Price guide for vintage computers

From: Eric Chomko <>
Date: Mon Oct 29 12:18:29 2001

Iggy Drougge wrote:

> Eric Chomko skrev:
> >Ernest wrote:
> >> Has anyone considered that creating a price guide might do more harm than
> >> good. What do you think that thrift shops (for example) would do if they
> >> had a price guide? Jack their prices up to match most likely, on items that
> >> they
> >Price guides don't buy or see things, people do. If the thift shop or anyone
> >else for that matter marks something and nobody buys it, then the guide is
> >wrong.
> >The guide is just a guide, it's goal is to be accurate not allow you to buy
> >things
> >cheaply or have someone else sell too high.
> I've seen what price guides have done to other markets. They've establisheda
> branch of dealers who are in it for the money. I don't like that.

Is that because this is your hobby or are you adverse to markets all together?
I wish my house didn't cost me as much as it did either. But on the same token
when I go to sell, I'll be happy that an actual market exists all the same. And
hopefully I'll be able to sell it for more than I paid for it.

> >> might have sold for less if they didn't know better. I guess my point is
> >> that having a price guide available online might lead to higher prices. I
> >Is that so bad? Don't you want your collection to go up in value?
> Why would I want that? It's a collection of old computers, not an investment.

Why can't it be both? And what makes you think that collecting INHERENTLY
isn't an investment? I mean given the nature of collecting things and others
the same interest, whether you like it or not, it will BECOME a competitive

> >> was able to buy a valiant turtle robot for a fraction of what it was worth
> >> because the seller had no idea of it's value. Every collector has similar
> >> stories, and while those things would still happen from time to time, a
> >> price guide would certainly reduce the chances -especially with software.
> >> If
> >So you would rather keep people naive so you can get better deals? Any true
> >market has a buy/sell spread. Why would you want to prevent classic computers
> >from being a real market?
> Why would I want a market? My market is the fleamarket. Classic computers are

At one level its a flea market, but go out and try to buy an Apple I. You will
that it becomes a big-time auction or the like.

> junk to most people, and since there is no real financial value in the market
> even now, why would anyone desire to artifically induce higher prices?

I am not talking about artificial prices. That's bunk. I am speaking of real
values. Check the value of the IMSAIs, Altairs and other systems of that
era on eBay over the last year. Several complete, clean and otherwise nice
systems have fetched several thousands of dollars. I'd hardly call that a
flea market.

Now a Commodore 64 is a flea market item, especially if you have to get
a power supply from a separate deal.

> >> the price guide lists certain things as rare and more valueable, then the
> >> seller will likely jack up his asking price. On the other hand, what if the
> >> seller had no idea? The chances are better for collectors to get a "good"
> >> deal. It's just something to consider.
> >One day your collectionwill be sold off, as you can't take it with you. Don't
> >you want to get the most from your collection/investment?
> I'm not as greedy as some people. If I got my VAX cheaply, so should others.

I won't argue that one way or the other. I have seen Vaxes end up in the hands
of scrap dealers too. Certainly you would hope that the value of a Vax is more
than scrap if for no other reason for it NOT to end up recycled. I sure as heck

The source from where you got your system appreciated old systems and wanted
it to go to a good home. Most businesses/agencies/schools aren't so appreciative.

> So I don't try to get as much as possible, only what's a nice price.

That makes perfect sense. Heck, part of collecting is getting something at
good price just to see it go up in value, and the story in many ways is more
interesting than the piece or system itself. When people become dealers
of antiques and the like, they claim that they are able to part with items
the memories of ownership and the stories associated with buying and selling
Most are NOT strictly in it for the money as the money is really not that good.

> Since there is a computer collecting community, what is there to worry about?

Who is worried?

> If you've paid a nice price, there's no reason why you shouldn't get your
> "investment" back when someone else on this list buys it off you, is there?

I never claimed otherwise.

> Price guides and market thinking will just make people greedy, thinking that
> they didn't get the best possible deal (is that so bloody important?) and

The true aim of a price guide is not to allow someone to dictate prices. A price
guide should literally reflect actually paid prices for items based upon averages
some agree-upon conditional standard. Speaking of "condition'; based upon my
with collecting coins, sports cards and dabbling with stamps and books,
cannot be overemphasized.

> establish a market for dealers who will get to the surplus shops, fleamarkets,
> giveaways and junkyards before us.
> I have no financial stake in my collection, it's for fun, not investment.

Someone that inherits it one day will be very pleased that you kept it in nice
condition. There is an old saying about collectibles, "you can't take it with

> There are a lot of options in case you're looking for investments, and they
> require neither floor space nor electricity.

But you act like you can stop it! The turnover rate of computer systems and the
of old ones lying around coupled with demand for them, will INHERENTLY create
this market. What I am saying is, "ready or not here its is!' Don't shoot the

As stated I am a collector of other things. I have a pretty nice baeball card and
(American) card and even basketball card collections. Been at it for years. I do
a ltlle selling
on the side to assist with bigger buys. I also have been collecting US and world
coins for
most of my adult life. I have attend shows and assisted on many a bourse floors
over the
past 18 years.

What I am saying is that the conversation we are having (have a price guide not
have a
price guide), has been done may times before. When the Romans collected the
coins 2000 years ago, I am certain the thought of a price guide upset some and
pleased others.
Same with baseball cards in the 1970s. You could buy them in yard sales and flea
then, but not anymnore. Was that good or bad? Really doesn't matter in that price
came out and there was nothing anyone could do about it. Stop collecting because
of it?
Maybe, I'm sure some actually did.

You're better off trying to get Ebay and Yahoo to remove the 'vintage' tag on
computer hardware category as that has legitimized the market more than anything
else at
this point. But good luck succeeding with that!


> --
> En ligne avec Thor 2.6a.
> SCSI is *NOT* magic. There are *fundamental technical
> reasons* why it is necessary to sacrifice a young goat
> to your SCSI chain now and then. -- John Woods
Received on Mon Oct 29 2001 - 12:18:29 GMT

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