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Thread: Thing the herd

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Thing the herd

    Have been thinking of starting another crazy project and in order to do that need to develop some cash! With that in mind have given some thought to maybe selling one of my PDP-11 systems.
    I have two different systems. A PDP-11/23 thatís all set up and working with a RL drive, CDC open reel tape drive all installed in a DEC rack with the DEC power controller and all the blank panels. This would come with a system disk with RT-11 and all the DEC utilities that come with it along with a bunch of spares including a second 11/23 chassis and just for fun would throw in a Micro Vax II if you decided you want to go the Unix rout.
    Also have a 11/34 set up with dual RL drives (RL-01 and 02) thatís in the original DEC rack with power controller and as with the 11/23 its all set up and working. Same deal with it in terms of a spare unit and lots of parts.
    You can see videos of the systems in operation, the 11/23 at:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWnjuLS6jxI

    or the 11/34 at:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVIkWoX8IwM

    Looking at EBay see that the price of these systems are crazy right now and donít have a good idea what I would be able to sell a complete working system for, or if I would be better selling the 11/23 or the 34.
    The 11/23 has the advantage of being easy to maintain and relatively easy to support in terms of finding replacement components. Would speculate that system can be kept running forever with the spares that I have and do like the tape transport. But the 34 has the benefit of being a Unibus system somehow more fun to use. Just did finish setting up a VT-100 terminal for use with the 34 and somehow running that with that terminal has a cretin charm.
    Keeping in mind that these are complete working systems with software and all the service material would like to maybe try to develop some realistic idea of the value and also maybe get the groups feelings as to if you were going to sell one of your systems what one would sell? One thing I have decided is that I am in no way interested in braking up the systems and selling them as parts. You know how it is; you get attached to these things. At this point feel that they are worth over a thousand dollars each but not the crazy money you see on EBay.
    Another idea may be donating one of the systems to a museum if any were interested? Donít know just how you would go about getting the systems evaluated for tax credit and how that would work out but if the value were there I would much rather do that then the huge amount of money I have to give the IRS each year.
    What are your thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Default

    Just sent you a PM

  3. #3
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    Not a whole lot of response? Would have thought just about everyone has an idea what stuff is worth and what may be a guide for developing prices. Looks like I was wrong.
    One option is how much was spent originally and maybe adding up all the component prices, don’t know how realistic that is in as much as items were collected over years and would be selling as complete systems. Think at the end of the day I will be looking at completed sales over on EBay and doing some number below that.

  4. #4
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    I suppose its a bit like the classic car market

    I have a 32 year old Porsche and its value is almost impossible to determine without actually selling it. Its only worth what someone is prepared to pay on the day.
    Current fleet
    TRS80 Model 4 - BBC B - Tatung Einstein - PCW9512 - PET 3032 - C64 - ZX81 - Spectrum 48K - Amiga A500 - VAX 3100,3300,4000VLC & 4000 Model 96 - Apple II europlus - Apple iMAC G3. Sharp MZ-80K. - DEC Micro PDP 11/73 - IBM 5160 XT - Multibus 286/10.

  5. #5
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    Sure look like thatís the case, think for now will table the idea. The real problem is that it appears that sometimes we have one set of prices that we use amongst ourselves and another inflated value that we tell the world. Have a funny feeling that before itís all said and done may end up donating the stuff to a museum in the hope of trying to keep it together, but you never know because a lot of stuff I have bought was from sales at such places.
    Maybe work on selling some of the parts systems I have, the big issue with that is we donít have an easy way of selling hardware other then on line. Use to have things like the Trenton Computer Fest that decades ago had parking lot sales like a Ham fest but years ago I went to that and it was just a shadow of what it had once been with what vendors they had selling modern crap. Info Age up in NJ has there annual thing but that donít appear geared to selling beyond whatís in there small vendor room.

  6. #6
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    If these items were located within driving distance of me I would be interested in the 11/34 system. (I already have enough Q-Bus systems, and the only Unibus system I currently have is an 11/84). One major issue with complete systems in racks is always the shipping challenge if the distance is too far for local pickup. The shipping costs may be too high relative to the overall value of the system for most buyers.

    As a current example here's a MicroVAX 3400 in a BA213 chassis ending tomorrow for a reasonable price of $200, but listed as pickup only in Amesbury, MA. Maybe it won't sell at that price because of local pickup or trying to arrange for shipping hassles.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Dig...0/392816509441

  7. #7

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    Qbus,

    Like gslick, I am Qbus rich and Unibus poor, and very much interested in the 11/34. I can assure you that I have no intent of parting a working system. I'm more than happy to take care of freight and shipping if you just pack it securely, and pay a fair price for it, and will do my best to keep it running for as long as I can. I even have a VT101 working and unused and ready to recreate the charm you spoke of

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by gslick View Post
    If these items were located within driving distance of me I would be interested in the 11/34 system. (I already have enough Q-Bus systems, and the only Unibus system I currently have is an 11/84). One major issue with complete systems in racks is always the shipping challenge if the distance is too far for local pickup. The shipping costs may be too high relative to the overall value of the system for most buyers.

    As a current example here's a MicroVAX 3400 in a BA213 chassis ending tomorrow for a reasonable price of $200, but listed as pickup only in Amesbury, MA. Maybe it won't sell at that price because of local pickup or trying to arrange for shipping hassles.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Dig...0/392816509441
    I can second this observation. In my experience, stuff doesn't sell all that high or at all sometimes, if it's local pick up only. I've noticed that if it's being shipped, the bids will go up. Although that DEC LINC-8 earlier this month went for $17,000 and it was local pick up only, so there can be outliers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Qbus View Post
    Not a whole lot of response? Would have thought just about everyone has an idea what stuff is worth and what may be a guide for developing prices. Looks like I was wrong.
    One option is how much was spent originally and maybe adding up all the component prices, donít know how realistic that is in as much as items were collected over years and would be selling as complete systems. Think at the end of the day I will be looking at completed sales over on EBay and doing some number below that.
    To be honest you could argue that eBay has become that guide, albeit with the shipping/local pick-up dynamic that goes on. Been in countless antique stores and flea markets in multiple states and noticed plenty of what we could call "eBay prices." I used to have a computer show near me and haven't seen it again for years, just shows you how online has supplanted that venue (and commoditization). Outside of eBay, it's like what Gary said, value is hard to determine beforehand. And what someone is willing to pay goes without saying.
    Collector of all things Digital, but mostly VAXes and corporate knick-knacks (books, mugs, etc).
    VAXes: VAX 4000-100A, VAXstation 3100-30, VAXserver 3100, VAXstation 4000 VLC
    Randoms: DECpc LPv+, Rainbow 100B, DECbridge 90, DECserver 300

  9. #9
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    After looking it over and considering the options I am going to assume that the Qbus system with tape transport, RL and everything else only has around $750.00 to maybe $1,000.00 on a good day, maybe less on a bad one. The 11/34 system with the dual drives is a true Unibus system but not a “Blinkey light and Switch” system so going to call that $1,000.00 to maybe $1,500.00
    At this point it is not worth the aggravation of selling, if anything maybe I will sell off some of the parts like RX drives and stuff like that are lying around hear. Couple year’s back I built up a couple simple Qbus frames with a power supply, 8186, memory and a SLU and sold them on EBay along with a disk of Qbus manuals and the PDP-GUI and those both sold good money and were easy to ship so maybe I can throw a couple more of them together.

    Think the problem is sometimes you see things like this on EBay:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Applicon-DE...MAAOSwtpBeh4dA

    And think maybe this stuff is worth big money, epically when you consider you have a complete system with all the documentation and working.
    So if nothing else this has been a useful thought exercise but for now just going to keep them. Who knows what will happen in five or ten years though.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Qbus View Post
    And think maybe this stuff is worth big money
    I can talk only about myself, and to me this stuff is certainly worth big money, but your problem is - I do not have that kind of money.

    I certainly wish you are not in situation that you have to move this stuff no matter what, splitting-dumping-ruining it. Who knows what will happen in five or ten years - maybe I will win in lottery or will get inheritance, and we will return to this topic

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