View Full Version : Vintage uke prices

12-07-2011, 02:47 AM
Does anyone else watch vintage soprano uke prices on ebay? I started watching about 7-8 months ago and there seems to be a rather steep decline in prices of vintage ukes, including Martins and Favilla's. When I started watching, Martin 1M's in stores were going for 800+ with most higher and on ebay they were about the same IIRC. Gretsch's have stayed relatively constant but Favilla's were going for $3-400. I'm talking about ukes in very good to excellent condition. The other day a Martin 1M in very good+ went for $449, and two nice Favillas (one that needs tuners replaced) went for just over $200. I'm curious about the opinions of those who have watched for years, is this a normal oscillation - is everyone in so much financial trouble that they're dumping their ukes regardless of price? Has the market crashed that much or is this just a blip? TIA,g2

mm stan
12-07-2011, 03:52 AM
If anything I thought Martin prices have skyrocketed...you get what you pay for...condition and tone for me, which dictates my price range..

12-07-2011, 04:02 AM
@Stan Compared to a year ago, five years ago, etc.??? Inquiring minds want to know. g2

12-07-2011, 04:03 AM
MM Stam, do you think the vintage Martin out there on ebay must now be less good tone?

12-07-2011, 04:19 AM
My guess is money is tight for many as the Christmas season can be expensive, especially if your family is large. I have an instrument for sale and have been told that there is interest, but after the holiday season. so probably a good time to buy, but maybe a bad time to sell. There seems to be a lot of really nice ukes for sale now.

mm stan
12-07-2011, 04:34 AM
Aloha Gang,
@ Gary...I know that back 5 years ago ....a style 3M was between 600- 800, and before that even cheaper....but since then it went through the roof...I am saddened to see what people are asking today.... for me, the market will dictate what people are will be paying for it... and few will ask outragous prices...and that does affect it...

@ Fabio... As buying online...You never know...you take your chances buying sight unseen or un heard.......sound quality will always come first for me.. I am always hesitant of buying online...as most ukes are sold to me because they don't preform well for the current owner...or he needs money, or lost intrest... my biggest worry is the first.. yes you have to go on an individual basis with ukes...
@ andy...I found out there are peak buying times...where people need money, one is about thanksgiving to mid december where there is a buyers market for second hand ukes...

12-07-2011, 04:46 AM
Interesting comments, boy I wish I was around five years ago Stan <g>, yes those 3M's are sky high and so are the 2M's, the 1's still are reasonable compared to the 0's. Seems like there's not enough bling to make a difference. I bought a 1M with great sound off the board last summer for $600 and thought that I got the deal of the century. I see lots of 0's on ebay that end up at > $450 many with repaired or unrepaired cracks and 3M's are $1600+. There's a 3M up now on ebay that is listed in the description as a "beginners uke" it's the one I thought might be koa and posted about. We'll see where that ends up.

mm stan
12-07-2011, 04:55 AM
You should have seen the prices of martins before 1980 then....ha ha

12-07-2011, 05:02 AM
You should have seen the prices of martins before 1980 then....ha ha
Well I didn't even have $100 to spend on an instrument then!

mm stan
12-07-2011, 05:17 AM
Well I didn't even have $100 to spend on an instrument then!
In the 70's ...a kamaka six stringer was 80 bucks..

12-07-2011, 05:28 AM
I believe it was more of a buying frenzy when the economy was hot. Vintage instruments were sought after by collectors and players.
A lot of baby-boomers were coming back to music after many years and could afford the instruments they always dreamed about when they were younger.
Today's ukuleles and guitars are probably much better built than some of those vintage instruments.
While I realize you can't build in the old sound from those great vintage instruments, modern builders are getting some
impressive results at sometimes significantly less than a vintage price. For me I would rather buy a new instrument than an old beat up one.
A vintage in great shape is another story, it also has collectible value. My old Gibsons are in good shape and have great voices.

12-07-2011, 09:32 AM
i For me I would rather buy a ...than an old beat up one.

Careful Sailing those last six words describe a lot of us on the list <g>.

12-07-2011, 09:46 AM
In the 70's ...a kamaka six stringer was 80 bucks..

I looked up prices in 1970:

In 1970 a new house cost $23,400.00 and by 1979 was $58,500.00
In 1970 the average income per year was $9,350.00 and by 1979 was $17,550.00
In 1970 a gallon of gas was 36 cents and by 1979 was 86 cents
In 1970 the average cost of new car was $3,900.00 and by 1979 was $5,770.00

A few more prices from the 70's and how much things cost
Datsun 210 $3,869
Dodge Colt $4,785
Warm Leather Lined Boots $39.99
Car 8 Track Stereo Tape Player $38.99
CB Radio $147
Medium Eggs 25 cents per dozen
Miracle Whip $1.09
King Size Bean Bag Chair $19.99
Porcelain Kitchen Sink $9.88
Quartz Alarm Clock $12.97
Countryry Ranch with 10 acres 3 bedroom large barn fruit and oak trees Vallejo California $59,200 1974

12-07-2011, 10:00 AM
Prices seem to have fallen a bit recently for vintage ukes. However, prices for the exceptionally rare ones, in exceptionally fine condition (read mint) have gone up. A ca. 1930 3M sold on Ebay last week for $3,500.00. It was stone mint. So minty, in fact, that I was thinking it was refinished (the case was battered, btw). Heck, a dead mint O sold for over $1,000.00. Kamaka sopranos (white or gold label) over the past 6 months, I would estimate, have gone up in price on Ebay by about $100.00-$150.00. This may be because new Kamakas have increased in price by that much, or more likely, because everyone seems to want a Kamaka these days. But other ukes in less than spectacular condition are selling for less than they were a year ago. I'm sure we could all speculate as to the reasons and some have already been mentioned. Obviously though, collectors are less interested in ukuleles in need of repair or restoration.

12-07-2011, 10:08 AM
Oh, and both the players and the collectors have grown increasingly interested in new ukes. so, if it's not something real special, folks are just kind of..."meh."