Here I go, shooting myself in the foot

Whether new issue or "new old stock" (NOS), one can spend a great deal of money on tubes. In the case of NOSs, some of us might recall, as wee little shavers, the TV repair man coming over to fix the family TV and charging a couple of bucks for the same tube that's now being sold for hundreds. In the beginning of my tube life, I considered NOS tubes to be trinkets for the big money audio elite. Now, upgrading to the best tubes available, while trying to minimize paying a rarity premium, is standard procedure for me. They have proved to be among the very best bang-for-the-buck improvements that I have come across in audio.
BTW, I figure I'm shooting myself in the foot if I persuade someone to plunge into the NOS market and drive up prices.
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Elizabeth, the impact that my current tube compliment has had on my ability to connect with the music, in contrast to the supplied tubes, is so profound that it's almost depressing to consider the possibility of not being able to replace them with something comparable.

I recently met an electrician who told me that he has cases of tubes that were left by is father. He was shocked when I told him they might have value. We can only hope that there are others like him.
I agree Phaelon. I'm not very sensitive to tweaks but swapping out the stock tubes can make a real improvement in sound quality.

Elizabeth, when you consider what we spend on our gear, I think it's a worthwhile investment to get the best out of it with good tubes. Good NOS tubes can be found here and on Ebay for reasonable prices if you are patient and careful. There are a lot of sellers who seem to have very generous tube testers when it comes to testing tube strength though.

It may be worth paying the higher prices of established tube dealers in the long run. They can help you decide what tubes might work best for you and offer good tubes that are cheaper than the more prestigous brands.

Genelex may drive the prices of NOS tubes down. They did with the NOS KT88s and I think they are making good 12ax7s now.
"charging a couple of bucks for the same tube that's now being sold for hundreds"

I used to sell tubes in Radio Shack and Lafayette Radio, mid to late 70s.

Most sold in $4-$20 range as I recall.

Big Bucks today....

People need to realize that tube gear has an associated maintenance cost to keep things operating well these days and be willing to deal with that before getting into modern hi end tube gear.
Imagine going into a Radio Shack and asking for a specific tube now . They would probably look at you like you were on glue .
The folks at Radio Shack looked at me like I was on glue when I went in and asked if they had any record cleaners.

I went into a large local mom and pop electronics part store nearby recently that still carries a lot of the items Radio Shack and Lafayette carried years ago. Still no tubes though surprisingly.

I did find 12AX7s for my ARC pre-amp recently for $20 each though at a local Guitar Center.

Yes, Radio Shack is a lot different these days. Some cool new stuff though and nice that they have managed to survive all these years.