What Price The Past?

I’m eternally fascinated by the nostalgia fuelled lure of the vintage and dunfunkt. This applies especially to vintage electronics which command a sometimes incredulous level of monetary worth due to their scarcity. Take Sony’s long defunct Betamax video tape recorders. A working model at auction can fetch anything up to £300. And that’s in a world where the analogue TV tuner would no longer work, fresh blank tape a scarcity and the sacrilege of actually using the item to play old tapes may invite a breakdown that couldn’t always be repaired. What price a connection to the past?

If Sony were to suddenly restart the Betamax production line and issue limited edition premium priced video tape recorders  I doubt they’d be a runaway success even as a premium priced niche product. It’ the lure of a world lost I presume.

A similar experience happened with the Dubreq stylophone, the stylus driven electronic organ beloved of Rolf Harris in the 60’s. For years old working models fetched premium prices and then somebody decided to remanufacture them. They’re no longer a premium priced product.They’re readily available Just a retro novelty. Supply and demand I suppose.

Image by metromoxie under this creative commons licence


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