More information for the bicycle enthusiast on the web is great, but my walnut-sized brain just can't come around to see what good can really come out of price guides. A price guide is nothing more than an average of what other people think something is worth. If you love it, you'll know what it's worth to you, or you'll put in the effort to figure it out. If you don't love it, go play in the stock market. The enthusiast knows how much he's willing to pay for a bike or sell it for. Why should dedicated enthusiasts compile their hard-won knowledge on a bike's monetary value, and serve it up to the non-enthusiast on a silver platter?
When contemplating purchasing an Italvega on eBay, I didn't know anything about Italvega, but with the help of the CR list, quickly found out what I needed to know. I didn't ask about "values" before bidding because I didn't care what other people thought of that. I found out about the frame and knew enough about its components to know what was a reasonable price. The bike spoke to me on several levels and I decided what I would pay for it, and made that my maximum bid.
I'm pretty new to the vintage side of the bike sickness, and I like what I see. It's populated by bike nuts and still hasn't become a big commodities market. The information is out there and very accessible these days. People with knowledge, wisdom and experience are very generous when they sense that the questions are motivated by genuine interest and enthusiasm. I agree with Brian that it should take a little interest and effort and dedication to be privy to the ins and outs of vintage bikes (and their "values"). That filters out the non-enthusiast, the idle rich dilettante and the speculator who doesn't know anything more about vintage bikes than Campy = Good, but smells a buck. Like the saying goes, if it was easy, everyone would do it. I'm not saying let's be clannish and exclusive. I'm just saying, the hobby is better when it's populated by people who actually love bikes. Why dumb things down for those who don't?
Although the Italvega isn't a particularly "valuable" bike, I love it because, as best I can ascertain, it seems to be all original, which really enhances the "time machine" aspect of it. I'm a preservationist and I'm glad I'm the one who bought it instead of some eBay opportunist who zeroed in on the "Nuovo Record" and bought it to part out (and sell yet one more orphaned frame as "perfect for that fixed-gear project!" i.e. condemn it to live out the remainder of its days as an urban beater).
This is a huge complex topic with so many points of view. I think, as with so many other things in life, it can be boiled down to one thing: Is the interest due to love or money?
Jerry G. Prigmore Clovis, California, USA
Perchik: "Money is the world's curse!"
Tevye: "THEN MAY THE LORD SMITE ME WITH IT!!!"