A while back I purchased a semi-beater 4x5 Crown just to see if we got along. I loved the camera. And the huge handheld RF negatives. So recently (within the last few months) I purchased a second identical model intending it to become the real day-to-day user, relegating the semi-beater trial camera to donor status if ever needed.
The new Crown is pristine, both in functionality and cosmetics. Every feature works correctly. Every control is silky smooth. Every metal piece glistens. None of the usual wear points are worn. Clean, like-new black crinkle paint still covers every corner and edge. Even at that point where the locking bed supports attach to the bed there is no dried and peeled back leatherette.
The serial number indicates a manufacture date of May, 1968, right near the sale to Singer. I believe this camera had only one previous non-professional trial owner who purchased it out of storage from Graflex follow-on WD Service in Carson City, Nevada, gave it a whirl, didn't like it, then just packed it away. The seller said he had bought it for his son who ended up settling on a Hasselblad instead.
Only USD $350, plus a little shipping. This was an eBay auction purchase. I was the only bidder and corresponded at length with the seller regarding provenance before bidding. Add in another $77 plus shipping for a wonderful Carol Flutot CLAC service on the shutter and I have essentially a brand new camera.
There are reasonable deals to be had out there. I waited probably 6-9 months for this one to show up. I would never have paid more than USD $500 for a nice used Crown. Those guys asking for USD $800-900, or more, are just crazy.
Unless, of course, they can get it..