Why are vintage Macs becoming...expensive?

Discussion in 'Apple Collectors' started by SkyBell, Aug 9, 2012.

  1. macrumors 603

    SkyBell

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    Texas, unfortunately.
    #1
    I've been doing a lot of searching on eBay recently, mostly out of boredom, some part out of nostalgia of my computer collecting days. And I've been noticing - vintage Apple machine prices are going up.

    I remember buying a Macintosh Classic in 2003 for $25 - not happening anymore. An Apple IIc with original monitor, printer and over 50 pieces of software for $45 in '04. Laughable today. I remember the pizza box LC's selling for near pennies on the dollar, and now they bottom out around $30 or $40. Mac Plus's for cheap - no longer.

    Is this a growing trend for all vintage computer or hardware (I don't recall what vintage PC's used to go for), or is this something only affecting Apple machinery, perhaps related to their exploding status in the tech world? Just curious.
     
  2. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    #2
    Well first of all because they're rare, but mainly because of Apple's popularity. If they weren't as big of a company as they are now, they wouldn't be worth nearly as much.
     
  3. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    #3
    I do prefer my G5 over Mac Mini/Macbook Pro as it feels like a real Mac and true; is the Powermac G5 rare? XD :)
     
  4. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    #4
    Check amazon and you can answer that yourself. ;)

    In other words, no. :p
     
  5. macrumors 68000

    Hrududu

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Location:
    Wichita KS
    #5
    I think its because less and less of them exist. 10 years ago I was looking for a PowerBook 520c and there were about 4 pages of them. Probably not a single one listed on eBay now. I think in the early 2000s a lot of old Macs ended up in e-waste recycling centers or dumpsters since they didn't hold any computing value, and most Macs from the Scully, Spindler, & Amelio era wern't exactly looked at as collectors items. Now, its changed quite a bit and whats left of those old working Macs has become worth money again. I'm personally kinda glad I've kept ahold of so many 90's and 80's vintage Macs. A few years ago, I couldn't give them away, but now eBay has them listed and people are actually bidding.
     
  6. macrumors regular

    92WardSenatorFE

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #6
    I've noticed this trend as well, I've followed used Mac prices and they've really seemed to soar (especially after Jobs' death).

    Another factor you have to realize though is that back then, you had a lot of school districts shipping these Mac's out by the pallet. If you viewed any Gov't surplus website, you'd see pallet after pallet of Mac's from the 80s and 90s up for grabs, and people could literally buy them for nothing. These Macs found homes somehow (whether it be collectors, scrappers, or even dumps) and now schools have gotten rid of all their 'older' Mac systems.

    Right now, I would say the most common Mac's on the market are PowerPC's, due to schools are now letting go of these in mass quantities. This is especially true for eMacs, you can get them for almost nothing right now where I'm at. All the local schools around here decided to get rid of them all at once, and the market has been flooded with them. The same thing could have been said about iMac G3's just a few years back.

    I can't speak for the rest of the vintage computer market, because I don't keep up with it. But I would say anything computer wise that is older and unique would definitely be rising in value. PC boxes, maybe not so much. But there's still a good demand for older Mac systems and Apple is a very popular brand to have right now.
     
  7. macrumors 604

    Jessica Lares

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Location:
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    #7
    I know how you feel... I have been trying to find replacement parts for my 180c for so long now, but it's not happening. Just found one for $100 after looking for the last three years, otherwise they're nowhere to be found. :(
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 603

    SkyBell

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    Texas, unfortunately.
    #8
  9. macrumors 68030

    G51989

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2012
    Location:
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
    #9
    They are getting rarer, thrown in the trash, useless, old, failing hardware/power supplies. All that fun stuff.

    Its not JUST an Apple thing either, lots of 80s PC gear is starting to collect some coin to, simply because weather its a " mac " or a " pc ", lots of this hardware is starting to fail, working models are just harder and harder to find,.

    ----------

    hahaha I remember we threw away like 50 of those things my first year of college ( I was in ' tech club ' which translated into be the IT departments bitch ). Shoulda saved em!
     
  10. macrumors G3

    dmr727

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    #10
    Like others have said, there are fewer working machines out there as time goes on, and Apple's recent popularity isn't helping either.

    But I also think a lot of the eBay sellers are deluding themselves. I'd be curious to see if anyone actually picks up that LC for $500. It looks like a nice example of the machine (so many these days are really scuffed up and/or yellowed), but yeah - that listing has one too many zeroes on it, IMO.

    The deals are still out there, though - you just have to venture away from eBay. I find that it's best to be patient and root around for ads on Craigslist (obviously this works best if you live in or near a large metropolitan area), or head over to the 68kmla and post a want ad there. I just picked up a working Powerbook 180c in nearly perfect condition for ten bucks the other week.

    Of course I didn't NEED a 180c, but it was 10 bucks! :)
     
  11. macrumors 68030

    G51989

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2012
    Location:
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
  12. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    #12
  13. macrumors 68030

    G51989

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2012
    Location:
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
    #13
    I doubt it will sell for 250.

    But 150, 180? You bet.

    Ive seen some of the pizza box style packard bells in good conidtion go for up to 300.
     
  14. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2012
    #14
    That's really absurd. I recently picked up an LC III that was labeled as "parts" because it would boot (Mac chime and all), but it wouldn't display anything on a monitor. Just a bad PRAM battery, replaced for $2.50. Total cost of the machine: $52.50, including shipping. There are a lot of great deals out there, if you pay attention, especially parts/as-is listings.

    If you want to talk about over-inflated prices, you should see what electric typewriters from the late-60s/early-70s go for on eBay, especially if they're in decent condition. Anything in the Selectric family that is in decent shape will usually run you about $100 at least.

    ----------

    How about this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Altair-8800-Vintage-Computer-by-MITS-Working-with-original-documentation-/190712420110?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c6758970e#ht_500wt_1342

    $4,000 for a "computer" that doesn't do anything.
     
  15. macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2004
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    #15
    There is a distinct difference between "sells for" and what a few idiots on ebay think they can get for a system (the $500 LC is a good example of this).

    That being said, the days of finding a Performa at a swap meet for $10 are rare these days. One contributing factor, other than the normal destruction and tossing of old computers, is the internal PRAM battery.

    Most older Macs use a Ni-Cad rechargeable battery that bloats and leaks as it ages, spilling acid on the motherboard that is usually fatal to the system. The newer Amigas are suffering the same fate.

    Units once working are placed in storage where they sit for 5-10 years, meanwhile the battery slowly leaks and destroys the motherboard.
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

    Ariii

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Location:
    Chicago
    #16
    For some reason, it's happening to the iMac G3s as well, along with the iBook Clamshells. People are selling those iMacs for like $150. They're not getting that much rarer, either. :confused:
     
  17. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2012
    #17

    That's more an issue of "vintage Steve Jobs" rather than "vintage Mac." Since his death, a lot of the devices related to his return to Apple, and returning the company to profitability, are becoming sought after. I remember when you could pick up BB iMacs on eBay for a song. This morning, there's a BIN for $250.
     
  18. macrumors 6502a

    alexreich

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2011
    #18
    Really? I've got one. I guess I'll start the bidding at $225. Haha.

    Totally joking. I love my G3. :rolleyes:
     
  19. macrumors 6502a

    Ariii

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Location:
    Chicago
    #19
    Oh, I never knew that.... I thought it was more Ive-y. I guess I'll just spend $100 on one once I can afford one. Those BlueBerry ones are amazing.
     
  20. macrumors 68000

    student_trap

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Location:
    'Ol Smokey, UK
    #20
    Crazyness, in 2010 I picked up 4 G3 iMacs for next to nothing (2 Ruby's, an indigo one and a blueberry, if you were curious), and a friend and I picked up one for his gf for free... people were literally giving them away.

    The Clamshell iBooks were always more though, I paid about £70 for mine in mint condition with wifi back in 2009/10. Funnily enough I was using it last weekend.:eek:
     
  21. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2012
    #21
    Here's a good one for you: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Apple-iMac-G3-15-Desktop-M6709LL-B-Bondi-Blue-with-Original-Packing-and-Box-/140822589845?pt=US_Vintage_Computers_Mainframes&hash=item20c9ae3195 :rolleyes:

    I love my Bondi Blue, truly I do even if the mouse was horrendous, but I wouldn't pay $500 for an iMac G3, no friggin' way. But, yeah, a lot of things are definitely getting pricey. Most 1st-gen iPods in the 10GB version will run you north of $100 for one in good shape. I saw one that was still wrapped in plastic that was selling for $300. Some poor deluded guy is selling a Hendrix iPod, not new mind you, for $5,000. Fantasyland, I tells ya.

    ----------

    What color is the Clamshell incidentally?
     
  22. macrumors 68000

    student_trap

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Location:
    'Ol Smokey, UK
    #22
    it is an indigo one. And I think that it is fabulous!
     
  23. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2012
    #23
    Do you still use it in earnest? That is to say, for reasons other than nostalgia?

    The only vintage notebook I have is the PowerBook Duo 2300c that I've mentioned in a few threads, and it was made long before the days of Wi-Fi, so doing anything other than taking it for a brief stroll is more less pointless.
     
  24. macrumors 6502a

    Ariii

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Location:
    Chicago
    #24
    By the way... I also have a Lime one and it's my main machine :). It's very usable in Tiger if you disable SpotLight and DashBoard, and you have Camino and a couple other modern browsers. (Posted from my Indigo iBook)
     
  25. thread starter macrumors 603

    SkyBell

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    Texas, unfortunately.
    #25
    Always wanted a lime iBook, but they've always been expensive, and I supose they aren't getting any better. Oh well, I do love my original Blueberry anyway. :D
     

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