Newbie question - equipment with good resale value

What are some brands and models that have a liquid market in them?
I have a system (a cdp, integrated and two speakers) that I am somewhat happy with. At the same time, I would like to try turntables and tube amps. However, I don't want to make large investments. Rather, I would like to buy used equipment and sell it if I don't like it. Yes, I made some trips to the local audio stores but they have limited number of choices, they are are all expensive and are all similar to each other.
What are some brands of turn tables, integrated or separate tube amps that you would recommend I can buy and try without loosing too much in the transaction?

Hi Katie,

If you buy used from a private party (such as here on Audiogon), and the item does not have any cosmetic or functional problems, and you buy at a fair price, you should be able to re-sell without significant (or any) loss.

Tube amp selection (and price) will be heavily dependent on how much power you need, and how difficult a load the speakers present to the amp. Let us know what kind of speakers you have, how large the room is, what your typical listening distance is, and what kind of music you listen to, and that will help us to make some specific recommendations.

The prices for quality turntable/tonearm/cartridge combinations these days tend to be quite high, although the expensive ones may be overkill for the rest of the system. Again, let us know what you presently have in your system, and what price range you had in mind, and I'm sure you'll get some good suggestions.

-- Al
To answer your question directly: Rega, Basis, VPI, Technics, Audio Research, BAT, VAC, PrimaLuna, Manley, Rogue, Art Audio, Quicksilver.

If purchased used, these brands will limit your loss upon resale.
...a couple glaring omissions: Conrad Johnson, Atma-Sphere.
Good question.

I have been playing the A'gon buy and try game now for a few years. First, you will need a membership to tbe A'gon Bluebook. The price graphs there will answer the question you raise. I tend to avoid items with minimal transction activity.
Almarg has good advice and Tvad and Tzh21y list some names. The only sure-fire way to "know" the history of prices and get a feeling for where items trade is to get a subscription to the Audiogon BlueBook, to understand that it only works for relatively liquidly-traded items, and to understand that it does not work.

The other way to get good equipment at prices which will not cause you to lose too much money if and when you sell it is to buy what I would call "soon to be but not yet classic" gear at 20-30cts on the original dollar. I have bought some 20-30yr old equipment at that kind of prices, and all the well-regarded pieces I have bought have been real prizes. Sometimes really excellent equipment just loses its fan appeal, drifts down to that kind of price after a decade or two, and then it represents absolutely fantastic value for money.
Definitely good advice above. Buy used from reputable sellers and you will not loose much if anything on smart investments that way. Two more omissions from above:

Cary and Teres
A couple of other tube amp names might be AirTight and VTL. As for TTs, the list of good TTs goes on and on. Basis, VPI, and Teres mentioned above are American-made and currently supported. Some of the Japanese-made direct drive turntables of yesteryear are excellent value for money.

Whatever you do on TTs, unless you already have a large collection of records and a decently long history of playing them, I would start with a set-up which is easy to use and would be attractive on resale to someone like yourself. If you decide to go further, it will be easy to sell and you can move up in the chain cleanly and without buyer's remorse. If you are a curious type by nature, by far the largest "expense" in turntables is the time it takes to find records, clean them, set up your table/arm/cart, and then tweak it every now and then to see what it sounds like with the VTA changed, VTF changed, etc, then change carts to see what a different cart sounds like, etc. If you buy a turntable used at the low end of that TT's price range, you'll get out of it for not much less than you paid for it plus shipping, almost no matter what it is.
I second the bluebook option above. Spend the few bucks for the annual membership. It's an invaluable reference point.
The Audiogon Blue Book values may only be good for a short time as certain brands and models fall in and out of popularity.

If you are going to play the game you have to play it good if you don't want to lose money.

There are certain makes and models you can't go wrong with. They have maintained the same price or higher for many years. To list all of these would be very difficult and it depends on the price range you would be buying in.

Drop me an email with the type of equipment and the price range you would be buying in and I will tell you what I know.
BlueBook has been mentioned as a reliable source of information on resales. Retail dealers do not use BlueBook in calculating trade in values. As 'Rrog' mentioned, it is a shallow source of information. I have found the 'book' over states the values, significantly. For the major brands the general rule on fair used value, assuming a fully functioning unit that is less then ten years old, is 80% of the original MSRP (sales tax excluded) less 40%. This translates to $480 on a MSRP of $1,000. Once the unit is over ten years old, every year older would add an additional 5% discount, per year. Many dealers follow these rules in calculating trade in values. If the unit you are buying is not local and can be picked up/checked out, the cost of shipping the unit to you should be deducted from the calculated value. But in the end, value is always what someone would sell, and what a buyer would pay. It is called 'market capitalism.'
I, on the other hand, find that the BlueBook is way off in the other direction sometimes, especially for pieces which are older than 10yrs old. The formula you quote seems to be the one used by the Agon BlueBook when they have nothing else. That puts a pair of great vintage speakers from 30yrs ago at 15cts on the original dollar, when that original dollar is worth many times what today's dollar is worth. That's a bit what I am getting at when I say yesteryear's almost classics can be a bargain. So far, I have been able to get a couple of things at 15cts on the dollar, but they are the very rare cases. And I love buying from people who would sell me the best stuff from 1980 at 20cts on the 1980 dollar.
The Wyred 4 Sound Class D amps seem to retain a lot of their original value at resale so far.
03-07-10: Mapman
The Wyred 4 Sound Class D amps seem to retain a lot of their original value at resale so far.
The key words being "so far".

I'm very hesitant to buy the latest flavor-of-the-month product because they are so quickly displaced by the next flavor.

If you do buy this type of item, it's critical to decide quickly if it's right for your system and if not then turn right around and sell it.
In general, I see products that offer high value (performance/dollar) as those that seem to hold value best. Wyred is a prime example.

People seem to take the biggest pounding with more esoteric or one off products that may offer very high performance but also cost a fortune and have more of a niche high end following.

Off course, when new models come out with various technology improvements for comparable cost, then value of older designs will go down somewhat as a result.

Its, hard, but one good strategy to apply is to always wait if you can to buy or upgrade because you will generally tend to be able get more value at a particular price point the longer you wait.
Could be Mapman. I might be out of touch on products like the Wyred amps.

I correlate them with the NuForce and Bel Canto offerings of a couple years ago. Used versions quickly plateau'd at about the 50% mark until newer iterations were released, then the older products went lower.

I certainly wouldn't pay more than 50% of retail for any of these products if my top priority was recouping my cost upon resale.

I'm not saying these amps aren't reasonable values and good performers. I'm speaking strictly from the standpoint of a zero sum game.

Then of course some good pieces may be rarer and last a long time or be easily refurbished and become sought after collector items that eventually sell for way more than their original cost. For example, I recently saw a Thorens arm lift like the one I have used on my table for 25 years up for sale here for about 8-10 times the amount I recall paying for mine new years ago because these devices are hard to come by these days and those willing to drop thousands on a good table have no qualms about dropping a couple hundred on a device that can make their life easier.
Buconcero, my vote for the agon bluebook was private seller to private buyer, not dealer. It is an invaluable resource, in that it is what most of us use and consult. Whether you believe it's 'shallow' or incorrect in this case I don't think matters, and is a very relevant resource for the OP to be familiar with.