Welcome to the new normal.
I receive several wholesale surplus catalogs for work and I'm friends with several surplus dealers. They all say the same thing; there really isn't a surplus of surplus anymore. Most warehouses got liquidated a while ago and governments started tightening their belts. The shift to smaller militaries resulted in less excess. Hard to imagine governments being thrifty but they are. Cost of business are also on the rise with fuel and others expenses always increasing. Wholesale prices are higher and as such so are retail. Just because it's more than you care to spend is a moot point. The fact that there were only a handful can be an indicator that demand is greater than supply. It's priced more than you want to spend, so they will sell it to someone else for whom it isn't.
Classic case is bolt action battle rifles like Mosin-Nagants and Enfields. 15-20 years ago India and the former Eastern Bloc arsenals figured it was time to liquidate their dusty warehouses and flooded the market. The bottom fell out of pricing and I remember seeing Mosin-Nagants and No.1 MkIII Enfields for $85 at Big 5 Sporting Goods. Guess what? 2-3 years ago those supplies dried up. Retail prices have risen dramatically and people who were used to 1990s pricing scream price gouging. I was at a gun show last weekend and was hanging out with one of my favorite dealers. A customer actually got pissed at him that he wanted $185 for a Mosin-Nagant. He confided with me that after import fees, shipping, paying himself a skilled wage to completely clean out the cosmoline, plus fuel and booth fees, he was making $20 on a M-N rifle.
I collect British WW1 and WW2 militaria. A lot of the stuff used to be cheap and easy to find... now, it's getting harder to find once common pieces and prices are raising across the board (especially in the last two years).
Last edited by LettuceHead; 04-10-2013 at 11:13 AM.