Like vintage cars or boats, vintage airplanes are now demanding higher and higher prices. There are even brokers who are buying up aircraft just to resell at elevated prices. At one point I heard some complaints about that. My thought is more along with what a friend of mine told me a few years back... an airplane is worth what someone will pay for it. So if I am asked what my Cessna 170B is worth I have a hard time answering. If I throw a price out there people gasp. I laugh because values are relative. Relative to what was paid for the aircraft... how much was invested in it... and how much sentimental value it has to the owner.
Now that some of the aircraft owners are aging and selling their aircraft off there are new collections developing. Aviation enthusiasts who are coming into money are quietly building up amazing collections. A few of the larger collections of vintage and Warbird aircraft, either in museums or private collection, have recently sold some significant aircraft. Tillamook Air Museum recently sold their B-25, Spitfire and Thunderbolt (pictured above). The Lone Star Flight Museum has sold their F7F Tigercat and A-20 Havoc. As time passes I predict we will see more aircraft change hands and even some collections fade away.
What excites me is that there are some of these new collectors that are very enthusiastic about saving rare aircraft from extinction. A rare aircraft comes on the market and these collectors are the first to step up to give them a home. As times change the aircraft will change hands. When that happens the aircraft will be available for display at more airshows and for viewing by more people across the country.