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I Forge Iron

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So I'm beginning to aquire the tools I need to start blacksmithing, and I'm trying to plan ahead. When you find somebody with old tongs, anvil, or whatever else and doesn't have a price in mind, what do you offer? Do you low-ball and risk offending them and killing the sale? I'm probably more worried people will Google the tool and have some rediculous price in mind.

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While none of us wants to pay more than what we have to I try to offer what I think is a fair price.  I may preface the offer by comments, good or bad, on the item and what, in my experience, is the fair market value.  Most North Americans are not very experienced or good at haggling in the way you might in a bazaar in the mid-east or Asia where both parties know the game well.  Also, there is a difference between asking "What do you want for it?" and "What will you take for it?".

If a seller won't or can't come up with a price I will say something like, "Well, over the years I have paid about $15 on average for a pair of decent tongs.  These are nice and  I would like to have them.  So, I will offer you $20. (or "These are kind of beat up and loose.  So, I will offer you $12.)

I don't want to screw over someone who doesn't know the value of what they have.  That would be a weight on my soul which would outweigh getting a good deal.

On occasion, I have given someone more than they asked because I thought it was worth more, I could afford the higher price, and thought they were asking too little.

On the other hand, I won't pay more than it is worth to me.  If the seller wants the sun and the moon and all the stars for something I will tell him/her why I think it is too much, wish them luck getting that price, and give them my phone number and tell them my offer will remain open either for a certain period or forever.

In the end, the best deal is where both parties are happy and feel that they are satisfied.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand." 

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What George said. Also, now after forging  and collecting for a while my prices I'm willing to pay for many tools went down. With knowledge and experience some things are easier to make than to buy for the prices some want. Let knowledge and experience be your power. Only buy what you absolutely need till you get some experience and always keep learning. 

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One method is to offer what you are happy to pay, then what you are willing to pay.  A lot of people have outrageous prices they think are "reasonable".  I remember being at a fleamarket and when I made an offer the dealer said that it wasn't possible to buy it at that price ---I waved the very same item that I bought for my exact same offer at a dealer right across the aisle.

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