Estimated Price Of A "Classic" PDP-8?

From: Doc Shipley <>
Date: Mon Jan 26 00:28:24 2004

On Jan 26, 2004, at 12:01 AM, Vintage Computer Festival wrote:
> On Sun, 25 Jan 2004, Doc Shipley wrote:
>> Not necessarily true. I got T-boned in an intersection, totalling
>> my
>> car, a few years ago, and the only thing the other driver's insurance
>> didn't fight over was the value of the laptop that got hurled off the
>> back seat. Not only was the thing (a Sharp 8700) not documented, but
>> I
>> had built it from 2 dead units and I think I had $250 or so invested
>> in
>> it. I told the adjuster what it was worth based on the cost to
>> replace
>> it, and that I couldn't find the receipts (true) and they accepted my
>> appraisal without argument.
> It's not a good comparison, because in this case a laptop is a known
> commodity with a pretty fixed value, and that value can be understood
> in
> the very least by an insurance adjuster who probably uses one. When my
> house got broken in to, I claimed the replacement value of my 1998
> Compaq
> Presario 200Mhz laptop with no battery based on what a typical laptop
> of
> today would cost and the insurance didn't bat an eye.


   Ok, forget the laptop! I never meant to compare the ease of
appraisal of a semi-current PC to that of a PDP-8. I simply wanted to
illustrate that in an accident where the insurance company is the agent
of a tangible party who is demonstrably at fault, they almost *never*
argue about anything they can't look up in a blue-book. They know very
well that even if they "win" a dispute over the value of damaged
property, the fact that they disputed that "trivial" evaluation can
come back to bite them in the larger issues, which are the intangible

> A PDP-8 is a historical item, and assigning a value is a wholly
> different
> thing. It can't be valued like a laptop because compared to modern
> hardware it has depreciated to the point of being worth whatever scrap
> value it contains. If it is to be valued as a historic item, then
> first
> you must prove that it is indeed historic and therefore has an
> equivalent
> monetary value. Then you'd have to come up with a value based on hard
> (or at least very convincing) figures from previous sales.

   This can only benefit the injured party in this case. PDP-8
components come up often enough on eBay, and sell, to demonstrate
salability and intrinsic value. Anybody with access to this list can
easily come up with reasonably recent examples of equipment sales, and
most will be documented to some extent. Anybody with access to your
print library can show at least a couple of fairly recent (and
generous) published valuations of like hardware.

> This will be a challenge but not impossible. There are enough
> indicators
> to be able to value this at some level that the insurance company will
> definitely want to wrangle over it (and they will, based on what I
> think a
> PDP-8 is worth).

   The big issue isn't going to be getting paid, but finding a
replacement at any price.

Received on Mon Jan 26 2004 - 00:28:24 GMT

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