Price guide for vintage computers

From: Iggy Drougge <>
Date: Tue Oct 30 10:01:43 2001

Eric Chomko skrev:

>Iggy Drougge wrote:

>> Eric Chomko skrev:
>> >Iggy Drougge wrote:
>> >> 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. :)

Is that 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 far.

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

What do you call a self-fulfilling prophecy in English?

>> 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?

Well, that's the raison d'?tre of a bank. But not of computer collecting.

>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.

Why not? Investing in a house gives you roof over the head. That's a fine
investment IMO.

>> >> 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?

Hopefully neither. =)

>> 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.

But in a market-driven collecting craze, I might not be able to do so. At
least not if I'm going to play with anything but the C64 or the Spectrum.

>> 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.

Your point being? Can't we discuss whether we like it or not instead of
whether it will happen? If it is inevitable, it certainly doesn't need any
evangelists (i e you).

>> >> 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.

I repeat my question.

>> >> 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.

So am I. But no price guide in the world would change that.
People (or rather companies, institutions and governing bodies) are throwing
out machines running at several hundred MHz right now. They end up at the
junkyard, or are bought from the scrappers by greedy dealers. They have a very
obvious market value.
So if they throw out things only a few years old, with actual aftermarket
value, what is going to persuade them not to throw away equipment which is
over ten years old? No price guide in the world will do that, and probably not
information campaign either.

>> >> 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.

I know, I've been there, I've even shopped on eBay on occasion. And it's a
market which seems quite healthy without any price guides.

>> >> 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.

I don't disagree that you should be able to get your "investment" back when
you sell off your old computers, if they were bought old, and you didn't pay
an exaggerated price, but why should you get anything above the price you
paid? Because you're worth it?

>> >> 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.

That certainly doesn't seem like an interesting price guide. After all people,
want to get a profit on their investments.

>> 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?

Only experience.

>> >> 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 other collectibles markets. Whether you like it or not doesn't change my
>prediction. I could be wrong, but I doubt if I am.

I'm telling you it will happen, too, especially when there is a price guide.
And I don't like it one bit. For some reason, you seem to like it. Why? Are
you a masochist?

>> >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."

So let them. Sad gits are what they are. =)

>> 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,

Oh, but you seem hell-bent on meeting the market whether it exists or not, and
you seem quite enthusiastic about it.

>> 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 that I managed t get before a rich kid got them. :)

IOW before the collecting/investment craze.

>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

Now you're sounding like someone who's just lost his girlfriend.

>> >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 prices.

No, he should be castrated and hung upside down outside Microsoft

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Received on Tue Oct 30 2001 - 10:01:43 GMT

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