value of classic DEC machines?

From: Heinz Wolter <>
Date: Wed Oct 24 16:16:31 2001

Sellam Ismail wrote:
> I take exception to Heinz' proclamation that it is "certainly" worth that
> much. I disagree with his value. Yes, this pricing is all relative and
> subjective.

It wasn't exactly a proclamation; just an opinion based on 20 years of
collecting DEC, and seeing and knowing what the prices are.
I agree it's truly relative. Check out Ebay for some steals and rip-offs.
It is, and always has been a matter of whatever the market will bear.

> Maybe Heinz wants to pay US$100K for a PDP-1, but I don't think the rarity
> and demand for this system justifies such a value.

I never said I'd pay that. But someone would... If I was so rich as not to
notice 100k$, I'd have people scouting machines for me, as Mr. Allen does.
If I was planning to open a computer museum and had every (close to) other
machine DEC ever made - wouldn't I make that extra effort for the PDP-1?
We're talking obsessed here - most collectors aren't exactly ~normal~ ;)
If you have such a machine to sell, the trick is to find someone crazier
than you...

> > BTW, on thread. A good clean runnung PDP-11 with SW and docs can
> > fetch over $4K, to the original question.
> Sounds reasonable to me, but it also depends highly on the particular
> model.

I'd pay 4k$ for a pristine 11/45 with tape & disks running Unix v6, but you
couldn't probably give away an 11/70 ? Why? Some machines are just
more lovable than others ;) The '45 was the first non IBM machine I used,
so it holds some sentimental value. Many people spending thousands on
30+ year old metal probably do it because it brings back fond memories-
for them - and maybe for no one else. It's a very personal thing. For many,
it's the idea of having a real machine with lights and switches and noisy
fans that couldn't possibly ever run anything made by Microsoft ;)

Would it surpise you to know of customers' standing orders for PDP10
KA/KI machines in the $US140 range? Is that too much for unobtanium?
I wouldn't be keen n such a machine, unless I already had a KS, a KL etc.
Offhand, what do people think a working KS10 would go for? 10K$?

Putting a value on old machines is of course a pointless task. Most of
us would never sell our beloved machines, and most of them have
negative value to pretty well any normal individual. It's sad that some
rich collectors buy up anything classic, and drive the prices up. But that's
life. If I just paid 4k$ for a machine that will make me happy, should I
be upset to hear that someone else picked one up for free? It doesn't
make the free machine worth 4k$ (maybe to someone), but it also doesn't
make the 4k$ machine worthless. We should not be upset to see people
put prices on these machines; though it might make some reluctant to
give them away for free...

Received on Wed Oct 24 2001 - 16:16:31 BST

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