2017-03-24 15:37:57 UTC
When I started seriously into the hobby (1978):
• Whereas most tubes were mostly out of production in the US, they were still readily available OTC in actual bricks-and-mortar electronics stores. At standard prices.
• Which in the aggregate were as common as Radio Shack at that time.
• Kit s (Dynaco/Heath/Allied et.al.) were still in business and innovating.
• Good tools were (relatively) inexpensive and available from many sources.
• One could still go to a flea-market, swap meet or hamfest and fill up a moderately sized family car with *stuff* for $100.
• Vintage test instruments were common and inexpensive.
• And many of their makers were still in business and supporting their products.
• Picking one single example, if I went to the Columbus or Pennsauken flea markets, I would find at least one Dynaco, Scott, AR or similar item at an affordable (to me) price, and in restorable condition. If not several.
Today, the tube tester I purchased from Leon Fertik for $100 in 1990 is now commonly selling on eBay for $1,000 or more.
A tube amplifier that I purchased at Kutztown 8 years ago for $100 might go for 12 x that these days, if it can be found at all. And have Chinese tubes in it.
Now, I have a reasonably well-equipped bench which would easily cost in the high four-figures to replace in tooling alone (new-retail). If I were to invest in decent FM Stereo alignment gear, it would likely top $10k in total.
At per-each retail prices these days, I probably have $10,000 worth of tubes stored, which likely cost me less than 5% of that in total over the years.
And, yes, I do have a "Collection Executor" in the case of my untimely demise. My wife will not have to hire an excavator. I am providing similar back-up for others.
Melrose Park, PA