"If Carlsbad Masis had been made in Ireland and few exported to the US, how much more would US bidders be willing to pay?"
I do get your point, which is that the sources of the desirable French and Italian bikes/parts are a long way from Japan, and unlike in the US, there is never was a lot of the stuff exported to Japan. I can't imagine what I'd do to get my NR/SR parts fix if I couldn't buy the "old, used junk" off of ex-racers at the local swap meet. Pay high prices on Ebay, I guess.
However, there are some ideas I want to through out here, and since it is both Masi-related highly speculative I will turn off my computer and come back in a couple of days to see how much chatter it generates. If Masis had been made in Ireland, instead of Carlsbad, and if they were EXACTLY the same as those we see from Carlsbad, they would be less sought after. This would hold true even if only a small percentage of the total Irish production ever made it to the US. If they were made in Ireland, no matter how well, they would just be "fake" non-Italian examples of yet another Italian brand. The primary reason Masi has such brand recognition among US collectors, is that it blends the exotic Italian heritage with a story we can relate to, which is the establishment of an old-world frame shop in the new world. Add to this that Masi really took a traditional Italian product, and added that obsessive level of finish that was born on our shores... and of course there is the innovation of investment casting, which I would think most CR types would actually hold against the brand. If Masi had never come to the US, the bikes would not be any higher on the US collector radar than Colnago or Gios. That is, they'd be highly regarded, but not the basis of a cult. In fact, even though the 1970's Italian examples seem to generate less CR excitement than the US ones, I'd bet that they'd be less popular still if the US ones had never been made.
Just my opinion,
Tom Dalton Bethlehem, PA
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