If he's looking for how much it's worth, your probably not going to get it withought loosing an arm and a leg. I if were you, i would of pressured the guy, told him it was a old peace of junk, and that i like collecting that type of stuff. I would also quickly offer him 5 dollars, and say take it or leave it, you will never get anything more from it. If he is your friend however, then i wouldn't be so agressive.
I get the impression that jizcp doesn't make very many 'good deals', but if his technique works, it only takes one such deal to make it all worth while (I mean, who wouldn't love to get five-dollar Altair?)...
I second that motion. As a human being dealing with other human beings, it's not worth screwing somebody whether they know they are being screwed or not.
For GreenMeanie - I would make a fair offer, and back it up with data. If the owner wants to make a killing on the machine, you are not going to get it anyway. If the owner wants a fair price and a good time, you'll be right where you need to be.
Yes, this is a tough issue, for people with lots of money, and for poorer people it becomes a great issue, because we cannot spend the true value, yet we still want the item, but for people with the money, they tend to want to make it fair for the seller. BUT, I will say this, I dont think anyone here would turn down a $5 altair sitting on a table at a yard sale.
It depends on the buyer's position I guess, sellers should always do research before selling an item however. Ignorance or laziness cannot become an excuse for people to expect someone to offer more for an item.
Also, in a situation where I was dealing with just one item, not a yard sale or such, I might offer more than asked, but if it were a yard sale or such, I would definitly grab that baby, pay and run.
I do similar almost every day, at on-line auctions. Sure, I'll bid $5.00 on something I know is worth $100.00, and once in a while it even works. Sometimes I feel bad for the seller, but I figger that if I hadn't won it for five bucks, someone else might've got it for four-fifty.
When someone asks my advice, I try to give a fair and honest appraisal, even when it's something I'm interested in buying for myself.
If someone offers me something at a named price I'll take it or leave it based on that - perhaps with some negotiation.
If someone asks me to appraise something I'll give them my absolute best guess as to the value of the item along with how I arrived at it. I usually do differentiate "eBay" prices from "collector" prices, but that's only informational.
I even go so far as to suggest venues for sale including eBay, the VCM and here.
So, if someone asked me what a Lisa 1 was worth I would tell them the real value even though that would easily price me out of being able to buy it.
In the case of Altair, it is so relatively well-known and sought after among collectors, that a half-hearted Google search will return a lot of useful pricing information. If it had been some other rare, but less heard of computer, it is probably easier to strike a great deal.
It also depends whether the owner wants to go onto eBay or likewise. Assuming it is someone who already isn't a member, he'd have a rating of 0, selling an Altair - if they came in a box, perhaps it is boxed too. People would be suspicious and misbid. The seller also can't be sure he won't get frauded, unless he as a new user has a clause about other new users. Add the hassle of packing, shipping and perhaps the neighbour offering to take it off his hands for a fairly moderate sum (or services - free window cleaning for a year) is a better option after all.