What's up with the price of Vintage equipment?

The reason I am asking is, I sold stereo equipment in the 1970's and 1980's and some of the stuff I see selling for big bucks today were not well thought of during the 70's and 80's and lots of it sounded pretty mediocre (think Class D amps with amazingly low specs like .00007% distortion or other such nonsense). I won't get into brand names, but just by the era you should be able to tell. 

As a quick aside, it annoys the hell out of me that I'm at an age that 1970's and 1980's equipment is considered Vintage. Was it really that long ago? Rats.

Anyway, again there were some really good sounding stuff back then, and the price today may be high, but it's still good sounding stuff and worth it. But I see prices today for 40-60 year old equipment that I sold back then because it was heavily advertised, popular/known name and design (and sometimes gave me a good commission), but not because it sounded good. 

So I am assuming some of this high price vintage stuff is due only to nostalgia (both in looks and sound) and collecting fun, not for listening compared to today's stuff.

I'm open to hearing other opinions, especially from someone who does like vintage (mostly 1970-80's) stuff, listens to it, and what brands they have. 



The really annoying thing is when someone tacks "Vintage" onto a piece of crap Radio Shack receiver (or MCS, or Lloyd's or even Emerson) and hikes up the price.  But there will also be some clueless "hifi enthusiast" that will post that Radio Shack stuff was some of the best.

@jhnnrrs Just wait until Crosely's and its crappy ilk start having vintage tacked to them.  You're going to pull your hair out!  Honestly, though, it's nostalgia with the latest generation and the really pricey stuff, I'll assume a lot of it is people who were around back then and couldn't afford it and now they can.  But like the proverbial adage:  It's worth what people will pay for it.

@vitussl101 nailed it.  I was a freshman in high school in 1972. I and my buddy lusted after high end gear.  I had a Harmon Kardon 430 as my first "good" receiver, a Phillips turntable with highly cool (for the time) LED touch sensor buttons, and Electrovoice speakers.  I moved to Phase Linear separates in 1977.  I think that the yearning for vintage gear is based largely on nostalgia for the gear many lusted after in our youth.  I find it hard to believe that my old '70's gear can come close to my current system.  That would mean that all of the claimed improvements in wire, circuit design, capacitors, transistors, power supplies etc, through the present are meaningless, something I find hard to believe.  So if the vintage craze is field by nostalgia, pay whatever you think its worth.  If you are looking for great sound by today's standards, I would be surprised if vintage gear would be competitive.  Take ARC for example.  Many claim that the ARC REF 6, no slouch in the modern preamp department, is greatly improved by the new improvements to the SE version.  So from 1974 through the present, the REF 6SE isn't a big improvement over the ARC 1974 preamps?  Hard to believe.

So I was in Des Moines Iowa a few weeks back taking care of funeral arrangements for a relative.  While there I stopped into a place called Skylabs Audio in a kind of eclectic shopping area in Valley Junction, a vintage audio dealer.  The owner makes dozens of videos on YouTube so I thought what the hell, it was Saturday, check it out.  Very small, a one showroom operation with a small collection of stuff.  The shoppers were mainly young and I spoke to a few, basically looking for their first stereo system(kudos to them) and buying new and used records.  They told me that there's not to much choice in Des Moines for real audio equipment  What surprised me was they had playing a Yamaha 2020 receiver and Advent speakers.  My older brother has these in college and I remember back then how much I loved his system.  Today?  I don't know, $1500.00 for the receiver and I don't remember the speaker's price but you're talking about two grand and change.  I could definitely do much better today with that amount.  


I had that Phillips turntable. Loved it. Besides the cool lighted buttons, the arm on it was actually pretty good. Although, once the electrics went on it, it was not worth fixing.

I had a friend who had the Phase Linear stuff back in the 70's, along with a Emprire turntable. Talk about lust...... 

I would agree the 70's stuff can't match today's technology.