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Vintage computers in the wild - going extinct?

dreddnott

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Apr 4, 2006
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Hesperia, California, USA
Since the local electronics recycler I used to work for shut down, I've been having more and more difficulty actually finding vintage computers. The local thrift stores, Salvation Army, etc. have all basically dried up. I haven't seen anything solidly vintage around for years. Yard sales are a joke, I can't find anything slower than a Pentium II.

The last thing I got was a Unisonic Tournament 100, and that was a couple years ago.
 

barythrin

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Oct 5, 2005
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Texas
Unfortunately true. A lot of my resources have dried up as well. We do have a vintage gaming store called Game Over (shameless plug to them for being cool) although those are games usually and not that common to have computer stuff (Lots of Coleco, Intellivision, Atari, etc). I was lucky enough to find quite a nice collection of CoCo stuff there last time I went.

For actual systems I've just been hanging around here and a little bit of fleabay although that tends to make the prices jump up quite a bit for no practical reason.

Sometimes Goodwill's will have stuff, possibly Salvation Army or pawn shops but yeah I don't know how to get to our local junkyards or things like that to try and intercept hardware or if they'll even do anything like that.

- John
 

Mr.Amiga500

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Canada
Yeah, it's all eBay now. This is true for almost all vintage stuff - antiques, books, etc. Even the few people who don't know about eBay have seen shows like "Antiques Roadshow" and know that any of their old junk could be worth big money. I bet prices in the future will get even higher.

It's a tragedy for the deal-hunter, but I suppose it could be worse. Imagine if all the old computer stuff you find on eBay was just thrown in the trash because people assumed it was worthless. The prices are extreme, but at least you can still get it if you really want it.
 

linemanduke

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Mar 22, 2006
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marietta georgia
it seems pretty easy to find stuff here in Georgia, I found my pc/xt at a garage sale for $1.50, my tandy for 3 dollars at the thrift store, my coco and my ps/2 70 were free at a computer recycle day, got my second ibm ps/2 p70 at the thrift store for 2.50. i guess they are just very plentiful here in Georgia.
 

Unknown_K

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Ohio/USA
You can still find the older stuff, but its not like you will trip over them like 10 years ago.
 

tezza

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New Zealand
It's very hard to find vintage (286 and back) stuff where I am.

Our local auction site is about the only source, and things are few and far between on that.

I guess most stuff is in the hand of collectors or junked already.

Tez
 

creepingnet

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Feb 25, 2005
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Sparks, NV
The 8088 and 286 stuff is a pain to find. I already have 3 8088's and one 286, that 286 I'm holding onto for dear life, it's one of the systems I own that I'm the proudest of my work on (especially since it has a modern DSL internet connection and is actually somewhat useful on it).

386's and 486's are starting to dwindle too. It used to be I was tripping over 486's at the local thrifts. Now I have a few too many, so I might pass em' onto people who'll give em' a good home at a low price because I feel bad that soon all the numbered x86 CPU stuff will be gone for the most part. Pentium's are just starting to get scarce, I see a Pentium II or so every so often, and it seems most of the stuff I find at the recycler who lets me take stuff for free is Pentium III or newer, you can practically get a new computer for the cost of a hard drive at those places.
 

barythrin

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Actually I forgot although their also drying up but HAM radio trade show things are one way I find stuff occasionally although the last few haven't had much vintage computer stuff. But in the last 5 years I've found a few systems worth getting. (Vic-20 +cassette drive, and games; AT&T 7300; Mattel Aquarius)
 

dreddnott

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Hesperia, California, USA
The best thing I was able to find at the last HAM radio show I went to was a Super Nintendo in good shape for $10. Two controllers and four games, not too shabby, but not exactly vintage yet!
 

Unknown_K

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Too bad I didn't pick up an IBM XT years ago when they were around, going to be harder or expensive to do it now (not that I have room anyway).

Thrifts don't seem to get computers around here (I did snag a nice 486 VLB desktop last year), but you can find older machines on freecycle if you ask around.

I still think if you look around long enough you can find anything you want at a reasonable price, or you can hit ebay.
 

nige the hippy

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Apr 7, 2006
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Luton UK
The local tip has 286s and newer by the bucket load (you can't get that many in a bucket!), but generally nothing older. The real problem with the UK (and probably the rest of europe) is that most legitimate charity/junk shops won't take/sell electrical goods as they can't sell them without doing a portable appliance (PAT) electrical safety test.
All the less legitimate ones seem to close down regularly due to handling stolen goods, it's bad news.
 

carlsson

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Västerås, Sweden
My local Salvation Army store has had a Macintosh SE for a long while. I powered it on, and it boots up fine, just the keyboard is missing. Still, I'm not interested in rescuing it even for 50 SEK (4 GBP, 8 USD).
 

Mr.Amiga500

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My local Salvation Army store has had a Macintosh SE for a long while. I powered it on, and it boots up fine, just the keyboard is missing. Still, I'm not interested in rescuing it even for 50 SEK (4 GBP, 8 USD).

I'd rescue it for that price. It's damn cheap. Hell, that's the price of a few rolls of toilet paper. (hmm.. should I wipe my ass or get an SE? Decisions, decisions..)

I just paid $50 for an SE. It had a keyboard and mouse though. I also got a Classic II for $5, but that one had no keyboard or mouse.

Yeah, these computers can't do much, but they sure do look cute.
 

willowmoon93

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Jan 1, 2008
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Green Bay, Wisconsin
Yeah overall vintage computers are harder to find these days "out in the wild". Pretty much the only way I have acquired any recently has been thru craigslist or freecycle. I had the one rare thrift store find of a whole mess of vintage computer stuff a few months back but that was the exception, rather than the rule.
 

carlsson

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I had a hard time to get rid of my previous Macintosh: an LC475 complete with HDD, keyboard, mouse, colour monitor and built-in 10 Mbps Ethernet. These are almost impossible to sell, but a local friend bought it for ~15 USD if I transported it to him for free.

Thus, a Mac SE would only be interested to me if I could reuse the monitor in some way. I looked it up, but it seems difficult and dangerous to play around.
 

Yzzerdd

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Oct 20, 2006
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Boston, MA
Those little Macs are really cool and to me are useful. ClarisWorks is what really seals the deal on their coolness. You can hook up a modem and dial around, use it as a fax machine, type papers on them, and it has a REALLY cool DB program similair to Microsoft's Access program, and even has a digital "roller" orgainizer. I also like alot of the programs that can run on them, and the fact that you can have a duck quack at you on the hour. I have ALL the manuals and even the little "welcome" packet with the disks for a Macintosh SE. I used to have the SE, but it was garbage. I also used to have a Classic II, but alas the SCSI drive died from falling off the shelf in the garage when I bumped it.

--Jack
 

dreddnott

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Apr 4, 2006
Messages
318
Location
Hesperia, California, USA
Mac SE is the hotrod of the 9" B&W series. I have a couple, along with my original Mac Plus. One of the SE's has a Radius secondary monitor card in it (goes to a B&W swivel monitor, which I don't have). I believe the SE 30 could handle upwards of 128MB RAM due to its fancy pants motherboard.
 
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