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Thread: What is the vintage 286/386/486 market like these days?

  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Unknown_K View Post
    I was wondering how the market for old AT class machines is doing.

    Spring is here and I should do some downsizing and was wondering if people pay a premium for complete systems these days or if parts are the best way to go. I have complete systems and also motherboards, cards, HDs, cases etc. No need for all the extras since the ones I use seem reliable enough (and I am out of space).

    The stuff I have been collecting lately is 2000 era so I don't know whats going on with the older stuff.
    So on a 286 note...

    This thread started almost at the same time (within 5 days time).

    https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=66396

    The reason I link that is what can a 286 really be used for? Well, I mainly buy 286 models for games and just to make them work again if possible. 286 machines usually come in wonderful classic cases that I love. This is what I have paid in the past and what my max dollar amount would be if that helps. Although, I have frozen my wallet currently until I liquidate my current collection.

    A slow model like this one I restored many moons ago (ITT Xtra XP - 286 6MHz, 640K, dual 360K floppy) is great because it can flip between XT speeds and a slow 286 so very early gaming (what most people would use them for) is not much of an issue. I paid $50 for just the barebone system untested on Ebay and had to source the ITT keyboard elsewhere. I was lucky on obtaining the proper model keyboard as a trading partner of mine had one in his inventory and gave it to me for free. Normally I would have paid $40-$50 for the matching keyboard as long as it had no missing keys or major damage. If the system had the keyboard as well I would have easily paid $80 to $100 for the system in good condition like this. Maybe a little more like $120 if in mint condition, but like I said, I buy these to restore them back to their glory years so I feel I paid exactly what it was worth.

    ittxtrapp2.jpg

    I paid $75 for this NEC Powermate Portable APC IV (286 10MHz, 640K, 20MB MFM, single 720K floppy) which was listed on Craigslist and also drove four hours round trip to obtain it. The price was excellent as this system was near mint and had all the original docs and software including the original box. It needed very little work and the was only lightly used in its life. If I didn't have to drive I would pay $100-$150 for a system like this in that condition. That is because it's a unique portable that is not easy to find in that condition. I did have to eventually replace two leaking capacitors in the keyboard when it stopped working, but otherwise has been trouble free.

    Powrmatevania.jpg

    The last 286 I picked up was also a Craigslist listing and was part of a large lot of computers. The lot had about ten computers mostly from the 1990s to the early 00s. Most of those systems got parted out or recycled. I literally bought the entire lot for the one 286. The lot cost me $80. I love those large industrial style AT desktop cases. It needed extensive cleaning, but everything worked without any repairs needed. The 40MB MFM drive even low level formatted without any errors. Lucky find. So considering I bought this lot for $80 just for that 286 12MHz, 640K, 40MB MFM system that was a price I could live with. It was just the system with no keyboard, mouse or monitor and was missing the MFM controller and video display adapter which I had to add. Ignore the improper era peripherals attached to it in the photo. I was just happy to get it working nicely with a demoscene demo playing on it.

    286-12_restored.jpg

    So this is what I pay. 286 systems are just a curiosity to me since I was using Amiga and Atari systems back in those days. Hope this helps you get a better idea on pricing. I think a lot of buyers looking for a 286 are looking for two things. Something they can fix up and/or unique looks or at least that's what I am looking for.
    Last edited by liqmat; April 18th, 2019 at 07:10 AM.

  2. #22
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    Shipping on the big cases is a killer. I lugged out an AT-sized 486 system yesterday to check up on some work that I'd done years ago. Egad, I forgot how heavy the thing was--and this was with a 3.5" SCSI disk drive! A FH 5.25" one would be even heavier.

  3. #23

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    Hey Chuck,

    I actually have been using Parcelmonkey.com for domestic and shipping to Europe on the heavy stuff. They are just a shipping broker, but man, their shipping rates are usually much cheaper than using the shippers direct. I just shipped a heavy box of parts from VT to CO and what would have been $60 via any of the shipping services was a little under $24 FedEx using Parclemonkey rates. They are not any better, in my experience, when shipping to Asia. I just end up using USPS for that.

  4. #24
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    I've shipped very large (i.e. palletized) things using the local PakMail facility. Cheaper than one-off-customer LTOL freight and a whole lot more friendly. I'll investigate ParcelMonkey when I next have the need.

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