10 valuable computer collectibles

These rare, vintage electronic devices can be worth thousands of dollars in auctions and other markets.

By Michelle V. Rafter, MSN Money

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Aug 14, 2013 12:03AM
Heck I got an old 10 meg RLL drive laying around , think it's worth anything ? How about my original DOS disk from my first computer I bought myself , Columbia DOS 1.25 on a DD 5.25 disk . It predates Microsoft by over a year and looks strangely similar , I'm pretty sure microsoft bought them out . I bet I can find an old CGI card and maybe even an interface card for that hard drive , the low level format command from debug was g=c800:5 as I recall . Ahh the good old days ...
Aug 13, 2013 10:49PM

Just a bit more?  Yup, been here before? 


TI-99/4A computer.  $99.  Expansion system, depending on cards in it, up to $1199. 


RS-232 card, hooked up to a surplus DEC LA-120 line printer/terminal.  Memory card.  Dual floppy drives, 10mb hard drive, Extended basic module, speech module, Epson RX80 printer?  Then, a manual modem (300-baud manual). 


I couldn't find a database program for it, so I wrote one, similar to dBase?  I worked at an electronics store/TV store, and we had an early VHS tape rental system.  I needed to track rentals/returns.  I also printed available titles.  On the TI-99/4a, this was very memory-limited, so was menu driven, written to a file on a floppy disk.  The system at work wrote to a floppy, the floppy went home with me, and was processed.  Yup, 2 systems, but the one at work was a bare-bones expansion. 


The customers were given a 4-digit code card, and all the tapes had a 4-digit code.  Pretty easy to track who had which tapes, who was overdue, and even how much the extra day cost?  I could even track which titles rented regularly, and which didn't.  Power of a data-base?  This was 1985...  On a lowly TI-99/4a system! 


I forgot, I was also taking a Computer Science class at the time, and up-loaded my homework to the school computer to my account?  I was a lab assistant in the evenings. 


So how did I end up being a truck driver the rest of my life?  It PAID better!  I took the computer classes (Cobol, etc) but already knew how to program in Binary, Assembler, Pascal, Fortran, LISP, Basic...  In school, I found that I was teaching the teacher, more often than not?  The JOBS paid minimum wage...  Jeez, I knew Cobol in 1968! 


Driving trucks, doing about 170,000 miles a year, I netted (take home) about $65,000 a year. And I was home ever 6 days, for 3 nights off!


I WAS a computer pioneer, but there wasn't any money in it.

Aug 14, 2013 11:02AM

I worked on a Sycor 340 in 1975 that only had 1 K of RAM. It was cutting edge stuff. The next year they doubled it to 2K. People wer swooning at the power. In the late 70s I ran hospitals with 96K of RAM and 10 MB of storage. Amazing.My cellphone has more power now.


Aug 14, 2013 7:03AM
I had a Coleco Adam. It had a tape operating system and the OS had plenty of bugs. No wonder it died.
Aug 13, 2013 11:05PM
Wow!  That was good money in those days!!  Still is, really!  Did you take computer classes at a university?  Did you teach yourself some of the languages?  I enjoyed teaching gifted 1st through 6th graders how to program in BASIC (Beginner's All-purpoSe Instruction Code.)  They drew their own graphics on graph paper with an 8x8 dot matrix in hexadecimal code.  In 1980, they were so cute!  Now they're parents and grandparents, using all of the modern technology.  Back then, I couldn't find a magazine on the rack that carried articles about computers.   Now, you can't find one without it!
Aug 13, 2013 10:51PM
I still have my original TI-99/4 computer and the cartridges to go with it.....and copies of every glossy hard stock advertising shot made with Bill Cosby.  I worked for Texas Instruments in marketing educational products.  Speak & Spell, Speak & Read, Touch & Tell.......it was a blast!  I wonder if they're worth anything yet?  Also, I worked for Scott, Foresman Electronic Publishing Company.  Wasn't it fun to open the lid to the old Apple II's and insert cards into the "mother board?"  And flip those dip switches on the printer card?  Ha!  64K of memory!  The TI-99/4A had 16K of RAM.
Aug 14, 2013 11:04AM
In the 80s I tried unsuccessfully to download an OS from Sarasota, FL to the American Express office in Buenos Aires. After a week of trying, I flew to BA with a 360K floppy to download the OS to the system.
Aug 14, 2013 7:54AM
The Commodore PET computer I remember had a built-in floppy drive, and no hard disk.

Beware, some of those values are asking prices, not what people are actually getting.  As with anything else - read carefully and be skeptical.

Aug 14, 2013 1:44AM
I have a 40 Mb hard drive on a card which was the only way to add additional hard drive storage way back in the early days of the PC.  Used it in a Compuadd PC, took two ISA slots.  Still works - at least the last time I fired up the DOS Compuadd. Even have the original box.  Payed $400 for that drive back in 1988 or 89.
Aug 13, 2013 9:55PM

Argh!  I had an Altair in 1975!  Had to teach myself Binary to program the beast?  It ended up running the hot water heating system (with old fashioned radiators) in the house.  Light and air temp sensors on the outside?  Actually, did better job than just the inside thermostat?


How about a Compaq Portable computer with a 10mb hard drive, and the nylon carry case? 

Aug 13, 2013 7:37PM
I have a Tandy 102 laptop with co-processor and extra memory with a outboard floppy drive. It's the 101 that's collectable.
Aug 13, 2013 7:34PM
The only two things that made sense to me were the enigma machine and the Apollo computer. Maybe the ibm chip, maybe. But the rest just seem a little too unimportant to be worth my time. Sure they were great stepping stones, but not much else.
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