value of classic DEC machines?

From: Matthew Sell <>
Date: Thu Oct 25 09:49:35 2001

As an enthusiast of various hobbies, classic computing included, I've found
that the advent of E-Bay has actually created a few benefits:

1) The word gets out that "such-and-such" is a collectable item, thus
making it worth more than garbage, and somebody who otherwise might have
thrown that TRS-80 Model 4 in the dumpster is actually selling to somebody
who will preserve and use it.

2) Prices tend to stabilize somewhat, as everyone gets a feel for supply
and demand of a certain item. There are always exceptions, but generally
everyone involved gets more of a feeling for what something is worth.

3) Single listing source of obscure items. Sometimes it's worth paying a
little extra to just get that hard-to-find item from an E-Bay seller
quickly, rather than dig through a bunch of warehouses looking for that
elusive item. That takes the fun and excitement out of digging and
discovering, but maybe you need that last piece for your collection, or a
part to fix your prized piece.

In my other hobby of restoring coin-operated arcade games, I've found E-Bay
to be an invaluable resource. It helps me find out what people are willing
to pay for a game, thus setting a pricing range (usually at the upper
limit). It also makes the old game operators think twice before carting
another load of dead games to the landfill. Some games are worth something,
some are not, but most operators will now think twice before junking them.

As more people get involved in a hobby, the demand for items relating to
that hobby increases. It's a fact of life. Anyone see any old Lionel trains
at a garage sale recently? I doubt it. The "I found an N&W J-class for $25
at a garage sale" days are long gone. Those days were long gone before the
home computer user even heard of the Internet. The value of that particular
engine was $1000 in the late eighties.

As more people are exposed to this hobby, from your individual web pages,
newsgroups, mailing lists, and yes, E-Bay, prices for this hobby will rise.
Get used to it, and take a small measure in comfort in the fact that fewer
classic computers will be junked as more people see value in them.

         - Matt

At 07:51 AM 10/25/2001 -0500, you wrote:
>At 07:40 PM 10/24/01 -0700, Sellam Ismail wrote:
> >Everything has some value to some person. What has bugged me, and this
> >community as a whole, for the past several years is the inflation in
> >pricing caused by eBay.
>Wow, now you're speaking for the "community as a whole".
>A quick review of the archives would reveal a number of
>people who aren't "bugged" by eBay.
>This is like blaming the Internet for societal woes.
>The market spoke, and it said, "We need a,
>for there isn't a nation-wide market for the salt-and-pepper
>shaker collections we were unable to unload at the
>rummage sale last Saturday." And the market saw that it
>was good, and that it was one of the few Internet plays
>where a single site made the most sense.
>And never mind the Beanie Baby collectors or the baseball
>card traders, as it turns out there was pent-up unmet
>demand for national and worldwide trading of old computer bits.
>And prices crested, and more old crap came out of the closet,
>and nerds were fulfilled, and prices dropped. All Econ 101
>and nothing to lose sleep about. You might as well blame
>this mailing list or VCF 1.0 for inflated prices due to increased
>awareness - which leads to demand, which leads to higher prices,
>which leads to more people searching, which leads to a glut,
>which leads to lower prices than before.
>Don't fret about Altair prices - tell me why it's nearly
>impossible to sell an old 486, but hoo-boy, you can probably
>rip the old 2x CD-ROM out of it and get $10 on eBay.
>To me, that's *interesting.*
> >I'm sure everyone here at least once heard the words, "...but I can get $X
> >for it on eBay".
> >Luckily, some manner of salvation is on its way in the form of a price
> >guide. No, I'm not writing it, but the person who is will make it known
> >very soon.
>A price guide to eBay prices? Neat!
>As an aside, I'm now writing a book about pottery. After
>writing for and editing computer magazines for years, and
>contributing to a number of computer books, I'm pleasantly
>surprised that my first self-published book will be about
>clay. One of my e-commerce clients, a pottery, has a large
>following of collectors who've never had a guidebook, so
>I'm going to write it.
>Yet even in this backwater collector's realm of one particular
>company's line of reproduction salt glaze pottery, you can
>go to eBay and there will be 100 to 200 of their pieces online at
>any given time. At first, prices changed dramatically.
>One little ten-year-old 5-inch Santa figurine went for $485.
>Go figure. But now prices have fallen, and for many pieces,
>they tend not to be much more than the price you'd find in
>a dealer's shop.
>- John

Matthew Sell
On Time Support, Inc.
(281) 296-6066

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Received on Thu Oct 25 2001 - 09:49:35 BST

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