The HandPan Market - And Reassessing Demand Come 2016

Having recently celebrated having added one hundred names to our list of Handpan makers, now that the party is over, in the cold light of day, we wanted to take a closer look at one of the many consequences, of so many makers suddenly appearing on the scene all at once.

If you read around on the internet about the Hang, one thing you’ll hear of over and over (we mention it all the time), was the “HUGE DEMAND”, with which the Hang was met.  And that’s true, it was.  People went crazy trying to get their hands on one, and even in the later years before PANArt retired the Hang, there were very few established alternatives.

In the early days of the Hang, with the first generation, it is guesstimated that PANArt could have been making around two a day, reducing that number significantly with following generations. So ten letters requesting a Hang arriving in Bern, each, and every day, was a HUGE demand.

But what about when you have one hundred makers, and counting?

Back in 2015 we published a post acknowledging the very visible fall in prices that the instruments of Pantheon Steel were commanding with their monthly eBay auctions.  A fall in prices that was happening across the board, for the majority of brands being sold at open auction.

Back when we began this website, literally anything that was vaguely Hang-shaped that appeared on eBay would sell for many thousands of dollars, even if they sounded like a trash-can lid.  The highest price we ever saw reached for a Handpan at eBay was $15,000.00, for a Halo, but even instruments like the Bali Steel with a retail price of around $1100 at the time, would sell at eBay for prices as high as $4000 - to those not willing to wait out the year or so long que to purchase one directly from the makers.

The most recent Halo offered at auction sold for $4494.  Over ten thousand dollars less than the one that sold just over a year before it.  And a number of Handpan, better in sound than those that used to fly out like hot-cakes, currently sit at eBay unsold.

Education has certainly improved, and there are more websites, and Facebook groups than ever, at which potential pan purchasers can gain advice - but even so, it feels like times now aren’t just "a changing", they’ve changed.  And that from this point onwards, it’s going to be a very different game.

With our "Handpan-making" page being among our most visited, and without meaning to be discouraging, it feels like an important area to examine.  It might be a great time for buyers, but getting into Handpan making is not always the cheapest of business ventures.  There are operations like Bali Steel who seem to function in a fairly rustic environment, but putting together a Pantheon Steel style Handpan super-lab, isn’t cheap.  Six hours ago (at time of posting) Pantheon Steel added three Halo to their online store for sale, and as we check now, all three have vanished, presumably sold.  So that while the "crazy" might have gone out of the Handpan market a little come 2016, demand is still very much there for the more highly regarded instruments.  But, if you’re thinking of getting into Handpan making, tempted by the outdated tales of pans selling for insane amounts just a few years back you might have read around the web (and on this site from earlier times) - before investing your savings into Handpan building tools, and supplies,- you’d better be sure that you’re in it for the love, at least as much as the money - because the days of easy riches, offered up willingly, and by the handful, for anything even remotely Hang-shaped, appear now firmly behind us.

© HandPans Magazine