The Value of Baby Boomer Junk

The ’59 Cadillac, the ’62 Fender Stratocaster, and the ’54 O’Keefe and Merrit Range all share a common link. They are icons of American popular culture from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s that have become fixations in the minds of people from Wisconsin to Tokyo. They are the stuff that American Baby Boomers grew up with. As the Boomer gets older the value of these things have increased far beyond their original disposable culture beginnings.


I am very familiar with the prices of old Fender guitars and find them to be ridiculous. They have ceased to be musical instrument prices and have become part of the Antique and Collectible trade. It’s unfathomable that they command prices approaching those of Master built old Orchestral instruments. The talent, energy, materials, and labor required to originally construct a ’57 Fender Strat is nowhere near that of a professional orchestral instrument. Yet the prices are creeping closer together.

Pathetic and foolish priority if you ask me.

I’ve watched that change drastically in my last 20 years of doing business with them. It has completely changed what I do forcing me to consider detail that two decades ago we would have laughed at.

Fwiw I think pre war Martin Guitars are somewhere in between orchestral instruments and 50′s Fenders and should command more respect than the similarly priced vintage strat. Even they are creeping closer together.

I have fond memories of the cars I rode around the neighborhood in and worked on in my youth. The ’69 Chevelle, ’65 Mustang, ’70 Camaro, and ’72 Charger. I have similar feelings towards Fender Guitars, Basses, and Amps, Hammond B-3′s and Ampeg SVT’s. I still have 50′s dinettes and wacky 40′s lamps in my house. These are the sights and sounds of my growing up. My comfort food.

They have become cultural icons whose current dollar value far eclipses their original disposable construction. It indicates to me a weird trend in human consumption that overvalues sentiment over craftsmanship. While I too have fond attachment to all those Baby Boomer toys I find the rapidly escalating dollar values of those playthings disturbing and sad. They have quickly escalated out of my reach and any of those things that I have still held on to require different treatment than I was hoping for when my Son gets old enough to appreciate what they mean to me.

About Uncletoad

Captain of this ship.
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