Open-reel playback has come into vogue with the nutter high-end hi-fi brigade, so there's a strong demand and as a result they are all paying very silly money for any decent pro machines that comes onto the market.
A former BBC colleague who runs a tape machine repair/alignment service is completely swamped with work, 95% of it being from hi-fi people. One of his customers has THREE ex-Beeb Studer A80s in his living room -- and he's not that unusual, apparently.
For anyone not familiar with the model, an A80 is not a compact machine by any stretch of the imagination!
A lot of his work goes beyond the necessary mechanical and electrical maintenance. He's regularly being asked to replace original side panels with new granite or hardwood pieces, for example, and to have top-plates and other hardware re-polished and re-anodized to bring 30 year old tired machines back to looking like something approximating new.
People are spending more on refurbishment than they are on the machines themselves...
...and then they're spending several hundreds of pounds a time on importing second or third-generation* copy tapes under the impression they're 'master tapes' so they can listen to and marvel at the sonic wonder of pure-analogue....
*To be fair, the better companies (like the one above) do go to big efforts to minimise dub losses by making a 'production master' on a 1-inch format to minimise tape hiss from the source 'master tape' (probably a second-gen copy safety master in most cases). So the retail tapes are more like 1.5- (if it was the real master tape) or 2.5-generation dub copies.
I'm sure they sound lovely in their own way, ... But the OPUS master tapes I reviewed
was decidedly noisier than either the vinyl or CD copies I have of the same tracks! (And it's not my A807 machine being magnetised or anything silly like that because if I record and playback the CD directly on it here it sounds much less noisy than the Opus tape!)