I think there are a lot of hybrid collector/users out there. I generally think of myself as a user because I use my lenses and I'm not so concerned about museum-grade condition, but I've got more lenses than I use on a regular basis. The same is probably true of a lot of people buying vintage lenses. Shooting wet plate has been my downfall, since I don't like the look of modern lenses with the process. Factor in the lenses needed to shoot different size plates and things start to multiply.
Darin, define your terms. I ask because I have no clue what you mean by vintage lens. Name names.
My best guess is ancient non-anastigmats. This may be too broad 'cos there doesn't seem to be much demand for rapid rectilinears/aplanats. Among early anastigmats, only Planars seem to command silly money.
Name names. There are certainly cult lenses but I have no idea what the cultists do with them. Pray to them, perhaps, burn incense in front of them, incorporate them in shrines to their household spirits, ...
I guess I should have qualified my question a little better.
I am mainly looking at the +- 1900's vintage brass large format lenses.
I think a Dallmeyer 3b just sold for $1600 on ebay.
Perhaps that was a rare lens but petzvals and similar lenses seem to gain a premium.
I know that swirly bokeh type prints are increasing in popularity but at the prices these go for I cant help but think that people are snatching them up for collections.
I mean if you buy a soft focus lens to use, how many do you need? Theres only so many uses for these.
Go not to the elves for counsel, for they will say both yes and no.