as you see, I'm not a wine drinker.... LOL I thought I knew about wine HA!
What do you mean by not fun? Some people spend their money on new shiny rims, some buy old musty smelling radio tubes. Its all subjective to the person.
I stand by my comment. If you aren't having fun, then why bother with this hobby? I'm not saying it's cheap or that it's expensive so the money has to leave the equation. Any hobby can cost money but that is an individuals choice as to whether they want to pursue it. What does being older than the tubes discussed have to do with anything other than their original value versus today's market value? Same goes for all kinds of items people collect.
Anyway it's supposed to be fun IMO. YMMV
Been a few weeks but have pursued MY perfection. After being disappointed with the micro-phonics in my $100, RTC branded E188CC, Mullard, NOS/NIB tubes I returned same. It wasn't just the micro-phonics, they just did not sound TO ME great..., not much better than my RCA/Matsu****a/Japanese Mullards. I then purchased some Siemens branded, EI made, ECC88 from EBAY, Tubemaze. These tubes were made in Yugoslavia with Telefunken tooling. They are Siemens branded with Siemens boxes, NOS, NIB, $70, plus shipping. These tubes IMHO sound wonderful, way better than the RTC/Mullards. They have the classic detailed, flat frequency response sound that Siemens are known for, 1/3 the price of Siemens. Great, I realize I like the detailed German/Siemens/Telefunken sound over the Mullard/Amperex sound. After a lot of dithering about decided to get to the top of this Siemens/Telefunken thing! After losing some auctions in Ebay for TeleE88CC's around $200+ from Germany, I went back to Upscale Audio's offerings. Kevin@Upscale recently purchased a few Thousand, master cases of 100's, NOS, NIB of these tubes. His description of these tubes and the journey he took to acquire these, money spent, test results....as he has said, will never be available again. I purchased a "Gold" matched pair and with less than 20 hrs burn in, I have found MY tube. The micro-detail, flat frequency response, tight, low, bass, and sparkling but smooth top end, amazing transients and slew rate, WOW!! They are priced@ $109 for "Gold", $129 for "Platinum", each, pairs matching for free. I am aware of CCA's, etc, however these tubes are testing much better than most CCA's. Reviewed with Bifrost/Uber/Lyr, BMF Flyer modded FostexT50RP'S, HD TRACKS 96K Downloads. "Rhythm Sessions", Lee Ritenour; "The Vigil", Chick Corea; "Entre Amigos", Rosa Passos/Ron Carter. These tubes take the Lyr to a very special place. Brent Jesse Audio has "used, tested NOS similar tubes for $300/pair. These are NOS/NIB. My tube rolling days are over. Many thanks to "Gibosi", "RB2013" et al for your patience and guidance. Telefunken for me, satwilson