Q: Following a column you wrote in August, I ordered a Technics SC-C70MK2 compact stereo system. It took until now for it to arrive, but I am delighted with it! It is perfect for somebody like me who wanted to update my audio system and downsize it at the same time.
But now I'm left with a pair of 1980s-vintage Vandersteen Model 1B speakers. It seems like a shame to put them out in the trash. What should I do with them?
A: I get a lot of questions like yours, typically regarding equipment worth $30 to $50, at most, if the writers can even find a buyer. But your speakers are quite valuable and desirable.
Vandersteen is a boutique audio brand that has been building exceptional speakers for decades, selling them exclusively through a limited number of high-end audio dealers. The most recent version of your speaker is the Model 1Ci, and it sells for $1,629 per pair. I looked at the website, and the 1Ci looks exactly the same as your 1B speakers.
Current asking prices for 1Bs go up to $500 based on condition, with typical transaction prices in the $350 range. I suspect you did not know this when you thought about putting them in the trash. Instead, put them on Craigslist (or have a family member do so, if you are not comfortable selling online), and I suspect they will not last long. The asking price is up to you, but if you were ready to throw them away, I bet a quick $300 would satisfy you. (I would not sell them for less than that.)
When I mentioned my SL6S speakers a couple of months ago, I said I would someday tell the story of how I got them. The situation resembles yours somewhat because it started with someone not realizing their worth.
My late mom lived in a part of the country where people go to retire. When I visited, we would check out local thrift stores looking for diamonds in the rough, discarded by families clearing out estates. I found lots of great vintage audio gear during these adventures, purchased for a fraction of the typical used prices.
One day in 2017, before we went out, she asked me what I hoped to find. I said, "I would love to find a pair of Celestion SL6S speakers." I always had wanted to own a pair, but I had never even seen them in person, even in hi-fi shops. As it turns out, the last stop of the day was at a store that had not one, but two pairs of Celestion SL6S speakers for sale. One pair had dented tweeters, and the shop didn't know if either pair was functional, so they sold both pairs to me for $50 total.
The pair with damaged tweeters didn't work, but the other pair worked perfectly. Working SL6S speakers can sell for up to $400 per pair, so it probably was my best find ever.
Send questions to Don Lindich at email@example.com. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.