Well, a Dorfan 417 block signal sold for $650 dollars with 14 bids in 2015, and $900 dollars back in 2012. So there’s still people out there willing to buy these Dorfan accessories, at least the 417. At least that’s my “train of thought” 😉
Yes for good originals, the prices can be astronomical in some cases. However, when reproducing an item you are not going to sell reproductions for those prices and are unlikely to be able to sell all of the items in the minimum order and the person contracting to have these items made would be responsible to purchase all unsold items made under the minimum order.
An example of this is the American Flyer Old Glory, at one time good originals sold in the $2,000 to $4,000 range; however, when MTH reproduced these items, the reproductions were priced for around $100.
My understanding is that the individual who had the Dorfan crane reproduced by T-Reproductions was unable to sell all of the items initially and was stuck with unsold items, which I believe he is still slowly selling. Considering that these cranes were reproduced c. 15 years ago, that is something to consider.
I also know that the person who reproduced the American Flyer Union Station (the large wooden station) initially had parts for 25 stations made and then had parts for an additional 75 stations made. Apparently, he sold less than 50 of these stations, and these items were reproduced around 1990, when the tinplate market was significantly better than it is today.
I have also heard stories of when Rick Ralston had the cast iron trains book printed, he was selling those books for around $200 initially, and after there were no longer sales at that price he had to eventually lower the price of the books in order to sell them and was selling those books for years.
Are you willing to guarantee the reproduction cost of a minimum order and purchase any unsold items that were produced under the minimum order requirements and take the risk of selling them?