Kalamazoo Amp Field Guide: Prices - Then and Now

Prices Over Time

ModelDec 1966 PriceApr 1967 PriceSep 1967 PriceJun 1968 PriceToday's Price
Model 1 $49.50 $49.50 $59.50 $49.50 $100 - $250
Model 2 $59.50 $59.50 $69.50 $59.50 $100 - $300
K-10 Cover $2.50 $2.50 $2.50 $2.50 $5 - $15
Model 3 $59.50 $69.50 $79.50 $69.50 $20 - $50
Model 4 $69.50 $79.50 $89.50 $79.50 $20 - $50
K-11 Cover $3.50 $3.50 $3.50 $3.50 $5 - $10
Reverb 12 $129.50 $129.50 $129.50 $129.50 $100 - $350
K-12 Cover $9.00 $9.00 $9.00 $9.00 $5 - $20
Bass 30 $179.50 $179.50 $179.50 $179.50 $50 - $150
Bass 50 $229.50 $229.50 $229.50 N/A ?
K-30 Cover $9.75 $9.75 $9.75 $9.75 ?
The "then" prices are straight from official price lists such as this one from April 15, 1967 (64KB 272x564 GIF or 150KB 544x1128 JPEG), which was scanned in by Bjorn Anger (keeper of the mighty Holiday for Strings Gibson amp pages). I now have copies of that price list and the September 1, 1967 list. The third set came from a lower resolution scan I found on the net, so it's possible there are errors there, but I spent a fair amount of time playing with it in xv and the gimp, so I'm reasonably confident in its accuracy.

It's rather amusing today that the Model 3 and Model 4 solid state amps were more expensive than the Model 1 and Model 2 tube amps they were about to replace (for the brief period they survived in the market). The solid state models were identical, feature-wise, to their tube counterparts, but you have to remember that at the time, solid state was new and different. They were touted as never wearing out (compared to tubes), more efficient (needing less power, generating almost no heat). They also had more complex cabinets which cost more to manufacture. Finally, the speakers were slightly better (45% larger magnets) on the solid state models. Hence the premium for the solid state amps.

The Bass 50 seems to be fairly rare.

Reasonable Prices

Today's prices are based on recent eBay sales, prices in local Austin shops, other sales I have personal knowledge of, and the Vintage Guitar Price Guide. eBay has been helping drive prices up (as apparently have these web pages). Whereas in 2000 these amps were a really good bargain, today most of them are over-priced. They're nice little harp amps, practice mps, or mod platforms, but IMO many of them are going for more than they are worth unless the amp has been overhauled by someone who really knows what they're doing. The high end prices are, thankfully, rare.

For what it's worth, I think the following are reasonable price ranges for the guitar models (I don't have strong opinions on the bass models, but watch out for shipping; they're heavy!)

AmpGood ConditionVery Good ConditionExcellent Condition
Model One$100$150$200
Model Two$125$175$225
Reverb 12$150$200$250
Model 3$15$25$35
Model 4$25$35$45

Full disclosure

The "reasonable prices" here reflect my personal opinions. They reflect the max I'm willing to pay, which reflects the max I think the amps are worth. This is based on the amp construction, durability, tone, usability, etc. They're not very collectable, despite what some people claim. It's possible they will become so; I hope not, as their true value is in what they are-- cheap, commodity practice amps. As the amps have gone up in price, I have simply quit buying them except when I find one within the guidelines above.

Note that even in excellent condition, an amp this old may need work to make it safe, hum-free, etc. Even if it appears dead mint it may need work to sound good and be reliable. If you can do this work yourself, great. If you have to pay someone else, it could range from $25 to $250, depending on how much work is needed and the component quality you pick. (In fact, the price can be nearly infinite if you want gold plated components and knobs that fit your feng shui scheme 8^).

Last updated: 29 March 2008

Copyright Y2K++, 2K5, 2K7 Miles O'Neal, Austin, TX. All rights reserved.

Miles O'Neal <roadkills.r.us@XYZZY.gmail.com> [remove the "XYZZY." to make things work!] c/o RNN / 1705 Oak Forest Dr / Round Rock, TX / 78681-1514