Oh god. Please don't let the Tape Op Message Board get taken over by cranks talking about hoarding gold and pursuing austerity. If all of modern civilization collapses we have more to worry about than the stock market and the price of gold anyway! Although in the interest of adding a little much-needed variety, I liked Krugman's imitation of Stockman's recent half-baked op-ed in the Times:
"We?ve been doomed, yes doomed, ever since FDR took us off the gold standard and introduced unemployment insurance. What about those 80 years of non-doom? Just a series of lucky accidents. Now we?re really doomed. I mean it!"
Before we get too far off topic: History suggests that you'll often find bubbles in collectibles markets. You might get lucky and cash in on the bubble. But more likely, you'll find out that the bubble exists when it's already been inflated; When prices are already sky high, and you've found yourself convinced that you need exactly the same prestige-imbuing toy that everyone else reading the same things thinks they need.
There was probably a bit of a vintage console and module bubble in recent years. My best guess is that, for the long term, the market prices are going to stabilize lower than they once were. Of course, whenever a new stock bubble crops up, people get eager to turn their imaginary stock value into imaginary collectible value... So it could
inflate again. But I'm not so sure.
Here's one thing you may have noticed: The stock market is back up, but gear and guitar prices aren't up so much, are they? My guess is the next collectibles market in music will probably crop up in some new place. Realistically, I doubt the value of Neve consoles will continue to rise much more in the near future. Their value may hold
if everyone's lucky, but I think most of the increases that were going to be made, have been made. They're just not a realistic (or even desirable) purchase for most studios anymore. That effects pricing considerably. (Then again, all this is just one guy's guess. Which, really, is all we've got: Guesses.)
As a side note: Anyone here about that Harrison console that was used to make Thriller? It just sold this year. Original asking price: $2 Million. Finally sale price: $17,000. (To be fair: the console was known to be a headache, and that the seller came across as a bit of a crackpot, which probably helped lower the value considerably.) Meanwhile, a vintage U47 is worth about what it was in 1947: About 1/5th the price of a new Cadillac. It's supposedly one of the best "investments" in the pro audio world, and its value has essentially held static for 60+ years once you take inflation into account.
Anyway, I'll say this much: There's one good reason to buy a piece of gear: Because it will be useful to you. If you get lucky and its value goes up, great. But I wouldn't bank on it. Just do great work. That's
an investment you can count on.