Could you be unwittingly sitting on a gold mine? Chances are if you’re a regular reader of Gizmodo UK, you probably have an attic stuffed with the gadgets of yesteryear. But rather than leave your old computers gathering dust… could you turn them into cold, hard cash?
Old gadgets are increasingly becoming collectors items, so is it time to get down to Sotherby’s with your old Mac? Read on, to find out.
If you’re lucky enough to have the original Apple Macintosh from 1984 (the one that was advertised with the iconic Superbowl commercial) then you could actually be sat on a goldmine.
The much sought after computers are selling for between £1000 and £2000 on eBay when in good condition. That’s enough cash to buy the ultrathin new Macbook – and still probably have enough cash left over to buy an iPhone too. Not bad.
Don’t get the Macintosh 128k confused though with a Macintosh Classic. Though they look similar, the Classic is six years younger and worth a lot less. Released in 1990, second-hand machines are typically only sold for around a tenth of the price – between £100 and £200 each.
Though Apple currently rules the world with its mobile devices, it wasn’t always that way. Back in 1993, the company released the Newton, a personal digital assistant (PDA) on which users could make notes, keep a calendar and so on. Imagine the features of a smartphone, but on a device that can’t actually connect to anything. It was that useful.
With a stylus, mono screen and handwriting recognition so notoriously bad it was parodied on The Simpsons, the device was not a success. But judging by eBay there is still some interest in the device, with the price of different models varying.
The MessagePad 110 was first released in 1994 and contained a whole 4MB (yes, megabytes) of ROM, and 1MB of RAM, with a screen that runs at 320x240. But clearly there is someone out there who wants one, seeing as one recently sold on eBay for £49.50.
The slightly more deluxe MessagePad 2000 meanwhile, which came out a couple of years later, bumped the ROM up to 8MB and also came with 4MB of flash storage, so it didn’t need a separate memory card. And amazingly, these consistently command a higher price of somewhere between around £115 and £165 depending on condition.
Soon after Steve Jobs took control of Apple, he scrapped many of the company’s increasing product lines and instead focused on building a revolutionary new computer. Apple’s long-time design guru Jony Ive designed the iconic translucent case – and suddenly, computing became that little bit cooler.
What’s interesting now is just how cheaply you can pick up your little piece of computing history. Whereas the price tag on some older gadgets has risen as they have become collectable (think the Apple II and the Nintendo Entertainment System) the iMac G3 appears to be at the bottom of the curve: too old to be useful as a computer, too new to be a collector's item.
As such, the G3 is now dirt cheap, selling for anywhere between £5 (yes, five English pounds) and almost £60 for the slightly higher-spec model.
So if you have an old iMac G3 lying around, don’t expect a big payday. In fact, it might better to turn it into a home for your cat:
The original iPod looked so hi-tech back in 2001. 1,000 songs in your pocket – at the same time! But now it looks like a relic from a past civilisation, with it tiny mono screen and mechanical clickwheel.
But someone must still be using them. Though one recently sold for just £27 on eBay, another went for a comparatively massive £88.56.
You’d think that with such a revolution in music taking place, the music of the time must have been a golden age. Which is why we were surprised to found out that one of the biggest-selling singles of the year, which spent six weeks at Number One was Can We Fix It? by, umm, Bob The Builder.
If you want to make money on an investment, buy a house in London. Don’t, whatever you do, buy old iPhones, as they lose value quicker than they lose battery.
The original iPhone (the one that didn’t even have 3G) can now be picked up for as little as just £10-£15. The second iPhone, the iPhone 3G, doesn’t fare much better: CEX sells it for £28 (and will buy your old one for even less). If you can sell for a price matching CEX, you’d need to sell twenty iPhone 3Gs in order to buy yourself the cheapest iPhone 6S. Oh dear.