Valuing classic computers, was re: eBay sniping

From: Hans B Pufal <>
Date: Fri Apr 25 04:37:00 2003

Vintage Computer Festival wrote:

> There has to be an objective value based on
> true scarcity (i.e. how many total units produced), not regional
> scarcity, and generally acknowledged historical and/or technical
> significance. eBay prices do not generally reflect objective value.

Why does there have to be an objective value? There are far too many
variables to provide any sort of meaningful value, you cite some such as
regional scarcity etc but there are also others such as the physical
state of the item in question, its configuration, what comes with it in
terms of documentation etc, the availability of such documentation if
not included with the item, transport costs, number of people interested.

All these factors play a role and that is why I think eBay prices DO
reflect market value. eBay provides an almost perfect global marketplace
and in such an environment prices will fluctuate around a "market value".

If you as a buyer feel the prices are too high then that simply means
there are people around who consider the value of those items to be
higher than you do. I might as well gripe about the exhorbitant prices
charged for BMW cars, I might be willing to pay say $10,000 for one yet
the "market" price can be as high as $100,000, does my griping change

> I think Michael Nadeau's book made great strides towards this end, but
> refinement is still needed.

Not having had the opportunity to see a copy I cannot comment, but
without denigrating his good work, I would question the real world
relevance of any value placed on any particular machine at a particular
moment in time.

> To be sure, prices for old computers will still not settle in the near
> future.

And probably never will, it is a fluid, ever developing market as items
come up for sale and collectors join and leave the community.

   -- hbp
Received on Fri Apr 25 2003 - 04:37:00 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Oct 10 2014 - 23:35:45 BST