Price guide for vintage computers

From: Eric Chomko <>
Date: Mon Oct 29 23:49:52 2001

Iggy Drougge wrote:

> 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?

No, other that they are real, and dealing in reality is better than not dealing in

reality. :)

> 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
> far.

You act like you have a choice. Sorry, yes you do. You can boycott it, but not

> 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.

You really DON'T get the time/value of money, do you? If a bank loans someone
money for a period of time, why do it if not for a larger return over time? If you

think that you can get and should get an interest-free loan, then you don't have
any idea about basic economics. Money MUST increase over time or else
no one would ever invest, ever.

> >> >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

Greed or competition?

> 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.

Fine, then do it.

> 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.

But what makes you think it won't? You may not like it but really can't do much,
other than boycott it (or deal with it) about it.

> >> >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?

The guide should be the average prices paid for actual machines.

> >> 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?

It reflects actual prices paid.

> >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. =)

Good, I'm glad it didn't get recycled.

> >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.
> 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.

Education is important, I agree.

> >> 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.

But there IS a market. Go to and look under 'vintage computers"
if you don't believe me.

> >> 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.

You can say anything you want about your systems and your plans for them.

> >> 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,
> >'condition'
> >cannot be overemphasized.
> But price guides have to be updated, and then they will reflect higher prices,

Not necessarily. A true price guide shows dips too.

> 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.

What proof of that do you have?

> >> 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.

Put it in writing when you sell or get rid of your systems.

> >> 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.

I'm telling you what I believe will happen based upon experience in dealing with
collectibles markets. Whether you like it or not doesn't change my prediction. I
be wrong, but I doubt if I am.

> >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
> plastic.

Won't argue with you about collectors, but I'm sure at least one person you
know finds your computer collection "strange."

> It's a philosophical difference between us. I don't like the collecting
> business, since it gets in the way of the hobby itself.

Fine, I neither like it nor dislike it, I simply see it for what it is. I'll meet
the market where it is and for what it is. The 'reality' thing, remember?

> 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
> characteristics.

But not all the time. I still happen to have quite a nice collection of things
I managed t get before a rich kid got them. :)

> >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...

The nice thing about "things" is that even if classic computers goes the way of US

stamps and gets over commeciralized and makes us all sick, there will be something


> >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.

Then the author should be challenged and be forced to change to reflect accurate


> --
> 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 - 23:49:52 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Oct 10 2014 - 23:34:22 BST