Outrageous used pricing on older McIntosh

Am I the only one to notice that pricing on older McIntosh gear is bordering on the ridiculous lately? In the last few months, sellers with amps and preamps that are from the 70's, 80's, and 90's are asking within a few hundred dollars of the original asking price! Now I know Mac gear holds it's value very well, but for a used item decades old to be so close to original is ridiculous. Of course, the newest gear is in the "stratasphere" region, but that is to be expected. Anyone else notice this?
There are some products from the 60’s that sell for more than their original asking price; Dynaco ST-70 and PAS-3 Pre, Marantz 8 and 9, Mac tube amps, AR 3a speakers, as some examples. 

I have a ST-70 and will spend more than it’s original retail price having it refurbished and be happy.

I have a mint MR-78 tuner that retailed at 1699.00 when new. I could get around 1000.00 for it today. That's a drop of about 40% from new.

Taters, I see many MR-78's going for 1500-1600 or more today, on here and Ebay, and granted that it's a great tuner (I used to own one, and an MR-80) but given the fact that a lot of folks are moving away from FM, one wonders if it's even worth it. But my point is, even being used, pricing is almost at what it was originally. But hey, I am a Mac fan myself, just wondering if the pricing is getting a bit out of hand. Only my opinion. 
There is a mint MR-78 listed on here for only 850.00.
When you take inflation into account the residual value is not as high as it seems.
Rather than comparing the present day pricing of vintage components to their original cost, IMO a more meaningful comparison would be to compare their present day pricing to the prices of currently produced components which could reasonably be considered to provide comparable performance.

For example, a new Magnum Dynalab MD90 tuner sells for about $1400. While I have no specific knowledge of how its reception capability and its audio quality would compare to those of an MR-78 in top condition, I wouldn’t be surprised if the choice could go either way depending on individual preference. So from that perspective an MR-78 selling price that is not a great deal less than its original cost of $1699 would seem to make sense. And the same goes for the earlier tube models, such as the MR-71 (which today, in top condition, is worth a good deal more than its original price of $400).

And viewed from that perspective, paying several hundred dollars (more than their original price), or in some cases upwards of $1K, for well restored examples of the better tube components from the 1950’s and 1960’s, such as those mentioned above by Mesch as well as models from H. H. Scott, Fisher, Pilot, etc., would also make sense for a lot of listeners. Although in the case of some of the most desirable and/or rare models present day pricing certainly reflects a collectibility premium to some degree. The tube products of the original Marantz company, models 1 through 10B, being among the most notable examples. I believe a pair of model 9 monoblocks in excellent condition would go for $20K or more today, and a pair of model 2 monoblocks for $10K or more. None of the Marantz tube components approached $1K originally, even though they were quite expensive in their day compared to products from most other manufacturers.

-- Al
I have noticed it, here and on other websites, and I think it's ridiculous. But let's be fair. Most used audio goes for 10-25% of original retail. Collectible items are generally in the 50% range unless current stock. It's a comfort to know that buying a used McIntosh product means you will likely get more than the usual percentage when you sell it. In this age of planned obsolescence, there's a value to that. So, while I think it's ridiculous I am always looking for a reasonably priced Mac item. Unfortunately, they're getting harder to find. Scarcity creates demand, and that drives prices up.
I  agree with Al on this, comparable performance and REAL value, not price which unfortunately is overlooked by some. 

I still have a pair of McIntosh MC-60 amplifiers that I paid $850.00 the pair for in 1989. The amps sold for 198.00 each new during the time of their manufacturer from 1955-1961. I had no objection paying more than double their original cost at the time simply because I liked them a whole lot more than the Threshold they replaced.   A restored pair will currently bring from 2.5K to upwards of 5K today. I've owned them longer than any other component and the reason I won't sell them is simply that I haven't heard anything that can replicate some of the things they do, I still enjoy listening to them. I only wish I had more space to set-up a vintage system using those amps! In any case, I'm stuck with them, listening occasionally and always thoroughly enjoying. 

A better question to ask is why does new gear lose so much of it's retail price? My thinking is that a properly restored vintage product can be a better long term value than buying new weighing in it's build quality and most importantly the quality of the transformers that weigh in heavily on their potential performance. With  the quality of current parts vintage can be a sound viable option to paying new and will surely compete and of course always maintain that vintage status and long term value. Others will disagree I'm sure.

Check out price for original UK pressed Pink Floyd The Wall when it was released vs. now. Some items increment value and some items become garbage or obsolete...

An item is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. It's really as simple as that.
Some of the older Mac equipment goes up. I had the 7270 for 18 years, and got almost what I paid for it less inflation. Comparing the MR 78 to my current Magnum Dynalab MD 90 Tube. The MD is the better choice. You have to be patient when looking for Mac items especially collectors items.
Am I the only one to notice that pricing on older McIntosh gear is bordering on the ridiculous lately? In the last few months, sellers with amps and preamps that are from the 70's, 80's, and 90's are asking within a few hundred dollars of the original asking price! Now I know Mac gear holds it's value very well, but for a used item decades old to be so close to original is ridiculous. Of course, the newest gear is in the "stratasphere" region, but that is to be expected. Anyone else notice this?

NOT outrageous if someone is willing to pay for it.  

Why did someone paid $38 million for a  Ferrari 250 GTO in 2015?  I THINK it's more than MSRP when new??

Simple Economics 101, supply demand and price!

Its for the high rollers i have 1 from 45 yrs ago just to look at it in my den.
IMO, it's not related to current offering high prices but buyers just prefer the old sound.

I had several old MIT shotgun ICs that's soft and rolled off compare to latest.  Sitting in a closet, didn't think a market for them and considered disposing them in trash.

I listed them on Agon and to my surprise, had tremendous interest and sold in 1 day.   I spoke with buyer and he's been looking for years and elated to see my ad.  He finds latest is too bright and prefer the old sound.   If I had known, could easily sold them for 2x or 3x.

ebm2,893 posts12-31-2015 1:46pmIts for the high rollers i have 1 from 45 yrs ago just to look at it in my den.

If for high rollers, how did you ended with one?   Did you steal it?  LOL!!!!!
My Sansui TU-X1 tuner sold for $1,000 when new in 1980.
I paid $1,500 for it in 2003.
I get unsolicited offers for it here on Audiogon at least once a month for a minimum of $2,500.  

I don't even listen to it any more, I primarily listen to Pandora and internet radio.  I'm not looking to sell, but I would never consider letting it go  for less than $3,500...and my price will go up every year.
My Jolida JD502p with factory upgrades (I mention this amp too often, but I’m a geezer so that sort of thing is expected) cost something like 1200 bucks new maybe 4 (5?) years ago. I think it sounds astonishingly good with the various tube upgrades I’ve forced into it (likely near the original cost of the amp with my tube rolling obsession), and I wouldn’t trade it for anything less than something 3 times its price (geezer…see what I mean?). So to the overpriced audio world I can say: bite me.
Vintage stuff reminds me of 'this old house', too old to be reliable.  What is interesting is that many of the Mc and Marantz designs have been knockoff in some new products, with SOTA parts.  Cayin and VAS does this on a regluar basis, and in turn provide great sound, at great prices.
have you heard what a Mac 240 can do ? minty they sell for 15 X new.
My dad shelled out $199 for the demo amp in 1965. It is vintage 1961.
Value determined by mkt for sure. Is there a MAC bubble ? Maybe.
Just bought MC250 from Berdan's " private stash"... decent shape..not mint physically..but electrical performance quite good. Clips at better than 10 % above rated pwr. Drives a pair of Vandersteen 2 CE really, really well. Magic of SP6-B does not hurt..
but the bottom line is Mac delivers lasting sonic and physical value..at least to me.

forgot to add I still have the 240... yum...

I have owned Mc gear and I don't understand why people pay ridiculous money for them.  Nostalgia I guess,  my last piece of Mc gear was a C15 that I paid $700 for....It was OK but no comparison to the McCormack pre that replaced it....I did appreciate the fact that I sold it three years later for $1300......
"Price is what you pay. Value is what you get."  (Quote)

Warren Buffet (probably not an audiophile).
Tubegroover said:  "  The amps sold for 198.00 each new during the time of their manufacturer from 1955-1961."

Just to put things into perspective, I worked the graveyard shift for Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica in 1957. With overtime, my pay maxed out at $110.00 per week. I bought a 1955 Chevy Bel Air hardtop with 2400 miles on it in 1957 for $2200.00. In 1965, I bought a brand new home in Huntington Beach for $20,650. Payments were $147.00 per month ... and that included taxes and insurance. So, considering the times, what we now call "classic" audio gear was quite expensive. 

For a lot of collectors,the classic gear is like collecting postage stamps. Records (lp's) can be the same. There are folks who pay multi-hundreds of dollars for original Blue Notes, etc., when they could have pristine reissues on 180g vinyl. Why is the original so important to them? Because they are collectors first and listeners second?

The real question is: Has the value of the classic gear gone up ... or has the value of money gone down???
It's those spellbinding blue lights
I certainly understand your perspective Oregonpapa and while some of those audio products back in the 50’s and 60’s could be considered expensive they weren’t out of the reach of the middle class enthusiast what would and could purchase them. My parents paid 500.00 for a console stereo in 1960, many did. How many Kimball console pianos were sold in those times at from 500-800, of course if you had the resources one could purchase a Steinway either console or grand at considerably more and probably not affordable to most in the middle class.

Today there are STILL many affordable audio products for everyone, maybe even more so than back then. But there are ALSO many exorbitantly priced audio products that are strictly geared to the status of ownership, much like say a Rolls Royce or Ferrari or any product that is often geared to exclusivity and WOW rather than value. The premis that these products perform at a higher level than less ambitious products is debatable, at least in my experience, same as with vintage components. To ME it’s beyond "wishful thinking" that I BELIEVE that some properly restored vintage products can perform at a competitive level, that is, providing musical enjoyment AND most importantly to me with ANY audio product/system, engagement at a high level   and that their REAL value can be based solely on that fact aside from their vintage status and value as a collectable. It certainly is the case for me. I restored the amps to sell them. I’m keeping them because I enjoy listening to them on occasion, they’re that good. On the other hand I would acknowledge they would not be my first choice in all cases, what ever is in audio except for those that can make any choice of their desire :)
Not to argue w you, oregonpappa, but a slightly different perspective might do the math like this. At $400/pair, the MC amps cost about a month’s pay. I'm sure many of us have spent a month’s pay for 2 channels of amplification (used or new).
I ran a Mc240 amp and an Mx110 turner pre for decades as my pimp stereo and still to this day I jones for that sound again. Paid $200. from a friend in 75, and sold for $1800 in 95. People pay it because they are rare in good shape, they were built to last, and looked like no others. Solid chrome and black has always looked exceptionally drool inducing.  Just like the German elac miracord 50H turntables I restore. Be looking for the first of them surrounded by incredible myrtlewood pllinths and dust covers on this site.
email Waipunasounds if you are interested in owning 1 of the 5. They will be set up as mono tables with cartridge. $2500-3500. At gmail.
So far most of the posts seem to disagree with Sid42 (the OP).  He did not say anything about 50s-60s McIntosh.  He mentioned 70s-90s.  A lot of the transistor stuff (of course that's all there was...) from that time was not great.  I don't understand why a lot of that gear would sell anywhere near its original price, if that is true.  I owned a C15 and MC300 in the late 90's, retail about $5,500.  It was great gear, and I liked it a lot.  I wouldn't mind owning it again, but now that it is nearing 20 years old I wouldn't pay more than $2,200 for it. 
Jimmy2615, you got my point exactly! Your point of a C15 is right on, I've seen some going for $1100 and more on Ebay, when they were only $1500 when new in the 90's. 50-60's stuff wasn't my point, as a lot of guys consider that gear something special and seem willing to pay big bucks for them.
have you heard a C15 ? it is a great lil pre.
quiet, bullet proof, has a decent phono stage, remote volume, remote triggers, can be resold for what you pay...
yep own one..on loan to brother in Michigan...
his system: Sota sapphire, Dynavector ruby, C15, PS audio amp, Vandesteen 3 a sig.
quiet, revealing, images well for SS..

Sid42, I'm of the opinion that the current perceived value of several brands (McIntosh, classic Marantz, Accuphase, etc) can be attributed to the e-auction site, but for several reasons:

Dual pricing: I often see the same piece of equipment listed on eprey, A'gon, USAM, and my local Craigslist. The ebay price is often several hundred dollars higher than the listings placed elsewhere. It's the worst place to look for "a deal". Sellers realize the larger audience may be less knowledgeable and willing to pay more for the same listing that can sit here for months.

Clueless sellers: "Found at an estate sale, plugged in, lights up, no returns". These mouth-breathing, bottom feeders have no clue what they're selling, and only base their price by "watching" current and past sales which were also sold for over market value. The cycle continues...
Audiogon does a decent job of weeding out the gear flippers who are only in it to make a quick buck, because buyers here are generally more informed, and know what something is actually worth. But, there are those who continue to base their asking price on ebay listings. That stuff usually sits a while.

World audience: If you wanted to unload a piece of equipment in the past, you traded up at your dealer, went to a swap meet, or listed it in the classifieds. When your potential audience is anyone with an internet connection (including a passionate Asian collector and audiophile market), you'll increase your chances of hooking a bigger fish with a ridiculous asking price.

Beyond the auction site reasons, you have to consider McIntosh's history.

Brand cache: Like it or not, McIntosh has become synonymous with build and sound quality for people within and on the fringe of this hobby no matter how much the brand gets crapped on here on Audiogon. The dentist without the time to build a 1,000+ forum post count, may automatically think McIntosh is a safe path to great sound. Lucky for this person, there are few turds in Mac's entire product line which has built a solid reputation for quality over decades.

Ownership experience: There is a "certain something" about McIntosh gear that despite printed specs, a brand like Devialet may never achieve. This is not meant to slight their products, which admittedly, I've never heard. But, people are less likely to geek out over that shiny mirror sitting on your console. The older Mc gear has a classic Porsche 911 quality to it. Sure, there are better sports cars that will not try to actively kill you on every decreasing radius turn, but have you seen where the pricing on these has headed? McIntosh is a safe bet on the used market because if you want to unload it, you're not going to take a huge loss...hell you may even make a little money, because as the saying goes..."they don't build them like that anymore".
buy a 993 or Boxster S, problem solved

Hey guys, I own Mac myself. C15 pre and 7200 amp, and I enjoy it a lot. I was just making an observation I noticed on selling prices, not only on Ebay. I'm going to get a C48 when I can find the right price! Thanks to all who had input.
I think Yakbob hit all the nails on their head. Also keep in mind you never really see the actual price an item sold for unless it was a "buy it now". There is sometimes a big difference between the asking price and what a unit actually does sell for. Especially on the e-auction site, it used to show the amount of a "best offer", showing the amount an item as actually sold for but that was a few years back, not anymore. I will agree that there are some crazy asking prices though!
I believe that on the e-auction site you alluded to you can check "Completed Listings" and the actual selling prices for past sales is shown in green. 
I've had about 10-12 different Mac components over the years and currently run a pair of MC60s with Zu Definition 4s and it sums up what I'm looking for in my music listening world. I've had other brands but the Mac stuff sounds better to me. 
@tonykay Yes, you are correct. I meant to say you can't see the price of an accepted best offer, which to me is what I really want to see, what real buyers are offering to pay.

But I do think much of the price really is a testament to the quality of some of these pieces, the fact that they are still going strong in some cases for almost 60 years now. To me that is incredible!