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For most, collecting vintage computers eventually becomes more of a lifestyle then a hobby. Sure, those in control of themselves can sometimes keep a collection limited in scope and size, but for most of us, this is a pastime that sticks to you. If you get into this hobby, make sure you have lots of space!

My collection, for instance, started out as a trip down memory lane. I simply wanted to gather together the various machines that I had played or worked with in my youth. Apples, Ataris and IBM PCs were at the top of my list with other machines that I'd never really used but had lusted for, such as Altairs and IMSAIs finding their way on to the list as well.

Eventually, of course, I acquired many of these machines. On the way I encountered several other machines that I just couldn't pass up for one reason or another. I now have more then 15 complete machines, a bunch of peripherals such as terminals and printers and several hundred pounds of literature in my ever growing collection.

How to collect old computers:

If you are interested in older computers you likely have a reason. Perhaps you are nostalgic for your past computing experiences, maybe you recognize the historical importance of various machines or maybe you've worked for a particular company and want to collect their obsolete gear. I could think of a dozen other reasons, but the end result is that your interest is going to be in some portion of the computer spectrum.

That should become your starting point. You will now want to focus on the resources that best suit your collecting style and in the areas that offer the biggest chances for success.

For instance, if you are interested in home computers from the early 80s (such as the Apple ][, Atari 800, Commodore 64, TI 99/4a etc.) you're best resources are going to be places where old home electronics tend to reside. Local charity stores (Salvation Army, for instance), flea markets and garage sales might still yield the rare gem in these machines.

If instead you are interested in older business machines (say PDP-8, HP, IBM or other workstation, workgroup, mini or mainframe equipment) you will need to shift your search to electronic salvage operations, or organizational "garage sales." The latter are when large institutions such as government agencies, schools or hospitals clean out their closets and auction or sell the old stuff. Even today you can still find some fine old systems this way. You can, if you're so inclined, also try to contact the IT departments at these types of places and ask them if any help is needed. Just be nice to them! Pestering sources of vintage computers only results in more destroyed machines.

The bottom line is obvious. Seek old machines where they once resided or where they are most likely to have migrated to.

Another option for obtaining older computers is, of course, eBay and other auction sites such as The Vintage Computer Marketplace. Every day on these sites dozens of collectible machines are auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Auction sites do provide an excellent source of machines, but at a price. Where you might be able to get an old Apple ][+ for $25 or less from a garage sale, you'll be hard pressed to see one go for less than $75 on eBay and you'll then have to pay to ship it. On the other hand, many items that you'd otherwise never see are available at the click of a mouse. As a general rule, eBay has a higher volume of items while the Vintage Computer Marketplace usually has better pricing.

Although it's probably obvious to the eBay veteran, the following advice is something to consider before jumping into eBay collecting:

  1. Know what you are bidding on - research both the type of machine you are considering and the specific machine in the auction. Ask the seller pointed questions and, if possible, for more pictures, more detailed descriptions or whatever. Most sellers are more than happy to comply.
  2. Consider the feedback of the seller - Low or zero feedback sellers may very well be honest, upstanding eBayers, but your odds are far better when dealing with a seller with an established reputation. Read the feedback comments from previous buyers and make sure that your seller doesn't have a reputation for bad products or service.
  3. Be wary of poorly described items - Fuzzy pictures and terse descriptions are often a sign of a dud in camouflage. Be extra careful when you see these types of auctions.

Of course, bargains CAN be had on eBay if you are sharp. Look for items that are incorrectly categorized (you can often find vintage computers, usually found under the Vintage or Vintage Apple categories, under the Other category on eBay, for instance) or that are offered with a good buy-it-now price. Both are often opportunities to beat the competition.

Off peak auctions are also a way to find some bargains. Summer time tends to be slow on eBay (maybe because of all of the garage sales?) so you'll see fewer bidders on coveted items then. You'll also get less competition on auctions that end at a late hour since many bidders like to "snipe" - i.e. bid at the last minute.

However you build your collection you're sure to have fun with it. Just be sure you also build an addition to your house as well!


(Submitted December 7, 2016 11:15:11 by James Moore)

Checking to see if anyone has an H89/H90 Heath cpu logic board they might part with for a reasonable price. Drop me an e-mail. Thanks, Jim Moore


(Submitted November 4, 2015 23:32:48 by R Agee)

Would like to sell: Atari 800, 800XL, 1200XL, Disc drives, printers, modems, manuals, spare parts, software. Tandy MIII official service manuals. ATR8000 CPM for use with Atari. TI94 with software. PCI bords for IBM & Clones. Much more.


(Submitted November 5, 2015 12:34:18 by Ricky Leslie)

I have a Vintage IBM System/32 inside my warehouse if anyone one is interested please feel free to give me a email info@angelectronics.org


(Submitted September 22, 2015 14:07:37 by Chris Strang)

Somewhere between 1978 and 1982, there was a fictional story in a computer magazine (do not know which) entitled Lecktrovski's Will. Any help in getting a copy would be very helpful.

Best Wishes, Chris


(Submitted July 30, 2015 17:07:36 by Ryan Ellis)

Hi, I have a friend who has a very old laptop. It is a Packard Bell running Dos 3.3. I was wondering what is the base price for that.


(Submitted November 24, 2014 08:57:31 by Carl Adams)

I have a Macintosh portable with case and Apple PowerBook 500 Series with case and lead


(Submitted September 30, 2014 16:32:06 by Alisa)

Rare opportunity: vintage IBM 5150 in an unopened box has become available privately. E-mail for details.


(Submitted January 9, 2014 13:30:39 by tapsearcher)

We have just released a collection of rare vintage computer products featuring Dysan, Control Data, BASF and rare brands with one being an exclusive selection. These items are more than 30 years old, in new condition, never used in original sealed packaging. Many items feature unique or special specs that are difficult to find anywhere. Included are extra free bundle deals of other collectibles. For more info, see http://ray-tapajna-info.net/collect-vintage-computer-products


(Submitted June 16, 2012 18:18:29 by (a href=mailto:Nomad425sxl)pam_stevenyahoo.com(/a))

I have a Gateway 2000 Nomad 425sxl - has windows 3.1 - works off the power supply.


(Submitted January 7, 2012 14:01:59 by Mark Acosta)

I am selling an original minivac 610 vintage computer with original manuals and components. email me or call 609-513-1269 for details


(Submitted December 4, 2011 13:41:20 by patrick)

I have an old 80-286, 287 mother board wich speaks when you mispelled in dos, one of a kind. All In perfect condition, Bypassed the Cmos and changed the battery for a rechargeable one. All working even 1 spare video card. Full of old time games; might & magic 3,leisure suit larry, civilisation, ect. I want a good price or i'll keep it for another 10 years ;-)


(Submitted August 15, 2011 09:42:16 by GreenMeanie)

I will take any Altair or Imsai related stuff you have hanging around. EMAIL me.


(Submitted June 23, 2011 21:21:59 by Anthony Beaver)

I have a Commodore 16 Learning Computer. This is an all here collectible. Original box and owner's manual. Even has the original warranty card. Anyone interested, email me an offer.


(Submitted February 15, 2011 15:31:55 by James Rude)

I have an IBM Thinkpad that runs off the IBM DOS Shell and has Windows 3.1. There are two little distortions on the LCD screen but other than that, it works great. Is anyone interested in buying this rare antique?


(Submitted December 3, 2010 13:26:34 by JOHN MURPHY)

I have a copy of kilobaud magazine Issue #1 - Janurayr 1977. Is it worth anything, and is anybody interested ?


(Submitted November 24, 2010 22:16:45 by Blaine )

I am looking for a TRS-80 Model III... Anyone who can help plz contact me! Thank you!!!


(Submitted March 18, 2010 21:08:54 by Angel)

I have a 14 year old Gateway Laptop, I think it was the 2nd ever made. I'm not sure what to do with it... donate it, sell it, what. It's not that old.


(Submitted December 12, 2009 03:17:40 by (a href=mailto:httpquaalude.proboards.com)Quaalude Charlie(/a))

You can View Some of The Collection at my Forum The Quaalude Board , While i still Collect , Some Itemes you mentioned I Do Have http://quaalude.proboards.com Many 80's Hethkit , Remark, Sextant , Apple , IBM PC AXT :) QC


(Submitted June 22, 2008 18:47:56 by ken slusser)

I closed my computer store in the late 1980's and put most of the spare stock,tech manual manuals into 3 storage bays. I am at the point I can no longer afford the storage fees and need to sell them before the storage company calls a local salvage dealer to scrap them. If anyone is interested in approx 2 truck loads of pre-ibm pc systems (dec, altair, s-100,kaypro, egal,etc.), spare parts and service manuals (please let me know. Thank You Ken S.


(Submitted April 2, 2008 11:33:04 by Tom Smythers)

I saw an AT&T Globalyst 200 laptop for sale at the local Goodwill store. I tried to google the specifications or description of this vintage laptop but could not find anything except a zillion battery vendors for this model.

Where can I get information about what this machine can or could do? Thanks


(Submitted January 19, 2008 11:06:45 by John)

I just posted on Ebay http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll? ViewItem&item=330205674907&_trksid=p3907.m32&_trk parms=tab%3DSelling

Great for Collectes... It has everything!!!!


(Submitted November 20, 2007 22:48:08 by PETER KNUTSON)

YES! ,I FINALLY GOT MESSSAGES ABOUT THAT INFO. FROM YOU QUQQLUDE CHARLIE BUT CAN SHOW ME WHERE TO FIND YOUR WEB FOR ME TO TAKE A LOOK AT IT! BUT YOU STILL CAM EMAIL ME FROM ABOVE IS LIKE CHAT BACK AND FORTH FROM MY HOTMAI.COM FROM ABOVE

JUST FIND IT TONIGHT YOUR INFO. HERE ! 11/20/07 .


(Submitted October 29, 2007 06:12:11 by Joe)

I just love the lookof old computers (i'm a bit retro) I just want to find out more and hopefully get the computer I've always wanted (since 11:30)


(Submitted October 21, 2007 21:45:08 by Quaalude Charlie )

PETER KNUTSON i have the books manuals for vic 20 , TRS80 MODEL I,TRS80 , you can email me or view the stuff on The Quaalude Board ,i sold the commodore & book and the Tandy 1000 lc . still have the Mac Classic & case cracker ,

Regards ,

Quaalude Charlie


(Submitted August 31, 2007 15:39:26 by PETER KNUTSON)

YES,YUCK,YUCK I'M LOOKING VERY GOOD OLD ORGINAL SCHEMATICS OF VIC20,APPLE II PLUS,TRS80 MODEL I,TRS80(MC-10 COLOR COMPUTER),INTERFACE HARDDRIVE (1TO14GB HRADDRIVE DATA STORGE TO ANY 8 BITS COMPUTERS .

PLUS THE APPLE II REFERENCE MANUAL (NOT THE RED ONE ).

TOO MUCH TIMIMG ON THE INTERNET TRYING TO FIND IT ! AND WOULD DO NOTHING ABOUT THE INTERNET ! .

THE INTERNET IS NOTHING !


(Submitted April 13, 2007 01:40:53 by Abhey Mehta)

we have few old computer,printer of model as old 1984 acquired from sick unit if it interest you the furhter detailcan be send


(Submitted April 3, 2007 08:45:48 by Alan Feingold)

I have an Apple IIc with cpu/keyboard, printer & monitor, never repaired, completely operational, with original cartons. Looking for serious collectors, potential buyers, bearing in mind that an Apple IIe recently sold for $6,200.00. Located in Long Isand, NY. Email questions & offers.


(Submitted March 9, 2007 11:52:19 by Patrick Walsh)

I have an extensive c-64 collection which I no longer need, if interested please contact me and we will talk. the equip is located in n.e. maine and would take up the better part of a small pick up truck bed. Thanks for reading. enjoy


(Submitted November 26, 2006 04:14:02 by Quaalude Charlie)

if you are looking to buy sell or trade computers in the st.louis area Email Me Charlie at cqlude3@yahoo.com , let me know what you got , or what your looking for! please limit your scope to topic computers from 1978-2005 Thank You Quaalude Charlie


(Submitted November 5, 2006 11:20:15 by John )

I own a MZ80K in exelent condition with Basic and extendet Basic and some games . I like to sell that machine My name John Schlichting Alsterdorferstr 6 22299 Hamburg Germany


(Submitted October 30, 2006 17:09:10 by Joanna)

Do you have any idea what a working Toshiba T100 would fetch?


(Submitted September 5, 2006 19:22:06 by quaalude charlie)

It seems like the st.louis market for older computers and vintage computer collecting is slowing down . i encurage people who stumble upon and read this page and related pages to consider starting a collection , a good place to start woud be craigslist.org or you can email me to see my latest in stock vintage computer for sale.. cqlude3@yahoo.com i look forward to an email from any person wanting to start or further a collection.also i am eccepting donations of computer parts from the early to late 1990's as these computers do well online and i refurbush these and find them a home ,quaalude charlie the computer geek.


(Submitted August 24, 2006 02:57:40 by Quaalude Charlie)

i have a large collection of computers in the st.louis area ,i barter and yes room to store and use these computers is sparce , cqlude3@yahoo.com if you have a vintage computer thats cool that you can donate it'll have a good home.qc


(Submitted September 9, 2005 23:38:21 by anuj)

i am a computer engineering student i have to purchase a personnal computer i want to know the configuration and the detailed description of the devices i need and will have to purchase.


(Submitted August 11, 2005 19:11:18 by jake )

i would like to no if IBM is the biggest computer canpany because i am doing a project on computers and one of my questions is what is the biggest computer canpany

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