest in their 70's mod style looks. Or still nostalgic for that JBL sound. I could see a really cool period system with those. If you ever sell, I hope you will take the time to wait for the right buyer. They have endured a long time. Would be cool to see them around a lot more years to come.

if you keep. Them for 20 years  the value may be more then you paid for them 20 years back
Yes and no . Depends on if the speaker was any good to start with . Many of these keep their prices close to what they cost when new and some even surpase it . Some of these are :
JBL models
Quads
DCM time windows
SPICA TC50
PROAC models
SPENDOR model
ROGERS model
AR models
DYNACO A25xl and many more .
I think old speakers appeal to feelings of nostalgia — remembering good times in your life when you were rocking out and partying with friends or a special girl to speakers like these.  It’s the same with vintage cars (you have to imagine if you weren’t even alive when they were manufactured).  But, I’m not sure how useful those old cars are if you mostly keep them garaged and covered except for a few times of year when you take them to a car show.  At least with the speakers, you aren’t afraid to use them!  And you don’t necessarily have to choose between old equipment and new, judging from the people here who have multiple sound systems.  Enjoy both!
The best example I can tell you of are GOODMANS OF ENGLAND - 
"AXIOM 80" Loudspeaker driver. We are talking mid 50's to very early 60's. Every senior loudspeaker engineer and audio entrepreneur from the early days of high quality audio equipment design and manufacturing, that I have ever had the pleasure of making their acquaintance, agrees on one subject when it comes to loudspeaker design.  The AXIOM 80 10" full range speaker was the most unique design ever invented. I could go on for pages describing the incredible sound produced with this driver. Unfortunately in those days, there we only a handful of companies worldwide that designed and manufactured complete loudspeakers packaged in carefully designed cabinets. Goodmans never attempted to go that far in the US market, only selling the drivers themselves.
The first time I heard one was around 1955 at MUSICRAFT on the north side of Chicago. One of my CSO associates took me up for a listen.
What I heard, considering the associated source electronics available in those days, came as close as I have ever heard to reproducing a violinist as if he were standing in the corner playing  live.
In 1956 at the Chicago Hi-FI show, I heard an AMPEX demonstration of 3 track tape. The loudspeakers they were using were 3 custom made enclosures, each mounting 4 axiom 80's, for each of the 3 channels.
To this day, I have never heard anything at any price that came as close to live performance. And, I have heard and owned a lot of equipment over the years
The following week I went out to MUSICRAFT and bought (8) eight AXIOM 80 drivers with the intention of building 2 of the enclosures heard at the AMPEX demo. The cabinet plans I acquired from GOODMANS of England. Unfortunately as circumstances would have it, the project never happened. A few years later I sold the drivers for $200.00 ea. Oh, and by the way, I still have the original purchase invoice. I paid $65.00 ea.
Now, to answer your question, I have rarely seen an axiom 80 driver on the market in recent times, that wasn't used and abused beyond usefulness. I have seen, on two occasions, (2) and also (4) AXIOM 80'S guaranteed to be in pristine condition. The photo's qualified the claims.  In one case, the asking price guaranteed and tested, was $3500.00 each. In the case of the (4) drivers, claimed to be mint, stored and never mounted. (Beautiful high quality photos), the asking price was $7500.00 each. This is just one example. I hope it answers and exemplifies your question.
High-Quality items have a better chance of retaining value. Speakers although a bit hit and miss still sometimes retain great resale. Tannoy, especially the 15in.I have a shedful of bits and pieces that follow my experience with hi-fi. I rarely sell anything and love hauling something out to renew my love of them. It's also great finding new combinations. It's not worth many clams but really enjoyable to buy a new item and find the best combination of speakers or cables or amps. If you've got the space and budget keep them and see if something new added to the equation renews the original attraction to them or even sight of them in a new improved light.
Douglas nailed it. $340 a pair in 1970’s dollars would equate to about 2k in todays money. $650 for a great example is on the high end and far below what they retailed for when you factor inflation. 
Goodmans did sell speakers in finished cabinets in the UK in the 50s.  My father had a single one (mono) he must have bought then.  He moved to stereo soon after so when I built my first stereo system in 1962 I purloined it and 'matched' it with a Wharfedale he also had in store that was taller and thinner with a darker cabinet.  Both two-way, the Goodmans sounded a lot better.  You could almost see the sides of the Wharfedale cabinet flapping.
I just restored a pair of AR 10 PI speakers ,new foam surrounds ,all new caps and resistors, new grills ,refinished cabinets,got the speakers cheap $200.00 ,total cost was $500.00, These sound great!!! I have a pair of Focal 1028 Be ,I used a pair of Rel 3Ti subs with both pairs ,both sound great but ,different, The ARs weigh 56lbs each .built very well, In 1977 they cost $900.00 for the pair today cost would be $3973.00,Not bad for $500.00
I agree with chrshanl37. When inflation is factored in, there is generally no appreciation. I had a pair of JBL L-166 that I had to sell during a divorce (still sad about that). They generally retailed for about $800 a pair in 1979/80. I bought mine at an employee discount of $500 a pair. When factoring in inflation, the $500 is worth about $1700 today. If they were purchased at the 1979 $800 retail price, it would be about $2500.The last time I saw a well restored pair of these for sale, they were listed at about $1000. The new JBL 4319, a close approximation of the L-166's, sell for $2500 a pair. I believe they are manufactured in Japan and look to have a similar build quality as the classic "L" series of the late 70's.
I've done my time (like brief prison sentences) with various vintage gear. I would never turn to vintage to get superior sound, and in my estimated 99% of the cases are lousy "investments ".
Vintage is good for nostalgia. Buy at your own significant risk of poorer sound and loss of money.
The vintage market is driven by nostalgia. People lust after something when they can’t afford it and then come across it when they can. My first good speakers were LS3/5as, bought for $650 in 1981. I somewhat regret selling them to get my first big electrostatics a couple years later.
the problem is that they are functional items which suffer with age (capacitors, surrounds especially). The market is also driven by ignorance. A new pair is &3k and are bested in every way by a pair of Paradigm 15Bs for half the price.
wilson Audio speakers are remarkable for holding value after initial depreciation. They are far better than other speakers, but I still would rather have a smaller new Wilson than ones even one generation back, as the best designers keep learning!
NO!  Unless it is a JBL Paragon!
I amend the above! Just now remembered my Rogers LS3/5A's cost new $450 in 1976. Now sell used for $1200 - $1600! And worth it! I paid $960 for my pair 3 years ago.
I amend the above! Just now remembered my Rogers LS3/5A's cost new $450 in 1976. Now sell used for $1200 - $1600! And worth it! I paid $960 for my pair 3 years ago.


$450 in 1976 is approximately $2,050 in today's 2020 dollars. 

The post by @bestbaker brings to mind a seemingly obvious point but one which often seems to not be taken into account in discussions of vintage vs. modern equipment, namely that comparisons should be based on similar **present day** selling prices.

Certainly most of us would consider a comparison between a modern component costing say $10K and another modern component costing say $1K to not be a fair one, at least in most cases. The same kind of perspective should apply, it seems to me, in comparisons of modern vs. vintage components. But just about none of the many previous threads I’ve seen here and elsewhere involving vintage vs. modern comparisons have brought that perspective to the table.

And in that regard I can say from personal experience that well restored tube components from the 1950s and 1960s, especially tube tuners but some preamps and power amps as well, can hold their own against many modern components selling for comparable prices. For the most part I’m referring here to components selling in the area of $500 to $1K.

That tends to be much less true in the case of 1970s solid state gear, IMO, but good examples can be found from that period as well. Early Mark Levinson gear being a notable one; I was a very happy user of an ML-1 preamplifier for a couple of decades extending well into this century. I believe it currently goes for around $1.5K to $2K if in top condition, and is certainly a good value at that price point IMO. And while I have never heard the ML-2 monoblock power amplifier, it continues to be something of a legend, albeit an expensive one, and is widely considered to be a great match for the also legendary and still revered Quad ESL-57 electrostatic speaker, designed in the 1950s!

Contrary examples can also be found, of course, especially at higher price points. For instance, during the 1990s I briefly owned a pair of Marantz model 9 monoblock amplifiers, which I believe would go for well over $20K today if in top condition. Based on that experience I would certainly prefer numerous modern amps selling for a small fraction of that amount. On the other hand, though, for a few years during that decade I also owned a pair of Marantz model 2 monoblocks, which when operated in triode mode and used with speakers which could be adequately powered by 18 watts or so were simply wonderful, and much better than the 9s. I believe a pair of 2s would go for $10K to $12K today in top condition. And while that value is certainly driven in part by a combination of rarity, nostalgia, and overseas demand, I believe that amp would hold its own against many modern designs selling for not a great deal less than that.

So as is often the case in audio, it depends :-)

Regards,
-- Al


millercarbon

Thanks for your real-experience historic review...

Still using CD only - Regarding power for the JBL L25s: IYHO - are we talking Sugden A21 (with the Wolze) or McIntosh MC2105 (with the Wolze or direct ) - or are we talking Stromberg Carlson?

Hope you don’t mind giving me an opinion on the above - or your suggestion...


We're talking Kenwood KA-something or other 60 watt integrated, Technics SL-1700 with Stanton 681EEE, lamp cord and patch cords. Nothing back then even had detachable power cords so you can imagine. I was however dedicated enough to tin the ends of the lamp cord.  

I would go with a turntable and the smoothest amp I could find, turn the tweeter down a bit and enjoy.
Post removed 
What color are these bad boys anyway? Mine were yellow with orange grills. They came in 4 or 5 colors. I was watching and got mine when they were marked way down. Plus mine were store demo. I said hey what about this nick on the grill? Bottom corner, barely visible, but good for another $25 off. Well you have to be careful with your paper route money, you know?
No they do not, Not at all, This is a  post CV19 world,, a  place in time, in which whatever you buy, (excluding houses of course) after payment,, = loss in value automatically. 
Its the CV19 epoch. 
lets say i adda   2nd speaker system the SEAS TRYM at $2K. 
I don't like it vs my SEAS Thors,,list it here/ebay,, best offer,,might fetch $1200,,if I am lucky. 
I have plans to buya  new cayin SC6 pre,,,if I don't like it , will sell at a  30-40% discount.
So answer to your Q is , no, buying anything new today, resale is at a  discount.
Actually no, that has nothing to do with his question. The degree to which you have misconstrued it is however hilariously impressive.
millercarbon

My JBL L25s are creamy white with (new fabric) orange grills, always listen with grills off, set at zero on the High Frequency level. Speakers were reformed several years ago; using 14g solid core copper wire twisted, with bare ends, as speaker wire (may experiment with lampcord at your suggestion... )

Wonder how not being mirror-image affects sound dispersion. 

Presently powered with a low-powered tube intergrated by Monoprice (alternates: use the integrated as a pre, with a Parasound HCA-750A, and play around with the Parasound direct with the output controls on the back of the unit)

Anyone want to buy a mint pair of Realistic Minimus 7 Speakers in white for $700? They were such GREAT compact monitors! So much better than all the wooden boxes now! Guarantee you would like the sound better than Harbeth! Use lamp cord to put them with a Realistic era receiver and you'll be living the dream (in more ways than one)!  ;) 

 
Depends upon 2 things I think.

1 The rate of inflation

2 The size of the loudspeaker - large speakers will always tend to cost more as cabinet construction costs usually far exceed driver costs.

Their comparitive replacements in say 15-20 years time will cost an awful lot more.

Hence large Tannoys, JBLs, Harbeth’s, Spendor's etc can never be bought for less than their original sale price.
They actually shrink over time in size and massively in value.
HI 
Some vintage speakers can hold very high value and not only due to nostalgia.
They still make great sounds, but the problem comes when you have to refurbish as newer replacing materials should be carefuly matched if to sound close to original. 
Quads, AR, Spendor, KEF, Rogers, Celestion, JBL, Pioneer, Sony, Tanoy's...all have some vintage propositions for modern systems and good ears.
using 14g solid core copper wire twisted, with bare ends, as speaker wire (may experiment with lampcord at your suggestion... )

Uh, that was not my suggestion. That was simply what we used, because back in the 70's everyone I knew was under the spell of Stereo Review and Julian Hirsch saying the wire just needs to be thick enough gauge. Many years later I learned just how much better wire can be. But back then it was lamp cord. Ordinary wire. 

Wonder how not being mirror-image affects sound dispersion.

Well its asymmetrical that's for sure! But that's the least of it. The baffles are wide, and the baffle is even recessed into the cabinet. About the only thing they did right was the little ring of foam around the tweeter. Better than nothing I guess. But hey, this was the 70's! 

At least you got the more tasteful cream color. Can't be sure after all these years but it seemed I got a deal partly because nobody wanted yellow and orange!