This just makes me really SICK

From: Vintage Computer Festival <>
Date: Sun Jan 18 17:41:31 2004

On Sun, 18 Jan 2004, Teo Zenios wrote:

> Any long term hobby I have ever seen depends on hobbyists and dealers they
> feed on each other. If a guy can make a few bucks on the side saving and
> storing computers he will do it, this allows the collector to be able to
> find people with equipment to keep his hobby going. If there wasn't a market

This hobby is somewhat unique in that for the most part dealers really
don't have a necessary place in it. One can do just fine (and I know many
people who did and do) simply putting in the sometimes minimal effort it
takes to dig up some nice old computer for their collection.

> for corvette parts I wouldn't be able to keep mine running. I don't mind
> people making a few bucks from any hobby I ever got into because without
> them there is absolutely no motivation for people "not into" the hobby to
> keep from throwing things out.

Agreed, and as one can go to a dealer to find a missing part for their
Corvette, one can also as easily go to a scrap yard or look through car
trader papers to find the part they need as well. It just depends on how
much time you want to put into it. Dealers can make things easier, but
they don't necessarily make the impossible possible.

> Any hobby goes through a phase where prices go from low to crazy levels
> followed by the cashout and implosion of pricing. But what you are left with
> is a stable group of collectors, reasonable prices, large amounts of
> collectable material that was dug out during the boom, lots of
> documentation, a set of grading outlines used by everyone, and documented
> dealers who stock the stuff your looking for and you know where to find
> them. Having a catalog published makes life allot easier for people just
> starting out in their hobby.

We'll see. Computer collecting hasn't really followed that scenario. The
hobby has been stable before and after the stock market boom, and none of
the structure you mention has been put in place. Efforts have been made
(the Vintage Computer Marketplace is one step in that direction, though
more to connect buyer with seller and do away with the need for the
"middle man", i.e. the Internet is the middleman) but as far as refining
this hobby in terms of dealers stocked with the specific parts you're
looking for, I don't see that happening. Maybe for specific machines
(DEC) or being able to offer general items as they come in, but nothing
like you have with the classic automotive enthusiast.

But I see this as going from hobby to important academic pursuit rather
than to just a favored pastime (as, say, cars have done).

> You mentioned $500 c64's (assuming you meant on ebay) and how people toss
> them away when they cant get that much out of them. I purchased a c64, c128
> on ebay for my collection and paid maybe 30-50 for each with quite a bit of
> other hardware and accessories. You can look on ebay every day and find
> reasonable (meaning somebody taking the time to dig an item out, clean it,
> test it as working or not, take a picture, and pay ebay its cut) prices on
> these items unlike the Vintage Computer Marketplace the only 1541 disk drive
> is listed for $50.

Yeah, we got our share of nincompoops too (and we're working on ways to
weed out that sort of thing), but in terms of volume of overpriced crap,
eBay reigns.

> Supply and demand from collectors looking at their
> checkbooks on a specific day decide what is overpriced and what is a deal,

Yes, it is still a hobby afterall.

> experts can only use their knowledge of the subject to give reasonable
> guesses at the time of publication what something is worth and which models
> are worth more then others.

Which is why good price guides give ranges and are periodically and
regularly updated.

> If items sell for more then you think they are
> worth then you just don't want it as bad as somebody else does.

True. And equally true, the selling price may also reflect ignorance on
the part of the buyer.

> I have dumped a few dollars into my collection (haven't added it up don't
> want to either) and have no plan on selling any of it at this time (and I
> don't regret the expense either).

Me niether. Except when it's 11pm and I'm trying to pull that last pallet
off the loading dock and I'm tired and dirty and I still have one more
load to go. Regret is a funny.

Sellam Ismail                                        Vintage Computer Festival
International Man of Intrigue and Danger      
[ Old computing resources for business || Buy/Sell/Trade Vintage Computers   ]
[ and academia at  || at  ]
Received on Sun Jan 18 2004 - 17:41:31 GMT

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