1980 ST100N - record price?

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May 29, 2012
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This very lovely-looking ST100 just sold for 321 100 JPY in Japan (about 2 200 USD).

They really don't come up for sale often enough to have an expected current price in the normal sense, but I doubt one has sold for more in Japan? They do resell for that kind of money and more in the West, but that's after importation costs, seller's markup etc.

With rare guitars like this, it's always hard to know if this indicates the true current market value or if it's just the result of two determined guys competing for bragging rights. We'll see if others turn up for sale soon. It happens quite often with rarities, it's like a sale like this makes other owners aware of the value of what they have.

Nice guitar either way. And the sellers seemed a bit clueless, so I guess they got a nice surprise,

Auction page | ZenMarket





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Considering that some of the rarest LS top models are now offered (not sure if they actually sell for that much) for whopping 6k, that price seems almost reasonable. The market is pretty much wiped clean of ST-100s, which intensifies the sense of scarcity and helps with FOMO purchases at whatever the seller asks for. As for actual market value - $2,200 is not that far away from an inflation-corrected import MSRP I think (+30%), so at least in this particular case it's not quite in the "crazy" category yet, even less when you consider 40+ years old alternatives. :)
It seems very reasonable to me. I intentionally didn’t post it in the eBay section before it ended because I wanted someone to get it that did some searching on their own. I did put it in the ST100 gallery for anyone paying attention.

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I've been trying to track the sale of ST-100s primarily those on Japanese sites for a number of years. My observations related to the one that just sold and the market for them:

1. Based on my records it is surprisingly a ST-100 record price for an Japanese auction
2. Before this one the winning auction prices for ST-100s that were not noticeably modified were about 100K JPY less
3. It's surprising because it is not a particularly exceptional example of an ST-100 especially one in natural which often have more spectacular wood grain. In addition, the auction title and description did not identify it as a ST-100 which typically draws more attention
4. About half the time the ST-100s have been modified whereas this one seems to be all original and in quite good condition
5. The ST-100s in natural seem to appear most often along with maple fretboards
6. A least a couple ST-100s come up for auction each year (along with those on Reverb & collector sites) so I wouldn't say the market has been wiped clean. These were built for 7 years so there is bound to be many more out there than something like TE-120s which were only built for about 1 year
7. The majority of the ST-100s that come up for auction have serial numbers that start with "0000"

As mentioned, should be interesting to see if they sustain this price level or potentially keep increasing due to expanded vintage MIJ guitar desirability.
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Hi eborej. I know you have been on this for some time.

I just want to make one observation. I think the prevalence of serial numbers that start with 0000 may be because they stamped a bunch at once and used them up over time. 1980-1982.

I tried to document that here:

1980/81 0000 Serial Numbers On Gold Neck Plates
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6. A least a couple ST-100s come up for auction each year (along with those on Reverb & collector sites) so I wouldn't say the market has been wiped clean.
I happily stand corrected! I don't look that much (particularly since YJ can't be easily accessed from the EU anymore) and so many of them look like "need more information", like "projects" or the sediment of a collection and I don't really count them when they don't leave me with GAS. :)

7. The majority of the ST-100s that come up for auction were manufactured in 1980

That's an interesting observation (I think I can second that), given that...

These were built for 7 years

Makes me wonder why?
Btw, I think the pics were bad in that listing. If they had used a flash or better lighting I think that neck would have shown better. It has subtle flame in it from what I could see.

The hardware on the OP example was not faded or heavily pitted and it was in overall good shape.

As for price, I bought my ST100 about ten years ago and back then probably paid around $1800 for it (from Japan with shipping) so this does not shock me.

I have not been tracking prices on these, but if you look at some of the ones Gottfried sold on Faber, etc. (Europe) I bet you would see some prices close to this range.

Here is one Homeras sold on here.

Tokai ST-100 1978
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The ST-100 in the OP is quite nice, very desired and now days they are quite rare IMO.
The guitar looks fantastic and it prolly sounds like a million buck$. :)

Glad to see Cliff snagged another awesome MIJ. :cool:
He has very good taste when it comes to MIJ guitars. (y)
The crazy low Yen plays a role here too. If you look at the top bidders on these types of auctions, it's often agent accounts at the end, or one determined local against an agent account. Another factor to take into perspective is how much Fender and Gibson prices have gone up. A Fender American Vintage is in the 300k-350k Yen retail here. Custom Shop is multiples of that. Is it that overpriced to pay 310k for a rare vintage piece?

Purely as a guitar, I think lower Tokais, or Greco and especially Fernandes (some of which are Tokai-made) are far better value, but as a collectible, that guitar is worth it.