IBM mainframe goes for 99 cents

From: Ethan Dicks <>
Date: Fri Feb 25 14:43:58 2005

On Fri, 25 Feb 2005 03:01:44 -0600, David H. Barr <> wrote:
> A PC part is worth roughly 1/100th of it's value over about a 10-12
> year time frame, provided it doesn't assume Collector Status (TM).
> This is Dave's Rough Estimate (TM), but it seems to hold true, at
> least anecdotally.

I have been using that same rough guide (1% after 10 years) for 20+
years, from Micro stuff on up to DEC minis, etc.

But the "collector status" is only part of the tail end of the
graph... obviously, when it's rare, it's value rises, but I also saw a
certain upturn (few percent) simply from people looking for
replacement-in-kind while the items in question were still in some
use. Specifically with DEC stuff, a year or two after an item came
out, it was possible to get it from a 3rd party reseller for on the
order of 10%-20% less than MSRP for a while, then the price would
slowly drift down as it was no longer the hot item. The price would
tank when DEC dropped the item (admitting that not many people at all
wanted it). Things would bottom out around 1% around 10 years after
the item originally came out, then it would drift up to maybe 5%-10%
of original MSRP and hang there for a long time as people would be
scavenging old units to keep things in repair. Finally, it would be
just too difficult to find any items past 15-20 years because they
were all on the shelf as spares, or junked.

In short, because of the changing nature of the demand over a 20-year
span, the price describes a "bathtub curve", with the bottom of the
bathtub at 1%.

Yes... I have been thinking about prices/availability of this sort of
stuff for over 20 years.

Received on Fri Feb 25 2005 - 14:43:58 GMT

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