Posted by Rick Denney on March 26, 2001 at 21:57:07:
In Reply to: EBAY posted by Josh Combs on March 26, 2001 at 20:50:59:
As Paul says, Ebay is like a flea market. There are good deals and bad deals, and only the buyer knows for sure.
I paid $900 for a large and old 3-valve compensating Besson BBb tuba for my wife's uncle. It was nearly dent free. So what if the valves were a bit leaky--it was only $900. A $500 valve refurb would make it nearly like new, and $1400 ain't bad for one of those nice 3-valve compensators, even if they are a bit stuffy.
I bought a well-designed little 100-year-old 4-valve Eb Missenharter for $500. I probably paid a bit too much for it. It's now an F tuba that taught me quite a bit on how to refurbish instruments (and when to let the experts take over). I got my money's worth, and it's a quite playable F tuba, as long as you don't play below the staff without a strong personal sense of pitch.
Most recently, I picked up a battered Besson Imperial euphonium, dating from 1974. I reshaped the squashed bottom bow and plier-damaged bell, and now I have a quite usable compensating euphonium for $430. I've seen good-condition examples go for around $1500--I have a long way to go before I've screwed myself.
But if you want the Lost York for $200, you won't get it.
You have to know what things are worth to you, and not go over that amount. I had bid on five tubas before we finally won the bid on the Besson.
Anything likely to appeal to 10th-grade tuba players and their parents will go for a higher price. That means a well-known school brand (i.e. Yamaha), and lots of shine. If you go for intrinsic value and not shine, you can often do pretty well.
Rick "trying to stay away from ebay--unsuccessfully" Denney