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View Full Version : Is there a point at which 8086 PCs like the original IBM Personal Computer will become collectible?


astro
06-28-2010, 12:46 PM
In perusing eBay you occasionally see some optimistic listings asking several hundred dollars for a 8086 brand name (IBM, Compaq etc) doorstop, but almost no completed sales (that I can see).

The IBM XT 8086 "personal computer" based PC (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_Personal_Computer) is one year shy of it's 40th birthday. Is there any anticipation that these old dust collectors will become collectible anytime soon?

Athena
06-28-2010, 12:50 PM
The IBM XT 8086 "personal computer" based PC (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_Personal_Computer) is one year shy of it's 40th birthday. Is there any anticipation that these old dust collectors will become collectible anytime soon?

30th birthday. Sheesh, way to make me feel old!

Edit: and that's an 8088, not an 8086. Why yes, I do know more about microprocessors circa 1981 than I do about microprocessors circa 2010, thanks for asking.

astro
06-28-2010, 12:56 PM
30th birthday. Sheesh, way to make me feel old!

Edit: and that's an 8088, not an 8086. Why yes, I do know more about microprocessors circa 1981 than I do about microprocessors circa 2010, thanks for asking.

Thanks for the date and CPU correction. once I get past my fingers and toes all hell breaks loose.

Rhythmdvl
06-28-2010, 01:06 PM
Okay, hands up, who else has a Commodore 64 up in the attic just waiting for the price to peak?

Tom Tildrum
06-28-2010, 02:38 PM
Collecting old (http://ftp.arl.mil/ftp/historic-computers/png/eniac3.png) computers would pose unique challenges of space and maintenance.

What did happen to old pioneers like ENIAC? Are they still assembled somewhere? Were they broken down and sold tube-by-tube to hobbyists, like fragments of the True Cross?

Bytegeist
06-28-2010, 02:38 PM
Retro computers in general, not just the original IBM PC, have had a strong and persistent popularity for many years now. I'm sure collectors are aware of the anniversary years. However, because these machines sold in the millions, and because many are still in decent (if a bit stained or dented) condition, they don't normally sell for very much. Not for several hundred dollars. Closer maybe to $50 to $100.

Unless, perhaps, you have a "new in the box" model with all the original materials, everything wrapped up just as it was from the factory. A unit that someone bought and then just stuck in a closet somewhere, for whatever reason.

A few months ago an Apple IIc, new in the box, sold on eBay for about $1200 — which oddly enough is very close to the original retail price as it was in 1984. Usually they go for about $40-$70.

beowulff
06-28-2010, 03:12 PM
I once sold the BOX that a Mac 128K came in to a guy in Japan for $100, so that proves that everything is collectible to someone.

Bytegeist
06-28-2010, 03:25 PM
I once sold the BOX that a Mac 128K came in to a guy in Japan for $100 . . .

Boy, he was hard core. The box that the Mac Plus came in was much more capable.

Lemur866
06-28-2010, 03:43 PM
Well, like all collectibles it's a matter of supply and demand. In the case of obsolete computers, we have a situation of very little demand, and an original supply in many cases of millions.

So there are lots and lots of obsolete computers sitting around, and very few people who want them. What does that do to the collectible price for the item?

The one advantage is that lots of these old crap computers were thrown away, which is why comic books from the 50s and 60s are valuable because although they were printed in the millions they were thrown away by the millions. When you get to the 80s everyone realized that comic books were collectible, and so they didn't throw out their comic books, which means most comic books from the 80s and 90s and 00s are worthless, especially those printed as instant collectibles.

Tom Tildrum
06-28-2010, 03:52 PM
I once sold the BOX that a Mac 128K came in to a guy in Japan for $100, so that proves that everything is collectible to someone.

I wonder if he's the same guy who just bought (http://pagingdrgupta.blogs.cnn.com/2010/06/28/x-rays-of-marilyn-monroe-sold-for-45000/?hpt=T2) Marilyn Monroe's chest X-ray for $45,000.

Superfluous Parentheses
06-28-2010, 03:54 PM
In perusing eBay you occasionally see some optimistic listings asking several hundred dollars for a 8086 brand name (IBM, Compaq etc) doorstop, but almost no completed sales (that I can see).

The IBM XT 8086 "personal computer" based PC (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_Personal_Computer) is one year shy of it's 40th birthday. Is there any anticipation that these old dust collectors will become collectible anytime soon?

Most of the IBM keyboards from that era that are or can be made compatible with current PCs can fetch pretty decent prices. Especially new in box. Not sure how big the market really is for those, but supply isn't that high anymore after 30ish years.

andrewm
06-28-2010, 07:30 PM
The IBM XT 8086 "personal computer" based PC (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_Personal_Computer) is one year shy of it's 40th birthday.

The 1981 original is the "IBM PC" (model 5150). The "IBM PC/XT" (model 5160) was a new machine that was introduced two years later.

Hari Seldon
06-29-2010, 11:32 AM
Collecting old (http://ftp.arl.mil/ftp/historic-computers/png/eniac3.png) computers would pose unique challenges of space and maintenance.

What did happen to old pioneers like ENIAC? Are they still assembled somewhere? Were they broken down and sold tube-by-tube to hobbyists, like fragments of the True Cross?

To see what happen to the Eniac go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ENIAC#Parts_on_display. Essentially, it is half-way between, not still assembled, but not quite broken up tube by tube. When I was a student at Penn in the late 50s, you could still go down to the basement of the Moore School and see it. Now it seems that 10% of it is still there, some parts are at the Smithsonian and some parts elsewhere.

I just wanted to add that I have an original IBM PC (no hard drive) and the last time I turned it on, it booted. However, I have given away the original IBM-DOS diskette (no version number, but 1.0 in retrospect) so it would at best boot in "cassette basic".

mack
06-29-2010, 01:32 PM
What did happen to old pioneers like ENIAC? Are they still assembled somewhere? Were they broken down and sold tube-by-tube to hobbyists, like fragments of the True Cross?

You can get a Cray-1 board (http://cgi.ebay.com/Super-Rare-CRAY-1-GATE-CPU-Board-2-planes-LAST-ONE-/140413661850?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item20b14e729a). Hurry now while supplies last!

elmwood
06-29-2010, 01:39 PM
I had a running NeXTstation color slab in fantastic shape that I donated to a computer museum in Austin. It just took up too much space. NeXT computers are supposed to be hot future collectibles, but I had no luck finding a buyer for it the times I tried to sell it. (I was asking $100.) I'm trying to lead a clutter-free life, and I couldn't find a place for the NeXTstation in it.

Panurge
06-29-2010, 01:59 PM
Okay, hands up, who else has a Commodore 64 up in the attic just waiting for the price to peak?

Waiting? Hell, I've got one that I still use. With enough functioning microswitch joystics and 1541 disk drives to last me a lifetime. Yay!

Napier
06-30-2010, 07:33 AM
Boy, I wish I had my father's computer. He bought it used in the mid '60s to do engineering calculations. It was in several instrument racks and had row after row of silver-topped tubes, and cable bundles the size of my arm between the racks. He said when they ran it, the office got warm. I have no idea what happened to it....

Superhal
06-30-2010, 07:42 AM
I'd buy the old keyboards.

ftg
06-30-2010, 08:45 AM
So that makes two references to people buying old keyboards. Umm, why?

Superhal
06-30-2010, 08:49 AM
So that makes two references to people buying old keyboards. Umm, why?

I only used one once and it was the best keyboard I have ever used.

Metal keys, mechanical motion, solid keypresses. It was the closest thing to using a real typewriter. Nowadays, they're all made out of sponge or something.

aceplace57
06-30-2010, 10:37 AM
fun to read. They have a good selection of early personal computers.
http://old-computers.com/museum/default.asp

The personal computer used in War Games is still around.
It was a IMSAI 8080 which old timers know is a clone of an Altair 8800.
With some effort you could still find a IMSAI 8080 cheap.

the one actually used in the movie is/was? for sale.
It is currently appraised at over $25,000, potentially making it the most expensive "personal computer" ever! It is widely considered one of the top five "Movie Computers" of all time, and the only one which was a real commercial product!
http://imsai.net/Movies/WarGames.htm

How was this young lad going to load software into his computer? I called Mike Fink to discuss this and he admitted that the issue never even came up. I suggested an IMSAI FDC-2 (the dual Calcomp 142 8" floppies in an enclosure similar to the 8080), and he readily accepted the offer. The loading of one of those 8" disks (about 1 meg of storage in double density format) is one of the few equipment close-ups that made the final cut of the film.

jayjay
06-30-2010, 11:29 AM
Waiting? Hell, I've got one that I still use. With enough (...) 1541 disk drives to last me a lifetime. Yay!

Which is pretty much how long it felt like the damn thing took to load or save a program...

Shoeless
06-30-2010, 11:16 PM
Okay, hands up, who else has a Commodore 64 up in the attic just waiting for the price to peak?

How about an Osborne in the basement?

06-30-2010, 11:26 PM
I once sold the BOX that a Mac 128K came in to a guy in Japan for $100, so that proves that everything is collectible to someone.Actually, the boxes that things came in are often very collectible. For example, Tonka trucks are greatly enhanced in value if the original box is included and in good condition. Probably because the boxes are so often beat up and eventually discarded, while the truck is kept and played with by generations of kids.

This is true of a lot of toys, dolls, etc. Watching Antiques Roadshow you will often see where having the original box increases the value.

elmwood
07-01-2010, 09:19 AM
So that makes two references to people buying old keyboards. Umm, why?

Mechanical keyboards -- individual keyswitches with tactile feedback, or buckling spring like the legendary IBM Model M -- were far more common back then. A few things to remember:

* A $100 or $150 keyboard may seem expensive, but it was a bargain relative to the $2000 to $5000 price of a typical PC back in the 1980s and 1990s.

* PCs just started to appear in offices. Many users were secretaries who were used to the stiff, tactile feel of a typewriter keyboard, particularly the IBM Selectric typewriters they used for the previous 20 to 30 years. Home and enthusiast computers of the era had cheaper keyboards. Remember the keybounce of the TRS-80, the infamous chicklet and membrane boards, keyboards that felt grainy, and the mushy Atari ST keyboard? Some hobbyist computers had decent mechanical keyboards, but nowhere near the quality seen on PCs and clones meant for office use.

* Compared to the present, computer technology was evolving more slowly, OS updates were less frequent, and speed and memory increases were less dramatic. Office PCs were expected to be in service for a decade or more, and thus they were built to last; cases as thick as the sheet metal of a 1952 Buick, indestructible keyboards, heavy dot-matrix and laser printers that were practically drop-forged, and mil-spec mice. The sight of a ten year old beige PC with a CRT monitor at a typical office today might seem like an anachronism, but go back to the office of 1995, and it wouldn't have been unusual to see secretaries loading WordPerfect 5.1 from floppies onto their 10 or 12 year old IBM XTs and ATs.

Richard Pearse
07-03-2010, 05:12 AM
* Compared to the present, computer technology was evolving more slowly, OS updates were less frequent, and speed and memory increases were less dramatic. Office PCs were expected to be in service for a decade or more, and thus they were built to last; cases as thick as the sheet metal of a 1952 Buick, indestructible keyboards, heavy dot-matrix and laser printers that were practically drop-forged, and mil-spec mice.

A mil-spec mouse, is that like one of these? (http://funny-games.biz/images/pictures/1028-military-pc-mouse.jpg)

Superfluous Parentheses
07-03-2010, 09:41 AM
Mechanical keyboards -- individual keyswitches with tactile feedback, or buckling spring like the legendary IBM Model M -- were far more common back then. A few things to remember:

* A $100 or $150 keyboard may seem expensive, but it was a bargain relative to the $2000 to $5000 price of a typical PC back in the 1980s and 1990s.

In fact, the Model M was about $250 in '80s dollars when it was first released. And that was significantly cheaper than IBM's previous professional keyboards (like the displaywriter (http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/exhibits/pc/pc_8.html) and earlier terminal boards, or even the Model F PC keyboard).

They really are great keyboards - one of the best - and they last a lifetime.

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