Price guide for vintage computers

From: Iggy Drougge <>
Date: Mon Oct 29 21:32:14 2001

Eric Chomko skrev:

>Iggy Drougge wrote:

>> Eric Chomko skrev:
>> >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.

Markets? No, I'm probably not fond of them, is there any reason to like them?
They're ultimately driven by egoism. And I particularly don't wish my hobby to
become market-oriented. I've done fine without any classic computer market so
I don't really see why you should get more for your house than you paid for it
when you bought it. Besides, I hope you don't collect houses for a hobby.

>> >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
>having the same interest, whether you like it or not, it will BECOME a
>competitive market.

Some of us would like our hobbies not to be driven by greed. I want to be able
to play with my old Sinclair without ever thinking of how much food, rent or
current computer equipment I might get if I sold it. I'd prefer if it remained
neutral in its value, or valued only be me and my fellow collector.
Besides, I don't like collectors or collecting markets. I think filatelists,
toy collectors, comic book nerds, guitar collectors and the rest are rather
sad. They collect for the sake of collecting, and there are mags and price
guides and newsgroups, all relating to what is essentially old junk collected
by a small community of nerds, some of which happen to have deeper pockets
than others and little appreciation of the actual value of the pieces of paper
or dolls which they're collecting. It's a superficial form of collecting which
thankfully doesn't seem to have penetrated the classiccmp community yet.

>> >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 see that it becomes a big-time auction or the like.

Well, that's sad. And I feel sorry for people who are so interested in the
exclusivity of getting an Apple I and won't settle for a replica.
But all right, how many Apple ones are there? Two? Three? Zero? They're of no
consequence whatsoever to the absolute majority of collectors.
Would the price guide just contain Apple Is, PDP-1s and ENIACs? In that case,
let Paul Allen and Steve Jobs have it. And send some to the scrappers, too.
But if it's going to be of real-world use, it will contain lists of the
computers which some of us who are lucky enough get cheaply. And if they
contain those prices, what use will the price guide be? To tell people that
old computers are worth little money?

>> 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.

And what purpose would a price guide serve in this case?

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

Been there, done that. =)

>> >> 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 would!

Guess where I got mine - the scrap yard. =)

>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

Nor will they be when they learn that people won't pay more than scrap value.
We should concentrate on getting people to understand that there may be better
homes for their old computers than the scrap yards instead of telling epople
how much to ask for things they no longer want.

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

>Who is worried?

You're worried about the lack of a market, I'm worried about you.

>> 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.

But I say any profit is superfluous.

>> 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 and some agree-upon conditional standard. Speaking of
>"condition'; based upon my experience with collecting coins, sports cards and
>dabbling with stamps and books,
>cannot be overemphasized.

But price guides have to be updated, and then they will reflect higher prices,
giving people yet higher expectations. Price guides are a driving force in a
collecting business. With price guides come dealers who will ask what's in the
price guide, or more, and they will get to the nice things before we do, and
we'll be at their mercy.

>> 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 you."

Since I have no financial stake in my collection, I'd rather it be inherited
by someone of the same spirit. They'll certainly appreciate the condition, but
not because of its financial value.

>> 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 number 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 messenger!

You're not the messenger, you're the agitator.

>As stated I am a collector of other things. I have a pretty nice baeball card
>and football
>(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.

And I've been collecting toys in a previous life, and have a big collection of
comics. I witnessed the commercialisation of the toy business, and I've seen
comic book "collectors", the kind who keep their books in anti-acid plastic
bags. Sad gits are what they are, they should read them, not lock them up in
It's a philosophical difference between us. I don't like the collecting
business, since it gets in the way of the hobby itself.
It's a bit like the collectable card games. Suddenly, the rich kid is always
the winner. Not because of craftiness at putting together a deck, but because
he can go to a card shop and buy individual cards with the right

>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 Greeks' 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 markets then, but not
>anymnore. Was that good or bad? Really doesn't matter in that price guiides
>came out and there was nothing anyone could do about it. Stop collecting
>because of it? Maybe, I'm sure some actually did.

I bailed out of the toys...

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

At least that is a really "free" market. Price guides will just cement
whatever is deemed as appropriate by the author.

En ligne avec Thor 2.6a.
Georgie beundrade stor?gt sin pappa som med v?ldsamma slag gick l?s p? det
stora tr?det. Han badade i svett, och den muskul?sa kroppen bl?nkte i
solskenet. Hon ?lskade honom.
    Lady Georgie, TMS 1983
Received on Mon Oct 29 2001 - 21:32:14 GMT

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