Need Help - What's It Worth?

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dslocum
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Need Help - What's It Worth?

Post by dslocum » Sun May 09, 2010 8:06 am

Hi All,

We need your help, please.....

I'm working with Michelle Moog to try to determine the "museum value" of a highly customized MiniMoog what was donated to the Moogseum last year by myself and Tom Coppola, its owner. During the 70's, that Mini (and Tom) were responsible for sounds used in well recognized National commericals such as Pontiac and Durcell (yup, the original Duracell sound), as well as numerous recording dates with Lenny White, etal. Here's a link to some pics:
http://picasaweb.google.com/dougslocum/DuraCellMini#
http://picasaweb.google.com/dougslocum/MoogVisit#

While we realize the the _current_ market for vintage Mini's shuns any modifications, there was a time (trust me) that musicians actually embraced anything that could take them even further in sound possibilities. This Mini was of those times and there is a pride that is shared by Michelle, Tom and myself in this and other rare and priviledged instruments of its ilk. This Mini will take its place at the Moogseum regardless, but its true and intrinsic values are at question here.

So tell us... What is this machine worth? Is it worth more or less due to its mods? Is its history worth anything?

We're most anxious to hear from you!

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Re: Need Help - What's It Worth?

Post by Christopher J. Boylan » Sun May 09, 2010 10:07 am

I went through this when I sold my Memorymoog. Some said I was crazy when I let it go for 3G. But I ended up selling it to a very close friend and the 3G met my needs for redesigning my keyboard rig. That and the fact that it's 'still in the family' so to speak gives me ongoing comfort. That was in January.

Recently, in this very forum I was directed to a Memorymoog (with Linotronics mod) selling on Ebay for 10G. My opinion was "ridiculous." The Memorymoog is probably the greatest poly synth (arguably) ever created. But it's still a 1980s keyboard with 1980s technology. And as I said then, everyone knows that any one of HUNDREDS of critical systems could blink out at any moment, Lino-mod or no. Then, who ya gonna call? (don't even think about it...).

My point is, that it's worth what someone is willing to pay to get their hands on it. But the "hope to get" price doesn't really apply, because Doug and Tom's Minimoog isn't for sale.... the estimated worth is simply a technicality for donation tax purposes. It appears that Minimoogs in good working condition are fetching around 4 thousand bucks as of this writing. I'd tack on 2 or 3 grand just for the fact that this particular one is a celebrity. So I'll weigh it in at $6,750.00. Of course, that estimate will continue to change as time goes on.

NOTE: I happen to know first hand that Doug's mods are of the highest quality with absolutely NO shortcuts and workmanship of the highest quality possible. I also know for a FACT that Dr. Robert Moog himself embraced Minis with mods. Personally, I'd LOVE a Model D that can produce the opening Modular Moog sound that Keith Emerson used on "Hoedown" - and this Mini can do that, and a hell of a lot more.
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Re: Need Help - What's It Worth?

Post by Electrong » Sun May 09, 2010 11:08 am

True, it's worth what someone would pay for it. And some of the restoration may or may not help the value as an instrument of historical value. I'd say that unless the Duracel connection is worth something to advertising buffs, the mods probably don't help value that much, while the historical value probably doesn't help its value that much either. I'd say it's a wash. It probably is worth around what any other Minimoog is worth. But what do I know? I would hope it is worth more for historical sake because my Musonics mini used to be in Village Recorders in LA and may well have been used on some of the earliest recordings there that used a Minimoog. When I got it it had a "1" stuck on it on the wood case.. I removed the one. It still has an outline where it was on the case, though. It had also taken some cosmetic hits, as the case was cracked and a key was broken. I re-glued the case and fixed the key, and had some updating done that my tech deemed necessary including having a 3 prong grounded cord put on it in place of its original lampshade cord. Not sure if it helped or hurt the value though.
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Re: Need Help - What's It Worth?

Post by EricK » Sun May 09, 2010 1:46 pm

She probably needs someone to professionally appraise it. Seeking the value of the donation is probably not only for tax deductable purposes for the previous owner but also for insurance purposes.

Just as a generalized guess depending on the market, Id say between 3-5k JUST for the working mini, plus the modification cost and plus a little more for its celebrity status provided that some documentation could be provided. Ive seen this mini for sale before, glad to see it going to the Foundation.
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Re: Need Help - What's It Worth?

Post by timmy » Sun May 09, 2010 1:57 pm

This is exactly the problem I have with ALL pricing of "vintage" instruments. Peoples pricing is based solely on exaggerated perception. This is complete BS. Unless you are selling this unit for a profit you should calculate the original cost of the unit, cost of the mods and servicing, and adjust that total sum to present day dollar value. That's it. Period. However, if you are looking for the highest possible tax break you should contact the guy selling the $10K Memorymoog for his best guess appraisal of the unit. ;)
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Re: Need Help - What's It Worth?

Post by Jrayk Roze » Sun May 09, 2010 3:14 pm

I'd say it's worth quite a lot. There's plenty of pure Minimoogs out there, but this one was responsible for iconic commercials, so I'd say it's worth quite a bit. Besides, how many plain Minimoogs can you bother to look at in a museum?
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Re: Need Help - What's It Worth?

Post by dslocum » Sun May 09, 2010 3:48 pm

EricK wrote:She probably needs someone to professionally appraise it. Seeking the value of the donation is probably not only for tax deductable purposes for the previous owner but also for insurance purposes.

Just as a generalized guess depending on the market, Id say between 3-5k JUST for the working mini, plus the modification cost and plus a little more for its celebrity status provided that some documentation could be provided. Ive seen this mini for sale before, glad to see it going to the Foundation.
Kind of my point. :-)

Who better to get to professionally appraise it than the community to which it belongs. This machine ceased to be Tom's or mine long ago (30+ years), from our joint perspectives. This machine is historic, not because Tom played it, not because I modified it, but because of its role in Pop and commercial cultures, and the fact that NO OTHER machine at that time could do what this machine did, except _maybe_ a large modular. Now simply multiply by synergistic factors. Tom used to haul this puppy around NYC on busses, subways and taxis in a gig bag from studio to studio with sometimes 2 or 3 sessions per day!

It has a distinct personality that I hope you'll all be able to play some day. To those whom I offend with the mods, please take pity on this fool. I did what I did, and I'm proud!

I'm planning on showing my face in Asheville for the 5/27 Eric Norlander, Etal, gig at the Orange Peel. You can strike me down then!

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CZ Rider
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Re: Need Help - What's It Worth?

Post by CZ Rider » Tue May 11, 2010 1:01 pm

Hi Doug,
Really great 70's mods there. I was going to comment on the dotcom forum with your polyphonic remote. Nice work! I don't remember seeing Synthetic Sound Labs stuff back then. Did you advertize? I remember seeing the RMS Mini mods and Valley Sound two voice for the Mini mod, since they were in some of the magazines I read at that time. But moddin' and hot-roddin' your equipment to get unique sounds was high end stuff back then. I read about Eddie Jobson's custom Hammond that triggered his Mini from the top manual, and many of us imagined how cool that would be. Today with MIDI it is so easy.
Tough to put a value on modded gear. Best bet, I guess would be the value of a Minimoog then add to that the value of the mods, then figure it's historic value if any. The market is really mixed, as most want something vintage rebuilt and reliable, then few others like me, want original and reliable.
There was a recent thread on Muffwigglers about custom vintage gear, where Gearge Mattison was showing his custom EML. Couldn't imagine putting a price on something like that other than priceless. I did a custom Moog 1150 not sure if it would be worth anything to any one but me? But that is what we did back in the 70's.
Here is two photos of my custom 1150, shown in front of an original 1969 Moog 1P owned/sold by Walter Sear (RIP). That Moog is just about as close to stock as you can get with all original knobs, jacks, everything but the nessessary caps replaced. Although the blank panels were filled with modern modules. Worth/value who knows?
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Re: Need Help - What's It Worth?

Post by nikola » Tue May 11, 2010 2:48 pm

CZ Rider wrote: Image
:shock:

i would like to put my fingers on it !! :)
was i pushed or did i fall ?

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MC
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Re: Need Help - What's It Worth?

Post by MC » Wed May 12, 2010 5:00 pm

Christopher J. Boylan wrote:NOTE: I happen to know first hand that Doug's mods are of the highest quality with absolutely NO shortcuts and workmanship of the highest quality possible.
I beg to differ.

Electrical tape, cheap asian pots, vector board assemblies, unsecured PC boards do not measure up to "workmanship of the highest quality possible" in my book.

The problem with a modified synthesizer, regardless of celebrity attachment or history in pop music, is the quality of the modification is dependent on the installation. That is a great risk any buyer assumes and it throws a monkey wrench in the vintage value equation. The rare exceptions are RMS mods professionally installed on the west coast, CMS ARP upgrades, Kevin Lightner's mods, or the Memorymoog LAMM Upgrade.

Frankly with this particular specimen, I'd be very nervous. I have done major modifications to my own Moog gear. My career is in military electronics and I have applied such standards to my work. When I make a modification I keep in mind that it has to hold up to the rigors of the road, to environmental extremes, to air freight handling gorillas, to the worst possible environment ever conceived by man or beast. From experience I can promise you that unsecured vectorboard - especially the cheap variety used here - won't have a long life.

And the front panel modifications... jeez, put a little planning into it! The pots and switches aren't along a straight line. It looks like a drill press put holes at random into the front panel. That kind of workmanship would never get a passing grade in my 7th grade construction class in high school.

Calling this example "highest quality possible" is an insult to the professionals out there doing competent engineering modifications.

There might be value due to its celebrity attachment, but it isn't any more practical than the spruce goose.
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Re: Need Help - What's It Worth?

Post by dslocum » Wed May 12, 2010 6:55 pm

My God... What have I started?

While I appreciate Chris' enthusiasm for my work, and although he is a close personal friend, he is quite wrong in defending my workmanship in this case.

The MiniMoog we're discussing, and a few others of the time, were admitedly modified by me with no regard to any historic value. They were the product of their times and the customer requesting "more sounds". I really can't and won't try to defend the admitedly crude tools and techniques I used at the time. It was what it was. Call me a hack if you will, I'll accept that, because that's probably what I was.

I've learned a good deal since then and frankly, looking back at those days, it makes me cringe to look at the work I did. And yet, I am in many ways proud that I was able to contribute so many musical legacies.

Doug

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Re: Need Help - What's It Worth?

Post by Christopher J. Boylan » Wed May 12, 2010 7:21 pm

I was corrected by Doug himself shortly after I made my now infamous comment regarding the Duracell Mini. I myself am not even the slightest bit knowledgeable in electronics what-so-ever. I am however a musician and synthesist since the mid 70s. And as the old adage goes, "I may not know anything about art...", well I need not continue there. Sonically, I consider myself extremely well versed in synthesizers and their abilities and quality of sound.

I said what I said out of ignorance and apologize for ruffling any feathers. It was not my intention to insult anyone. My intention was to praise someone who is a dear and close friend of mine that who simply had the interest, enthusiasm and courage to venture into strange territory.

Doug was virtually a kid at the time working out of a loft little bigger than the bed you are sleeping in right now. The parts came from Radioshack. People approached him and asked him if "this" could be done, and Doug elected to say, "Yes." He did what he did out of love and enthusiasm in a field that at the time was very experimental and worked with what money and supplies were available to him. The projects he worked on were successful and made their customers happy.

And if I can be so bold as to say that it was the very machine in question here that with Doug's mods, was able to produce the sound that is now known world-wide, making it one of the most recognized analog synthesizer sounds in history. Doug did that. Nobody else here did. Doug did it - shabby parts and all.

Since then, Doug has persued a career in electronics, computers, and is constantly expanding his experience and remains one of the most talented, enjoyable people I've ever met. And bless his heart for his wonderful attitude regarding all this, this being one of the very things that makes his friendship so dear to me.
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Re: Need Help - What's It Worth?

Post by CZ Rider » Thu May 13, 2010 11:40 am

MC wrote: I have done major modifications to my own Moog gear.
Pictures, or it never happened!

A photo of my major modified model D.
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Re: Need Help - What's It Worth?

Post by Electrong » Thu May 13, 2010 12:32 pm

As stated previously, the question is whether the mods performed increase or decrease value, and whether the historical provenance is sufficient to increase value. If the mods decrease value, then it is possible that the history of the synth increases the value. That's why I'd place the value of it at exactly the same as a similar un-modified mini. There is, however, an aspect of the value that should be explored, and that would be the advertising history value. That's not an area in which anyone on this forum has knowledge, probably. There are collectors who pay for things that have pop culture or advertising historical value. Like, if the original eveready Bunny was available on auction, what would it sell for? Possibly thousands..
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Re: Need Help - What's It Worth?

Post by MC » Thu May 13, 2010 2:12 pm

CZ Rider wrote:
MC wrote: I have done major modifications to my own Moog gear.
Pictures, or it never happened!
No pics to date but here's the list:

Voyager: designed filter glide modification

Polymoog: Replaced hard wired presets with customized patches

Moog Source: Changed octave switch to default to "0" on bootup, secured Encore MIDI retrofit so that it doesn't fall out during transit, designed interface to Taurus II controller padels

Moog Micromoog: improved bass response of filter

Memorymoog:
Changed octave switch to default to "0" on bootup
Replaced all connectors and IC sockets carrying critical CV voltages with gold plated equivalents, resulting in very stable (giggable) tuning

Moog Minimoog:
Redesigned power distribution, control voltage summing, local buss regulation, tempco placement, and front panel tuning pots for very stable (giggable) tuning
Installed Lintronics MIDI retrofit
Redesigned pitch wheel for improved tuning stability
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