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How Much Is Your Old Synth Worth Now?



A look at the latest world prices for classic instruments

Prices for electronic instruments – particularly classic analog synths – seem to have gone crazy over the last couple of years. Sales listings have started to close at anything up to 5-figure sums (seemingly applying almost equally in Pounds, Euros, and Dollars) and some musicians are becoming frustrated at the new financial inaccessibility of well-known instruments.

But for some people this all seems counter-intuitive. Modern instruments currently on the market should be perceived as being more convenient, more powerful, and perhaps more reliable than older second-user designs. And the exploding market for clone instruments – notably Behringer’s coverage of the Moog MiniMoog, Roland SH101, ARP Odyssey, Octave Cat, ARP2600, Korg Mono/Poly, Roland VP330 Vocoder, and others soon to come – should have decimated prices of the originals.

This just doesn’t seem to have happened, and in fact prices for classic instruments have shot up. My own analysis indicates several factors at work. 

1. COVID lockdowns left many musicians with two years of missed work. In deciding to let go of their classic instruments, they’ve tried to cover all this missing pay. You’ve noticed concert ticket prices newly shooting up, yes? The same applies.

2. Classic electronic instruments aren’t getting any younger, in fact from 2024 we’re looking at 60 years since the Moog Modular synth was launched. Many of these instruments are now dying in storage as (in particular) tantalum capacitors dry out and fail. Fewer working instruments available means higher prices.

3. Clones’ appearance hasn’t prevented interest in the original instruments, and if anything it has sparked more. The many clone deniers simply will not accept that modern replications can sound quite as good as the originals, or can play quite as well.

On the other hand, some question whether these new higher asking prices are really being achieved – so it’s good to get some objective confirmation one way or another. I looked at the results of a recent international auction that had a wide range of keyboards, synthesizers, drum machines, effects units, and more on sale.

Let’s look at prices achieved for some classic instruments in a recent auction aimed at international buyers, bidding in person or via the internet. Prices given are in UK Pounds but can be assumed to be roughly equal for US Dollars and for Euros too. Every price would be added to by auction fees and shipping, maybe by around 20%.


In our recent international comparison auction, an Akai ASQ10 achieved 400£/$/€. This is an MPC-style sequencer without the pads.

Yamaha, Alesis, and other small MIDI sequencers achieved just 60£/$/€ or so. But an Akai MPC60, which does have pads, achieved 750, and the 16-bit sampling MPC3000 achieved (appropriately enough) 3000.

The Sequential Model 600, a small box outputting mono analog signals, was the company’s first product, so perhaps nostalgia helped it achieve 360. But the later and much more flexible MIDI sequencers MAMSQ16 and Casio SZ1 fetched under 40.


A Revox stereo quarter-inch and a Foster semi-pro 8-track each achieved around 300. So there’s still some interest in tape, and it is certainly still cool to see those spools going round as you work…


420 for an Octave Kitten, which could be regarded as modest, and was most likely affected by Behringer’s Cat module.

A similar Teisco 60F fetched 240, while a Yamaha CS5 monophonic synth failed to achieve an estimated 250-300. A rare Analogue Solutions Leipzig achieved 340, which seems low. 

A Korg X911 achieved 240, which was a bargain for someone. It’s an old monophonic analog guitar synth desktop that tracks pitches, replacing them with variable analog synth sounds. CV and Gate too, which these days would be used for connection to modular systems. 


Lower than you may expect for a Korg Poly 800 MkII (120), a Nord Micro Modular (140), and Casio VZ10M MIDI modules (120-150). An Ensoniq Mirage, which should be interesting because of its analog filter chips, achieved only 90, while a Yamaha DX7 Mk1 achieved only 240 and the compact Casio CZ101 achieved 140 – very low compared to recent asking prices of up to 400. 

The lesson: interest in old analog might not translate directly to interest in old digital, and your old FM synthesis Yamaha DX9, DX11, or Korg DS8 may not be storing up as much value as you’d expect. And a MIDI Partner by WEM, which is an accordion sound module, achieved only 60 – very low for an incredibly rare sound source.


Very low prices for most Akai sampler modules. Let’s face it, these are bulky, limited in capacity, and difficult to continue feeding with floppies or Zip disks. The S2000 and even the impressive looking S6000 achieved well under 150 (and in several cases, only two figures). But the earlier S950 oddly achieved 400. It could be worse – a similar Yamaha A3000 sampler achieved only 30.


Here’s a sneaky one – a Korg MS-04 Modulation Pedal sold for 400. This is a voltage source with two LFOs and two pedal-controlled levels, great for use with modular systems, and there’s really nothing like it on today’s market. 


An Electrix Filter Factory fetched only 90. This is a very rare stereo rackmount, so it went surprisingly cheaply. On the other hand, if you had a Publison IM90 Infernal Machine on sale, you could have been pocketing 6,600.

The message – old very upmarket studio quality effects can still do very well. AMS anyone? 


Digital and analog designs both go inexpensively unless really special. You can find Vesta Fire delay and reverb, DOD Chorus, Boss Dynamic Filter, and others for under 50.


But, you see, even digital drum machines can shine – a Sequential Drumtraks achieved 600, despite affordable recent instruments appearing and an expected Behringer LinnDrum clone.


And now the figures you really wanted, for those classic analogs. 

An Eminent Solina failed to sell at an estimate of 600-700. This probably has been affected by the imminent arrival of a Behringer clone with built-in phaser. An E-Mu Emulator 1 was a no sale at 1200-1500 estimated – those damned 5-inch floppy disks…

A 1971 MiniMoog was a no sale at a predicted 13000-15000. Maybe there’s just too much to think about in the Minimoog area at the moment, with clones, re-issues, Voyagers, Phattys, great software versions, and so on.

Meanwhile, a Solton Programmer 24 was a no sale at an expected 800-950. This is a compact keyboard creator of Italo Disco styles, and on the Continent they talk more about 2000-3000 in value – which is now starting to look very optimistic.

A Roland SH5 achieved 2600. Now that’s understandable – this is a very chunky classic versatile mono synth, and must be attractive to studio and stage performers alike, despite rumors of a Behringer clone coming up.

A small modular system along the lines of a Moog Model 15 achieved 1700. That’s on the low side, and could probably be matched buying current new equipment (particularly Behringer clones of Moog modules). Not much to be learned there. 

An original Sequential Prophet 5 Rev 2 achieved 5000. Now that’s substantial, but the new version Prophet 5 is 3600 dollars (while the Prophet 10 is 4400 dollars) so prices for classic versions are barely higher. In fact the resurgence of Prophet and now Oberheim designs should have a big impact on prices of classics, though it’s too early to tell yet whether it has done so.

A Yamaha CS80 achieved 18,000. This could be considered low for the massive, bulky but very responsive polyphonic synth beloved by Vangelis, compared to some sellers recently looking for 24,000.

Roland Jupiter 8s are also being listed for up to 24,000 (even 26,000 or 29,000 if you look at Reverb, the leading place to go for highly priced second-hand instruments), but some have dropped to 19,000 or 18,000 or even a mere 17,000 asking price, so perhaps that particular bubble has burst.

And the star of the show: an Oberheim 4-voice achieved 30,000 (say 35,000 after costs). This is a real pro’s instrument and looks great in any studio. So despite very affordable software versions existing, it remains very much in demand.   

And as for the future…

How are these trends likely to develop in the immediate future? Again these are several to take into account.

1. The COVID effect will fade as musicians get back their losses from that period (particularly with some concert ticket prices now at 200 dollars or more) and no longer look to selling off their classic instruments.

2. Inflation, though, at 10% in the UK and affecting housing and all other living costs, will continue to be an upward factor.

3. The end of the worldwide chip shortage will bring many delayed new products to market. Behringer alone promises clones of (takes deep breath) the EMS VCS3, Sequential Prophet VS, Roland Jupiter 8 (in various formats), Sequential Prophet 800 (already beginning to reach the market), Oberheim OB8, PPG Wave 2, and various drum machines and effects.

This may cool off the classics market a little, but as before, it may simply spark more interest in owning the originals.

So, in conclusion – 

Don’t start expecting classic analog prices for your old digital synths, samplers, and sequencers. With few exceptions, your Akai samplers, Casio CZ instruments, MIDI digital sequencers, and quirky instruments like accordion expanders are not selling for high values. Being saddled with floppy or Zip disk drives, MIDI but no USB, fading displays, or worn-out aftertouch will continue to make some instruments a liability.

Let go of your early MIDI polyphonic synths if you really feel Behringer clones and the return of new models are about to cool the market. You could still sell an early Juno or Oberheim for a good price and buy a clone replacement very inexpensively. But you may, possibly, regret doing so in five or ten years.

Keep sitting on your whales a little longer, maybe. Owning an Oberheim 8-voice, Roland Jupiter 8, Yamaha CS80, Crumar Spirit (maybe – because there’s now talk of a Crumar re-launch), Roland System 700 modular or similar, or an up-market studio effect, may continue to represent a good investment.

On the other hand, if you sell one, just look at how many new instruments you could buy for yourself.

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