The price you pay for a collectible item depends on how rare it is and how badly you want it. The higher the price the more I check pricing on the internet before I buy. Some times the item is a one of a kind and you cannot find it on the internet. When that happens I go with my gut feeling.
One of the hardest things to do is convince myself to walk away when the price is too high for an item I do not have. Part of me says "This is the first one you have ever seen." and the rational part of me says "It is not the last one you will ever see". Although walking away is hard, sometimes it is the best thing to do.
For example, I saw a Donald Duck Root Beer can for $79.00 at an antique mall. I had never seen one before and really wanted it. I walked away. When I got home and checked the internet, I found them selling on eBay for $40.00. Glad I did not give in and buy the one for $79.00
Here are some of the prices I will pay for various items:
Bottles. If it is a new bottle of a brand I do not have, or a variation on a bottle I do not have, but still a new bottle, I normally pay between $1 and $3 per bottle. This would include all of the more common brands like Boylan, Stewarts, Dad's etc. as well as the odd ball brands like Judge Wapner, Rat Bastard, Cool Mountain.
If it is an older bottle, but still a pretty common brand, I would pay $3 to $8 per bottle. This would include brands like Hires, Dad's, Frostie, Barq's, etc. Here I am talking about bottles that are no longer in distribution.
For rarer brands of older bottles, I might pay from $10 to $20 or more. Examples of these would be DR. Swett's, Triple AAA, Triple XXX, Bulls EYE, Howel's,
Of course if I ever come across old crock bottles or very early Hires, I would pretty much pay whatever is being asked. If you notice I have yet to find any of those.
Mugs: There are thousands of A&W mugs out there. I would never pay more than $3 to $5 per A&W mug. If you just keep looking, you will eventually find pretty much everyone one there is for that price. Of course many are listed for much more, just keep looking.
Mugs that are of common brands but no where near as common as A&W, I will pay from $5 to $10 each. This would be brands like Hires, Dad's, FrosTop, Dog-n-Suds.
Then there are mugs that are fancier and rarer that I would pay $10 to $20 for, this includes Richardson's, Howel's, Rochester.
The old crock mugs for Hires are a little harder to find. I generally pay between $20 to $40 for those.
And the most treasured mug I have is the Hires ceramic mug made in Germany for between $100 and $150 depending on condition. You can find them ceaper but generally they are chipped or cracked.
Cans: You can find a lot of cans for around $1. The harder cans, with the pull tabs generally are between $5 and $10. The older steel cans usually start around $10 and go up from there. The really old cone top steel cans can be over $100. Generally, if I see a can that I do not have, I buy it. Unless the price seems unrealistic.
Remember, most of these items are no longer being made. If you really want it, have been looking a long time, and know that it is rare, buy it when you see it.
I would love to hear from others as to what thet think of prices. Mine are based on years of searching and what I have seen.