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Thread: Airworthy Warbirds market value

  1. #1
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    Airworthy Warbirds market value

    Hello,
    Me and my friends would like to buy an airworthy WWII era fighter and trainer.
    For some time I am trying in vain to find out some consistent data regarding the development of market value of airworthy historic warbirds and trainers. Is there anybody with a good memory to remember for how much were those aircrafts sold in the last 20 years? Or at least could anybody direct me to the source of such an information? Sure there would be a big difference between airplanes of the same type. A Battle of Britain Spitfire with proven kills can get 2-3 times more expensive then some post war example with no war history. I am interested in types as Spitfire, P51, P47, F8F and trainers Stearman, Texan/Harward, Trojan.

  2. #2
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    Have a look here - (other warbird sales outlets are available)
    Martin

  3. #3
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    Thanks, but that's just present situation. There are several other companies on the market now selling those airplanes where it's possible to find out current prices. What I would like to see is historic development of those prices. The last 15-20 years.

  4. #4
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    I have never seen a common collection of warbird prices, where the development could be traced.

    I think you will have to investigate individual aircrafts that have changed hands within the last 15-20 years.

    I'm pretty sure its a bad investment for the pure economy of it.

  5. #5
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    ...and who knows exactly what these aircraft actually change hands for, one off shore company to another...and why should we.

    £.5m in dollars might have come off the price of a Spitfire alone just due to currency shift in the past six months...or it might not.

    PeterA
    Last edited by Mark12; 16th December 2008 at 14:10.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jozef View Post
    A Battle of Britain Spitfire with proven kills can get 2-3 times more expensive then some post war example with no war history.
    How can you say that as I don't think there has even been an airworthy Battle of Britain Spitfire with proven kills ever coming up for sale on the open market

    And if can afford to buy them to fly them, then it doesn't really matter about what they were worth 10 or 20 years ago does it....
    I was with it all the way until letting the brakes off..........

  7. #7
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    There's always a half chance that Jozef wants to know how much his warbird has gained in value over the last few years?
    I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them.
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  8. #8
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    Well, there are companies on the market (Courtesy Aircraft, Provenance Fighter) building their business around buying and selling warbirds. They do it for profit. Otherwise they wouldn't be relevant. My investment would be mainly about love but there should be some economy in it as well. A warbird can cost several millions. I doubt there is anybody on this planet spending so much money just for love if there are companies like Courtesy and Provenance. I see the warbird market similar to that of fine art. Everybody knows the value increases in years. If data I am trying to get are available there would be much more investors and more money for restoration, operation and preservation for those beautiful species.
    There are guys on this forum able to recognize the precise airplane from unclear old pictures. They are able to tell who and where flew and owned the airplane. I just thought they would be able to remember some finances around it as well. Example: Mark and Ray Hanna bought their Spitfire (type, number...) in 1993 for £300.000.
    Anyway many thanks for any response.

  9. #9
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    Recently-restored two-seat Spitfire for sale at the moment: £2.5m, as reported in the various magazines.
    There is nothing to fear but fear itself. And spiders. F**k spiders.

    Daren Cogdon

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jozef View Post
    Well, there are companies on the market (Courtesy Aircraft, Provenance Fighter) building their business around buying and selling warbirds. They do it for profit.
    They do it for their own profit...not the profit of their customers, many of whom I bet have to sell their investment because it is becoming too expensive to feed and house

    A warbird can cost several millions. I doubt there is anybody on this planet spending so much money just for love
    Wow! Paul Allen, Jerry Yagen, Rudy Frasca, Howard Pardue, Stephen Grey, and any other of the hundreds of people who have invested vast amounts of money from other enterprises in resurrecting and maintaining their machines for the pure pleasure of flying them.

    I see the warbird market similar to that of fine art. Everybody knows the value increases in years.
    Fine art does not require constant expensive, mandated maintenance to remain in it's original condition, nor does it offer the possibility of destruction every time you use it. A static aircraft may qualify, but then it would not have any of the value of a flying example.

  11. #11
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    Jozef.

    I can see what you are trying to do, but you are wasting your time.

    The market is so small that each aircraft that comes up for sale is floating in it's own little micro-economy. If two restorers have a Spitfire available at one time the selling price (not the advertised price - two very different things) plummets. Didn't Historic Flying have to bundle a Harvard with one of their Spitfires a while back to shift the metal?

    On the other hand, if there are a glut of buyers (i.e. more than one) then the price can ascend.

    If it was me I'd be looking for a Hurricane with Russian provenance, or at the very least in Russian livery. That way I'd have a nice big, and not too crowded marketplace when it came to selling.

    Moggy
    "What you must remember" Flip said "is that nine-tenths of Cattermole's charm lies beneath the surface." Many agreed.

  12. #12
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    I would have to back up others here and say that a warbird is not a good investment as an appreciating asset. The issues of maintenance etc have already been covered but when determining values then provenance must also count for a great deal.
    A genuine wartime Spitfire with a continuous provenance (possibly as examples aircraft like MH434 and AR213) must be worth more to many owners than a wartime aircraft which is basically little more than the original constructors plate attached to what is an almost completely new airframe.
    Please don't get me wrong I am not knocking the people who rebuild complete wrecks which require such major parts replacement - It is to their credit that we are able to see and appreciate so many airworthy warbirds - I am just saying that the provenance can vastly affect the value.
    The same thing is true in historic motorsport. There are cars with continuous histories which are worth a great deal more than similar cars which have been rebuilt from burnt out wrecks. Both have their place but when it comes to buying and selling values for continuous provenance cars and rebuilds can be poles apart.

  13. #13
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    Thanks for your responses guys. I am not solely interested in Spitfires. As I wrote at the beginning it can be P51, P47, F8F and trainers Stearman, Texan/Harward, Trojan. Or any other warbird.
    I can see their present market values situation from the web.
    Back to the topic! Is there anybody who would remember the selling price of those airworthy aeroplanes in the PAST? Let’s say in 2003, 1998, 1993 and 1988. If it is too sensitive I don’t need to know sellers and buyers names nor the exact plate of that airplane. I understand the price could vary significantly depending on its history. But let’s all see what the market value did in the past.

  14. #14
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    Have you tried searching the websites / catalogues of the auction houses?

    You might get an idea of reserve prices; whether or not an item was sold, or not; etc etc.

  15. #15
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    All anyone will be able to tell you is the advertised price.

    It is not in the interest of either the purchaser or the seller to disclose where the haggling finally ended up.

    Moggy
    "What you must remember" Flip said "is that nine-tenths of Cattermole's charm lies beneath the surface." Many agreed.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jozef View Post
    Example: Mark and Ray Hanna bought their Spitfire (type, number...) in 1993 for £300.000.
    If you refer to MH434, I don't think so. From FlyPast Special, Airshow 86 (yes, I still have it):
    When a consortium headed by well-known former Red Arrows leader, Ray Hanna, acquired this lovely Mk. IX in auction during 1983, MH434 hit the headlines as it went 'under the hammer' for £260,000 - such is the worth of a fine Spitfire in the 1980s.
    Another source (I don't remember which right now and don't have the time to search) states that at the time, £260,000 was a record price.

    I'm sure that the value has not depreciated ... ... !

    Christer

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christer View Post
    If you refer to MH434, I don't think so. From FlyPast Special, Airshow 86 (yes, I still have it):

    Another source (I don't remember which right now and don't have the time to search) states that at the time, £260,000 was a record price.

    I'm sure that the value has not depreciated ... ... !

    Christer
    Would you say that having ray hannah own MH434 has its increased its value rather than joe bloggs?


    668
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  18. #18
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    Why would it, he was a pilot, very much like any other owner. That said MH434 does have a long and interesting history.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yak 11 Fan View Post
    Why would it, he was a pilot, very much like any other owner. That said MH434 does have a long and interesting history.
    True true, tho he did have a great flying career and is pretty well known thats all i was wondering
    "Keeping Britain's Heritage Flying!"

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    Would you say that having ray hannah own MH434 has its increased its value rather than joe bloggs?
    I don't know who joe bloggs is. Is he a warbird owner ... ... ? No matter what, I don't think any Spitfire or warbird in general has depreciated since civilians started flying them. The problem is deciding which cost is an operating cost and which cost should be regarded as an addition to the investment.

    Christer

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jozef View Post
    Is there anybody who would remember the selling price of those airworthy aeroplanes in the PAST? Let’s say in 2003, 1998, 1993 and 1988. If it is too sensitive I don’t need to know sellers and buyers names nor the exact plate of that airplane. I understand the price could vary significantly depending on its history. But let’s all see what the market value did in the past.
    Not going to, as stated above.

    For several years I worked as the Asst Ed at Warbirds Worldwide. Paul Coggan, the editor and owner, acted as a valuer to a major UK auction house. Unfortunately he is no longer with us, otherwise he may have been able to help. I don't have (or care about) the information you're after - Paul didn't share that info even with me - as has already been pointed out, published information of prices is not necessarily correct.

    There are trends in 'warbirds' you can establish, but they are as easy to state from the current overall market and currency exchange. Type rarity, desirability (popularity with the public / rich potential owners) and operation cost are all factors specific to individual types which will affect the cash 'value' beyond trends - and here your shopping list, including as it does both fighters and trainers - is a bit vague, and shows a lack of serious research so far. Quality of restoration and care of operation are also important when it comes time to sell - but just like doing up houses, it's easy to not recoup that cash spent because of the current economic climate.

    The two major 'markets' are in the US and UK. There are significant differences in how those markets have and will work, as well as the often discussed movements between them. You can not really do more than generalise across both. Looking at an actual purchase, you have to be specific.

    Married to an art historian, can I also point out that art is not a certain appreciating investment. It also requires a degree of research and work.

    If you come across as a credible investor, some people will be happy to advise you - some of them may be able to give you unpartisan advice. You won't get that information, which is valuable or in danger of evaporating under public scrutiny, on a public forum like this. If you've come across as a serious investor (and the shopping list is a bit weak, there) you'll get a few contacts.

    HTH.
    James K

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    Vintage Aero Writer: Blog & Details

  22. #22
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    The warbird marked is one of the many areas of aviation, where its possible to make a small fortune.

    The only prerequisite is that you start out with a BIG FORTUNE!



    There are a few people, who are able to carve out a business of the scene, but its my understanding that everyone else are in the warbird "market" as a labour of love.

    I don't think many warbird operators considers it a financial investment. Even if some might have made a small profit over the years (my bet is that its very few).

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mondariz View Post
    I don't think many warbird operators considers it a financial investment. Even if some might have made a small profit over the years (my bet is that its very few).
    Some dealers have done very nicely out of it. Few auction houses have made a loss from their often semi-competent efforts in the arena. But if money's the aim, keep them moving, don't retain them.
    James K

    Looking and thinking...
    Vintage Aero Writer: Blog & Details

  24. #24
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    My bet is, that the most money can been made from sourcing warbird projects.

    Although its a strange and mystifying world, I would think that those able to locate new material (Eg aircraft) can make a profit. I expect the Hinds from Afghanistan to net the finder/investor a bit of profit.

    However, the business undertaking such a venture, should have the right knowledge and connections from the word go.

  25. #25
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    A warbird, pretty much the same for any aeroplane, is only worth what somebody is prepared to pay for it.

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