What's up with the crazy Apple II prices on eBay?

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I may be living under a rock, but I see prices of Apple II systems going over $800, while a II plus or IIe are still in the $200s. Any ideas?
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Javster

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Re: What's up with the crazy Apple II prices on eBay?

Eh.. To make it simple:
1- ebay sellers out of touch and un-educated in ways of classic computing
2- ebay sellers get $$$ in their eyes when they see "historic" Apple 2 stuff
3- economy, everybody is struggling as always
4- sellers expecting idiots to buy and not understand true value

This is not limited to just Apple Co. material. I sold an Amiga 500 power supply for $20.00 incl s&h.. It was promptly pointed out to me that I could have sold it for 275.00 on ebay. I highly doubt that!

Ebay sellers just see old stuff and automatically think its a rare and valuable antique. When in reality old computer hardware is scrap raw material to be recycled.

While I don't obsessively watch ebay 2x daily, I check it from time to time. I've seen material posted that hasn't moved in several years. Books selling for $300.00 that you can get a .PDF of from Asimov. Clock cards for $400.00, Disk II drives for $200. Boxes of floppies for $39.95, you get the idea.

I personally believe the heyday of ebay is over with, the uniqueness and pioneering spirit is long gone. I feel it died around 2006. It is little more than a "rote" and "procedure" buy-it-now gig. Just another online store with high fees.

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Re: What's up with the crazy Apple II prices on eBay?

I must respectfully disagree with you.

eBay has become a hybrid of the auction model. There are plenty of real auctions and plenty of buy it now.

I find the buy it now useful for items that I need now, but can't find.

Now onto prices.

eBay prices sometimes are not inline just like the gas station down the road that seems to be 75 cents a gallon higher than every other. Yet I see cars filling up once and a while as it is the first station of the highway. Just like in the real world, when no price controls are in place, some people try to sell for a premium and maybe just maybe they get some sales just not as many as if their price was low. As in the real world, some people are OK with that as a business model.

On the other hand, eBay is what the mainstream pay for an item when all is said and done. I know many people who won't pay $50 for an Apple IIe, because they are really into the hobby and have 20 of them sitting on a shelf. But to the guy who saw a news story on Apple and says to himself, I remember playing Oregon Trail as a kid, maybe I should check eBay and buy an old apple to play around with, he might pay $200 for a complete but working Apple IIe. Most collectible markets go through this.

I still remember when you could buy a 1961 Ferrari in the 80's for 10-15k that is now worth north of $300k, and don't get me started on what a split window corvette cost in 1978 when no one wanted them except die hard car guys... Then suddenly people with some spare cash to spend decide they want to reclaim some of their youth and the prices drive up.

Now onto your comment on books, I love my IPad. I have every PDF for most everything I work on. I can search I can look things up if I don't have the pdf, and I also tend to print and bind a lot of manuals as I prefer the paper version when actually sitting down to read. Now as for paying a fortune in your terms for a book. I just paid a "fortune" for a complete set of Altair manuals in a binder that match my system. Why would I spend a few hundred dollars on this, because it completes the set. Having original documentation to match my original restored Altair makes it a complete set. That's truly what collecting is, not hoarding. Talk to any one collecting Hummel dolls or Disney figurines and the lengths they go to find a single piece to make a complete set would astonish most people.

To put this in a computer perspective, I guess spending $500 on a serial card (not on eBay) would bother you... But when it's the only piece of hardware you need on a project, it's only a bonus when you find out it's one of the first 10 ever made and was used by the original designer to troubleshoot systems in house. Then it also has "history"

Now I know I normally don't rant much (Sorry SpeedyG, I'm taking your role today) LOL, but unless you understand the economics of things don't make assumptions on buyer and sellers on eBay and understand the market normalizes out to what people will pay. There has been a lot of attention to the vintage computer market recently and this has brought new money and people in, some of which can afford to pay a little extra to get what they want, and that does drive prices up each time. Will it price people out of the hobby, no... It may push people to learn more skills or find a different aspect to the hobby.
There will always be a place for the guy to get a fixer up machine from someones closet. He will just have to pay a little more and spend a lot more elbow grease to have a working machine (no more just chucking a dead card on a shelf because you have more, you will have to fix it), however it will come down to he/she will need patience, lots of patience, and there will be less fixer uppers eventually and more clean systems as people take care of what's sitting in the closet. That is after all the fixer upper basket cases come out of the wood work with the rising prices and then don't sell on ebay, so they get relisted for less and less each time until the do sell. Fixer Uppers will find their equilibrium prices. That's economics.

My wife is going though this now with selling some kids toys... eventually she lowers the price until it sells. But she understands that in kids toys (modern ones that are no longer used) at this time there isn't a collectors market, so prices will not be high. Now in 20 years when some guy gets nostalgic for one of his toys he had as a kid, then maybe, just maybe my wife will kick her self for selling it 20 years earlier for next to nothing on eBay.... then again maybe not...

Cheers,
Corey

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Re: What's up with the crazy Apple II prices on eBay?

What things actually sell for, even on eBay, is a very nice reference point to have. Frankly some Apple II items are getting scarce, and others that aren't soon will be. They no longer populate thrift stores and church rummage sales. Zip Chips. The big memory expansions, especially for the //c's. NoSlot Clocks (theoretically you can still get these in DIP packages new, hopefully the ProDOS mod software is still online). Even new limited quantity items like the CFFA cards. External white, 3.5" drives for the //c.

My own take is that I prefer to sell to an active collector/user, at slightly lower prices, directly so as to be cutting out the 500 pound gorilla known as eBay. It's faster for everyone, and if you're somewhat cautious, it works well. I've been selling little bits here on the 'fritter, and so people are starting to know me as a trustworthy vendor. I haven't had any real problems with buyers, other than selling low to them, and having them resell on eBay for significantly higher. Now on the high end stuff I'm more careful.

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Re: What's up with the crazy Apple II prices on eBay?

Javster,

We have a whole thread dedicated to this:

"This Is Laughable"

Start at the beginning. You will see that it covers most of what myself and others, have found on eBay.
As a matter of fact I just placed the $3000.00 IIe link there so folks can go look.

You don't have to start a new thread for your question. Smile

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Re: What's up with the crazy Apple II prices on eBay?

Corey986 wrote:

I still remember when you could buy a 1961 Ferrari in the 80's for 10-15k that is now worth north of $300k, and don't get me started on what a split window corvette cost in 1978 when no one wanted them except die hard car guys... Then suddenly people with some spare cash to spend decide they want to reclaim some of their youth and the prices drive up.

Oh, I'm going totally off topic here...Smile
When I was 19, the newspaper classified constantly listed little MG convertibles for < $2K for roadworthy models. Really wish I'd snagged one. Or two. I like small cars.

Back on topic, sort of, these "crazy price" ebay threads really do reflect ebay in general. Yes, there's people trying to gouge, and there's also bargains if you watch. Welcome to the free market. The thing is, as Corey notes, this applies to everything on ebay, not just Apple II stuff. I buy a lot of plastic models, and some of the prices are equally moronic to those you'd find in the Apple area. Kits I can order from Japan for Y800 (very roughly $8.00 USD at the moment), listed for $190.

So yeah, it's really a non-issue as far as I'm concerned. People are free to list for whatever they think they can grab, and people are equally free to not buy it.

Now, what's a real pain in the butt is the recent USPS rise in international shipping rates. As of Jan. 2013 some rates have gone up by 60%, which absolutely stinks for a buyer in Canada like me.

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Re: What's up with the crazy Apple II prices on eBay?

I'm just going to edit this post, and beg for mercy.

What I said was foolish and not thought out clearly.

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Re: What's up with the crazy Apple II prices on eBay?

Blimco,

Quote:

Personally, I think the ridiculous prices are great for sellers.

Thoughts: Say I have 3 or more apple ii computers for sale....
-Post one for buy it now price of $3000
-It probably won't ever sell at that price

-BUT-
-It will boost the prices of my other two systems and stabilize the ongoing prices as I buy and sell other systems.

-HOW-
-By creating the perception that these computers are sought after.
-Buyers will be happy when they get a ''great" deal at $500
-Less chance of returned products by weeding out buyers who just want something cheap (and are more likely to return the product)

I had to chew on this for a few minutes before I realized that actually what you are talking about comes under the heading of "Deceptive Practices".

Do you actually believe in and do what you are saying?

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Re: What's up with the crazy Apple II prices on eBay?

Thanks for the comments, guys. I thought there was something weird going on as I consider an Apple IIe faster and better than a II or II plus. Therefore I was under the impression that a II was not as valuable than a IIe, but judging by the prices on eBay, Thought I was missing something, maybe some kind of special hardware that made them more valuable than a IIe.

I agree with Mutant, personally I prefer to deal with this board people for quality hardware, but there has been times like the Joystick Mach III platinum that I was looking for and only found on eBay.

I have contributed to the "Laughable" thread, but that as I agree is just ridiculous.
Cheers

Javster

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Re: What's up with the crazy Apple II prices on eBay?

I'm deleting my own posts before I say anything more foolish than I already have

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Re: What's up with the crazy Apple II prices on eBay?

I'm going to go hide now.

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Re: What's up with the crazy Apple II prices on eBay?

Blimco,

No need to hide.
Look... Everyone up here has made mistakes.
Not one of us is perfect.
We have had to learn everything from experience.
Many of us started back in the late 70's early 80's.
I didn't even know eBay existed until 1996 and brother let me tell you; talk about being
dumb? I was Will Drysdale (No Time For Seargents) (Andy Griffith?).
Someone help me with a modern comparison. lol
A hick from back in the hills.
Anyway...
Don't hide, join in. Smile

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Re: What's up with the crazy Apple II prices on eBay?

For whatever reason it made really good sense in my head.
But uh yeah. Once I googled 'deceptive practices' I instantly saw it. Ouch

But no, I haven't ever sold anything on eBay.

I guess in the end, if the people who ARE selling items on eBay -honestly- believe that they are selling for a fair price, then they aren't breaking any laws. And if a buyer is willing to pay that price then that's fair market value. (As determined by the buyers) I'm still pondering what determines value. I guess it's a combination of nostalgia, function, and possibly asthetic value.

It would only be illegal, if they were deliberately trying to influence prices by posting items with the intent to drive up the prices on the items that actually do sell.

That being said, two sellers can honestly have different ideas on the value of identical items. And a buyer selling his items cheaper will still have the benefit of the reasoning I put forth earlier. And that is fair market practice.

I also see another benefit: a transfer of money from the upper class to the lower class.
People who are willing to pay $5000 for an original apple I I computer are certainly not average blue collar workers.
And in my opinion many of the sellers are supplementing their day job income. Seems to me that many civilization fall when all the money and power is held by the few while the majority is poor.

So any transfer of wealth from the upper class to the lower class -ought?- to be a good thing.

I think eBay could? Be a way for wealth to be transferred thereby keeping power balanced in out society.
Those last few sentences are probably open to hot debate.
But I like to play both sides of the argument for arguments sake.

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Re: What's up with the crazy Apple II prices on eBay?

I used to place a monetary value on everything in my Apple 2 series collection. Recently, though, the sentimental value is much more than $$$. Thus I'm glad to have not sold much of anything II related.

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Re: What's up with the crazy Apple II prices on eBay?

Keatah wrote:

I used to place a monetary value on everything in my Apple 2 series collection. Recently, though, the sentimental value is much more than $$$. Thus I'm glad to have not sold much of anything II related.

Good point. Wen I rather suddenly decided to get back into the Apple II world, I bought two machines: a nice, guaranteed working ][e, that came with 80 col card, super serial card, Hayes micromodem, Disk II controller, a TransWarp accelerator, and a DuoDrive, for $249. Then (knowing from my calculator collecting days that a "parts machine" is always good to have around), an essentially junked, untested //e Platinum for $50.

The ][e worked perfectly, as advertised. It was clean and in perfect shape aside from very minor discoloration and a few scratches on the case.

The //e Platinum looked as if it had been kept in a barn. I had to take it apart and blow crap out with compressed air before my wife would let me bring it into the house. All the metal connectors on the back (video, joystick, etc.) had visible rust. Socketed chips had corrosion visible on the pins. Two keys were completely dead and several were sticky and/or bouncy. A thick mat of animal hair and dirt completely covered the keyboard under the keys (I should have taken a picture).

So I cleaned it out (even took the power supply apart), scrubbed off the corrosion, and cleaned the case the best I could. I ordered some spare key switches and replaced the dead switches (when I took them apart, the metal contacts were essentially gone). The other problematic keys I unsoldered, disassembled, cleaned, reassembled, and resoldered.

The machine I bought as a junk parts machine now works perfectly, and I use it in preference to the nicer looking ][e. Because I've bonded with it, or something.

So I've ordered another junk machine, this time for $15. It looks even worse than the $50 one. The pictures show what seems to be one of those Applied Engineering upgraded power supplies, so if that works, it would be nice. But aside from cleaning it so it can be kept inside, I swear I'm not going to try to make it work. Really.

FWIW, I've gotten really, really good at key switch service. As I mentioned in another post, the key switches Apple uses seem to be mechanically identical to the Maxi Switch keys used in some old HP desk computers like the 9826/9836. I bought a professional desoldering station to handle those so removing key from the keyboard PCB takes about 5 seconds. If anyone out there has a keyboard with marginal keys you'd like me to service, let me know.

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Re: What's up with the crazy Apple II prices on eBay?

I still think, in a lot of cases with eBay, it's still the "Steve Jobs died" effect. It seems like a lot of the Apple II stuff on eBay started going north, price wise, after Jobs died. It seems that people thought with his death that would make the Apple II stuff that much more valuable and unfortunately there are stupid people on the buying end who have proved the sellers right.

Give it some time, I can't guess how much, and MAYBE prices will start to come back down as sellers are unable to move their Apple II stuff at the ridiculous prices they are asking.

Just my II cents worth.

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Re: What's up with the crazy Apple II prices on eBay?

I have had a good read through the posts on this thread, and have to ask as this is the pointy end of the apple II scene, what would you actually value the apple II as?

I acquired a US apple II plus,(I live in the UK) with monitor III, and disk drive, with games, and development stuff. what's LISA assembler by the way?

now.. my wife calls it a piece of junk, I call it my childhood, and the value I put on that, puts my price of what I would pay up. and to sell even higher.

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Re: What's up with the crazy Apple II prices on eBay?

barriz,

Sounds like a simple question doesn't it?
But its not as simple as it may seem.
There are many things being looked at on an Original Apple II.
Condition, Condition, Condition!
Case (Vented or Non-Vented)Non-vented case is worth more
Keyboard
Case Serial Number (The lower the number, the more it is worth)
Motherboard Serial Number The lower the number, the more it is worth)
Motherboard Revision Number (Rev 0 is best)
Power Supply
ROMs
RAMs
16k Blocks (Yes or No)
Aux Video (Single Pin)

There have been a few "FrankenApples" placed up on eBay for sale.
These have had combinations of case, and all parts mixed in with Apple II Plus parts.

An Original Apple II (a real one with non-vented case and really low serial number) went for about $23,000.00 up on eBay a while back.
It really has not been that long ago.
And yes....There are folks up here that look at each and every one of them.
I'm kinda bad about picking them apart myself, looking for the flaws and the "Ooops" factors.

Steven Smile

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Re: What's up with the crazy Apple II prices on eBay?

gsmcten,

I want to make one revision to your comments...

Non vented cases are worth a whole lot more... Like the average cost of a new car in the United States more!!!!!

That's all I wanted to say on that. Otherwise I think you are spot on.

Cheers,
Corey

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Re: What's up with the crazy Apple II prices on eBay?

just to put it in perspective, most of the current selling Apple II prices are similar or less than original prices - only that was in late 70's dollars. My Apple II (with 4K of DRAM and no extras) cost over $1400 in early 1978. A CPI (consumer price index) calculator indicates that that would be equivalent to $5020, today. Except for the slotless case variety, even at these prices, you are getting a bargain. Smile

Mike Willegal

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Re: What's up with the crazy Apple II prices on eBay?

Corey986 wrote:

gsmcten,

I want to make one revision to your comments...

Non vented cases are worth a whole lot more... Like the average cost of a new car in the United States more!!!!!

That's all I wanted to say on that. Otherwise I think you are spot on.

Cheers,
Corey

Hmm.. I think that 1700s serial that just sold on ebay was non vented... and went for $3000?

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Re: What's up with the crazy Apple II prices on eBay?

Nope...

If it's one of the surviving non vented, it would be a very low number (a lot less than 1700). The reason why they are rare is that Apple replaced most of the cases because they deformed from the heat and they were only for the initial shipping Apple IIs.

The last ventless case Apple II went for around 25k on eBay. The one before that was still over 20k but wasn't as nice as the one that went for 25k.

Cheers,
Corey

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Re: What's up with the crazy Apple II prices on eBay?

Corey,

I think you should look at my post again.
It does say that Non-Vented is worth more.

Steven Smile

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Re: What's up with the crazy Apple II prices on eBay?

That one that went for 3k the other day has the vents in the case. Still surprised that went for only 3k when other with much higher serials went for about that much recently. Never know who is looking or when they are ready (and how much they are ready) to pay!

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Re: What's up with the crazy Apple II prices on eBay?

I know you said more. I was making the point of a whole lot more!!!! Like 5x more

Cheers,
Corey

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Re: What's up with the crazy Apple II prices on eBay?

Zan8675 wrote:

That one that went for 3k the other day has the vents in the case. Still surprised that went for only 3k when other with much higher serials went for about that much recently. Never know who is looking or when they are ready (and how much they are ready) to pay!

If it's the one I saw the case was in pretty bad shape. Everything else looked good, but the paint was worn off all over the place. I'm pretty sure it wasn't just reflections because of how it looked when I zoomed in. Plus all they show is the system "booting" but now actually running. Now for most of us here no biggie but for some it is.

Better condition case and a couple of hours fixing anything wrong with it and it would be a 5k+ system easy. I should mention. Scratches easy to fix on a case with touch-up. Worn paint then you have to respraying and re splatter coat depending on how it wore.