Vintage Hand Plane Values
I guess to start, I have to define a “good deal” for a user plane. With eBay as a reference point, my opinion of a good deal for a restoration plane for a new woodworker would be something less than $35 (shipping will add another $12).
You can find good deals on Stanley Bailey vintage planes at tool swap meets, antique shops and occasionally eBay (you are competing with more buyers on eBay) if you are looking for something to restore. Factor in restoration supplies like metal cutting sandpaper, rust remover, and quality sharpening system (you need the last one regardless to maintain any plane). Stanley produced some less desirable planes so to keep it simple, stick with Stanley “Bailey”. Avoid broken totes unless you want a challenge. Vintage Craftsman planes from the 1920s to 1950s are a bargain. Most were made by Sargent, a worthy Stanley competitor and are undervalued by collectors. There are many available that only need sharpening. Fulton planes were made by Sargent and Millers Falls, and with the exception of one stamped frog model are also a good value. (The back, outside edge of the frog should curve not have a sharp angle, as the stamped one does) The Fulton planes were offered from 1904-1944 so if you want an older plane than Craftsman, but want to avoid the collector prices of Bailey, they are a good choice. All these brand planes are based in the Bailey patent design and function the same.
Really depends on the budget. There are professionally restored vintage Stanley user planes out there for under $100 as well, but you miss out on the joy (and occasional heartbreak) of restoring your own.
“Whether you think you can, or you can’t, you’re right.”