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Thread: How much are old computers worth to you?

  1. #11
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    Oct 2008
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    Pretty much nothing, though that doesn't mean I have arbitrary limits on what I will pay money for as opposed to what I'll insist on finding cheap/free.
    While I give them some sentimental value to not kick them around the room and damage them I typically do not factor the cost of purchasing or labor to keep them working.
    = Excellent space heater

  2. #12
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    Sep 2016
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    For me it depends on the computer but the most I've spent on one was $150 for an exceptionally nice 5150 with all the boxes, manuals, etc. XT through 486 machines I usually pay between $20 and $75 depending on what it is. Pentium 1-3 machines usually $10-15 and I usually just resell those for $30 or 40 after I make sure they're working well and I wipe the drives. I've sold a few computers recently and XT's seem to bring a little over $100 and 286, 386, and 486 machines are usually $75 or less

  3. #13

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    I got into this hobby long before the PCs became "retro" because I wanted a cheap computer I could do the most basic of computing tasks with at the time, and play my "old" now "classic" DOS games on. Back then I rarely paid over $15 for anything let alone $50 or $100.

    The prices started going up on PC/XT class stuff in the mid 2000s, or anything name brand, that's when I started splurging more.....$36 on my current 286, $70 incl. Shipping on my Compaq DeskPro 386, $45 on my XT clone. And I thought that was high then.

    Now people won't even bat an eye at over $100 for a lot of the stuff I was paying lunch money for in the 2000s when I was the Administrator of "Doorstops", the Dinosaur systems admin, or the boat anchor pilot. Because you're not finding thrift shops with their own mini "Computer Reset" in the electronics section anymore. Now it's all stuff with the CPU bugs Intel is warning us about.

    So as one toying with the idea of a $300+ trip to Texas or putting a ZCM-1490 on credit.....I've just accepted it's no longer cheap and have decided to just tweak and build for the 4 vintage boxes I already have rather than go through the logistical nightmare 32 vintage PCs brings. And YBH I did us a great service saving those by selling them to collectors at prices I consider fair (around $50ish, tested and upgraded) - somewhere out there my old babies live on getting used by someone else. I still don't think over $100 is all that great, but considering the scarcity of 8088-80486 based PC these days, I do sort of get it.

  4. #14
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    Depends on what I needs them for. If I can't use them for anything, they're landfill.

  5. #15
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    The most I've ever spent on a single item was $300 for a 5161 expansion unit + sender/receiver card + cable. I'd wanted one for decades and managed to point out to an ebay seller what he actually had and worked out a deal (he was originally selling only the 5161 unit by itself). He got extra money, and I got a good item that I use every week; we both won.

    That's my limit, and it needs to be something I've really coveted for many years. For example, I don't have a real Olivetti M24 yet, and for an Olivetti-branded cpu+keyboard+monitor, I'd definitely offer up to $300.

    I don't collect late 90's beige boxen or later -- everything that runs on Windows 9x can run just fine in a VM (including D3D games) so I don't see the point.
    Offering a bounty for:
    - The software "Overhead Express" (doesn't have to be original, can be a copy)
    - A working Sanyo MBC-775, Olivetti M24, or Logabax 1600
    - Music Construction Set, IBM Music Feature edition (has red sticker on front stating IBM Music Feature)

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Prices on a lot of things have skyrocketed the last couple of years. I keep joking that if the price of toilet paper goes up any more, it will be cheaper to wipe our butts with dollar bills.

    Anyway, the stuff I have collected is more about history, and sometimes the ability to run odd pieces of utility other productivity software.

    Of course there are many factors to consider when placing an actual price on something. This includes condition, make/model, what is installed in the unit, completeness, and much more.

    Over all I'd agree "$100" for a typical condition XT/AT system seems reasonable. But things like a tested working hard drive, particular name brand, excellent condition, interesting expansion cards, or certain kinds of keyboards, can drive up the price.

    But when you consider that will only buy perhaps a dozen or so large packs of TP.... uhg.

  7. #17
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    So reading RedRacers comment about reselling made me think about changing up the OPs question a bit, and that's how much you'd pay for a system under the assumption they were worth nothing in resale? Basically meaning items you have no intention to resell and you would likely die with. It's possible my amounts earlier are lower than others because i rarely sell off anything, and it's only stuff I've gotten with other stuff I've wanted (like a coco 2 i got with my model 4). I think that might clarify if you're really into this hobby as a regular hobby or as a investment hobby.
    -- Brian

    Systems: Amstad PCW 8256, Apple IIe/II+/Mac+/Mac 512k, Atari 800/520STFM, Commodore 64/Amiga 3000/PET 4032/SX-64, IBM PS/1 2121-B82, Kaypro II, Osborne 1, Tandy 1000 SX, TI-99/4A, TRS-80 Model 4 GA

  8. #18
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    I tend to expect that I won't get anything on resale. That has kept me from buying items that I intend on using briefly and then disposing of. Most of these scarce items are being sold for several hundred dollars at a minimum which is a lot for a few days exploration.

  9. #19
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    I usually don't buy systems purely to resell unless they're really cheap and I have one already. I usually buy stuff with the intention of keeping it a long time but I almost always end up getting tired of it or running out of space and selling it after a few months to a few years. Not in it for the money but I usually only buy computers that I could resell for at least what I paid so I'll be able to fund future purchases

  10. #20
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    Jun 2015
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    Sioux Falls SD
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    I don't really keep track of total expenditures. I have bought stuff and sold some after it was fully functioning, only to use the money to buy more iffy items. Lately, the TRS-80 market on ebay seems to be very over-priced, and so I've been turning to other hobbies. I've spent over $300 for some items, and have regretted a few of them. I have passed on some that were free or almost free, due to a total lack of interest.

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