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Best way to sell a shed load of C64 gear.

roberttx

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I have a couple dozen C64s, a couple dozen 1541s, a half dozen or so monitors, a half dozen or so printers and a bunch of accessories - adapters, carts, tape decks etc. I also have a few power supplies and cables, but not enough for one for each machine. And a bunch of other stuff - discs, manuals, a couple of boxes, you name it. I'm not really sure what all I have, but I've had it for far too long and it's time to sell them. My question is, what's the optimum way to go about it?

In a perfect world, where I had unlimited time and resources, I'd test everything and repair where necessary. But that's never going to happen. Another option is to get one complete working system together, then rotate components into it and do minimal testing. Like, can a C64 power on, display an image and access a floppy? The final option is to just sell them untested.

I've done some looking around on ebay, but the C64 listings are a mess and it's really not clear to me how much value testing actually adds.

So, given that there are surely members here who have their fingers much more on the pulse of current C64 matters than I do, what would you suggest?
 

rittwage

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If you don't want to go through and clean and repair it all, then you can try to find someone to pick it up cheap. It's not worth much in that condition - pretty much barely worth the trouble for most if it's "in a shed".

If you cleaned them and repaired them (they will need repair) - then for all your effort, you might get $100 for a complete setup (C64, drive, monitor) - and even that takes lots more time to find someone to buy them, let alone dealing with shipping and possible damage and other troubles that causes.

So, like everything, you have to decide how much your time is worth.

Maybe someone here with a lot of time on their hands will offer you something to empty your shed. :)
 

roberttx

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"Shed load" is an idiomatic expression used in England to mean a large quantity. There are no actual sheds involved. :)
 

Malc

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Many moons ago i had loads of C64's and got them fairly regularly, At the time they were 2 a penny and not worth a wet fart, Working systems were fetching so little and it realy wasn't worth the hassle for me, So they got scrapped, I doubt times have changed that much but it might be worth getting a working system together and testing the other stuff ?.
 

glitch

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It's been my experience that, whatever the item, there will always be some people willing to pay a higher price for something that's very clean, complete, and in working condition. Use the eBay "Sold Listings" advanced search option to figure out if it's remotely worth your time to clean/repair the machines. Otherwise, if you're selling them as-is, offering them at a reasonable or bargain price either locally or at any vintage computer events you might be attending is often the most hassle-free to be rid of excess hardware.
 

roberttx

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They seem to have gone up in value, in the USA at least. I had another crack at searching ebay and bare breadbins seem to reliably bring $50 to $60 including shipping, sold as untested or parts/repair.

I will probably get one working system together, for a few reasons: (a) to play with myself - it's 30 years to the month since I last messed with a C64, (b) I have some neat adapters that I'd like to try out, including an IEEE488 and a Centronics, leading to (c) if the IEEE488 adapter works I could use it the test the 8050 disk drive that I don't have a PET for.

The uncertainty is in whether it's worth testing them all in bulk. If I can clear $30 to $40 a piece untested (call it $20 for shipping) how much extra would testing them net me? Here, ebay is less helpful as the higher end sold listings tend to be for bundles and I don't have enough PSUs or cords to go around. There are some listings, though - a guy in CT is clearing $110 for Seller Refurbs and a guy in NY is getting $75 for tested ones (plus shipping in both cases).

Going with the $75 option, that's an extra $35 to $45. Double the money, but only for any that turn out to be fully working. Set that against the time that it would take me to test dozens of units and you can see where my hesitancy comes from.
 

glitch

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Understandable. It's like with most of the S-100 boards I sell, and to some extent the assembled XT-IDEs: it's *some* extra money, it doesn't come near what I'd be making if I spent my time doing billable contract work, but I like doing it :)
 

NeXT

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Photos, plus selling as a lot and preferrably someone local. I think anyone who has tried in the past to sell piece by piece has found you'll be completely overwhelmed with people asking for an unnecessary amount of photos, weather things work or not, if they were stored in a specific environment, if you have certain hardware or if you can ship only one or two things or worse hold on for a little while because they need to get the cash but they promise they'll pay you within six months. The worst of the bunch are the folks who try to make you separate complete kits for random objects, especially keyboards.

My only other warning is to screen your buyers if you want to sell as a lot. You'll find a lot of goldbugs, legit hoarders, resellers and general scum trying to screw you out of your hardware.
 

roberttx

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Understandable. It's like with most of the S-100 boards I sell, and to some extent the assembled XT-IDEs: it's *some* extra money, it doesn't come near what I'd be making if I spent my time doing billable contract work, but I like doing it :)

Exactly! As long as it's fun, that's one thing and I'd certainly enjoy getting one system up and running and playing with some of the adapters, but I think the entertainment value might fall off sharply once it became repetitive.

Photos, plus selling as a lot and preferrably someone local. I think anyone who has tried in the past to sell piece by piece has found you'll be completely overwhelmed with people asking for an unnecessary amount of photos, weather things work or not, if they were stored in a specific environment, if you have certain hardware or if you can ship only one or two things or worse hold on for a little while because they need to get the cash but they promise they'll pay you within six months. The worst of the bunch are the folks who try to make you separate complete kits for random objects, especially keyboards.

My only other warning is to screen your buyers if you want to sell as a lot. You'll find a lot of goldbugs, legit hoarders, resellers and general scum trying to screw you out of your hardware.

I recognize every one of those. You forgot to mention the resellers who try to get you to ship stuff in an undersized box, to reduce the S&H charges. If it makes it intact, they've increased their profit margin, while if it gets damaged, they just file SNAD and get their money back. It's win-win for them and lose-lose for the seller.

Fortunately, my company sells stuff mail order on ebay and other platforms, so once I've had my fun I'll just drop them into the workflow there.
 

Unknown_K

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Most of my C64 gear was free, but that was a few years ago. Seems like people are buying them now.

Local supply and demand is what dictates if the time is worth it to clean and test or not. On ebay you have more eyes, but more competition, plus shipping.

Craigslist here had a C64,monitor,2 drives, printer and some software and manuals listed for $200 and it might have sold.
 

Unknown_K

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I recognize every one of those. You forgot to mention the resellers who try to get you to ship stuff in an undersized box, to reduce the S&H charges.

I guess you never had a seller try to ship you a small item in a box meant for a microwave? All you get is a box with little packing so the item will bounce around and a much inflated shipping bill.
 

roberttx

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Just a brief update, to report back on how this all turned out. After several months of dithering, yesterday I bit the bullet, grabbed a big armful of C64 gear and went in to work while it was closed.

The first step was identifying a good PSU. I had taken three with me, the first one was no good, but the second worked fine, so I never tested the third. I then set about doing some minimal testing of the C64s.

I got lucky, in that the first one I tested worked fine. This let me test a 1541 FDD and, after a quick go with a head cleaner, I was able to load a program from disk. I then set that C64 and 1541 aside - they had become the "known good" articles that will form the core of my test bed.

After that, I tested and listed on ebay half a dozen C64s. The testing was minimal - can they boot to BASIC and can they load a program from floppy disk? In each case the listing gave full details of what I found, warts and all, to the extent that in one case I noted that the presence of random "(" characters probably meant that U10 was bad.

One machine passed all the tests but was missing the F1/F2 key. However, the post was intact, so I designated another, failed machine as a donor - not to be listed and stole the key from it. That, now complete, machine went up for $75 OBO, the others - all of which had issues ranging from "bad chip but complete keyboard" to "good chips but missing keys" went up for $50 OBO.

It's my hope that buyers will be attracted by the honest listing of flaws versus other sellers who say (possibly falsely) "untested". At least they'll know what they're getting into, as opposed to buying a pig in a poke.

I capped the listing at six and will see how they do before testing any more. Later today, I might sneak in again and do the same with half a dozen disk drives. That's a much as I feel comfortable doing right now - I have a lot more, including later model C64s, 1571s and at least one C128, but they're randomly dispersed and I really want to get them all in one place so's I can do an audit and figure out exactly what all I have before I list any more. There are also printers and monitors that need testing.

So, despite my bleating about how it wasn't worth the time it would take to test them, in the end I just couldn't bring myself to offer them completely untested. I guess that's the difference between being a hobbyist versus an all-out flipper. Admittedly, I could have done more testing - like trying to write to a disk, for example, but you have to draw a line somewhere and I'm happy with where I've drawn mine.
 

Druid6900

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FWIW, I've found that, if you have working units to show, in good condition, you end up getting more.

I've also found that, if you have a number of the same item, you should put them on one at a time. Otherwise, you're competing against yourself.....
 

roberttx

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I've also found that, if you have a number of the same item, you should put them on one at a time. Otherwise, you're competing against yourself.....

That's a very good point and it's one that I considered. In the end, though, I concluded that offering half a dozen units, all different, would be useful from a market research perspective. What do people care about? Is a bad RAM chip less of a turnoff than a bad PLA? How about the keyboard? Hopefully, the response to these listings will answer those questions.
 
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