Why are vintage Macs becoming...expensive?

SkyBell

macrumors 604
Original poster
Sep 7, 2006
6,564
132
Texas, unfortunately.
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.
 

twiggy0

macrumors 6502
Oct 8, 2009
352
0
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.
 

Liquinn

Suspended
Apr 10, 2011
3,016
56
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.
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 :)
 

Hrududu

macrumors 68020
Jul 25, 2008
2,199
481
Central US
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.
 

92WardSenatorFE

macrumors regular
Dec 29, 2008
145
0
USA
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.
 

Jessica Lares

macrumors G3
Oct 31, 2009
9,228
742
Near Dallas, Texas, USA
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. :(
 

G51989

macrumors 68030
Feb 25, 2012
2,530
10
NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
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,.

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http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Apple-M351-Macintosh-LC-w-HDD-FDD-Works-/260698181724?pt=US_Vintage_Computers_Mainframes&hash=item3cb2d2905c

Come on, $500? Really? Makes me wish I'd bought one of these things for $20 6 or 7 years ago like I had wanted to. :p
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!
 

dmr727

macrumors G3
Dec 29, 2007
8,629
31
NYC
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! :)
 

JohnGrey

macrumors 6502
Apr 21, 2012
298
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Cincinnati Metro
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Apple-M351-Macintosh-LC-w-HDD-FDD-Works-/260698181724?pt=US_Vintage_Computers_Mainframes&hash=item3cb2d2905c

Come on, $500? Really? Makes me wish I'd bought one of these things for $20 6 or 7 years ago like I had wanted to. :p
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.

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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.
 

robivy64

macrumors member
May 29, 2004
46
0
Fort Worth, TX
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.
 

Ariii

macrumors 6502a
Jan 26, 2012
682
3
Chicago
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:
 

JohnGrey

macrumors 6502
Apr 21, 2012
298
557
Cincinnati Metro
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:

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.
 

alexreich

macrumors 6502a
Jan 26, 2011
626
1
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.
Really? I've got one. I guess I'll start the bidding at $225. Haha.

Totally joking. I love my G3. :rolleyes:
 

Ariii

macrumors 6502a
Jan 26, 2012
682
3
Chicago
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.
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.
 

student_trap

macrumors 68000
Mar 14, 2005
1,879
0
'Ol Smokey, UK
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:
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:
 

JohnGrey

macrumors 6502
Apr 21, 2012
298
557
Cincinnati Metro
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.
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.

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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:
What color is the Clamshell incidentally?
 

JohnGrey

macrumors 6502
Apr 21, 2012
298
557
Cincinnati Metro
it is an indigo one. And I think that it is fabulous!
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.
 

Ariii

macrumors 6502a
Jan 26, 2012
682
3
Chicago
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.
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)
 

SkyBell

macrumors 604
Original poster
Sep 7, 2006
6,564
132
Texas, unfortunately.
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)
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