Thought I would pose the question. Just watched a TAM sell on eBay for $910. What would make a Mac a collector's item, and which will be the most valued twenty years from now?
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The most valued macs will probably still be the original Macintosh, Mac TV, Mac XL, and the TAM. I can't imagine any circumstance that would drive down the cost of any of those four computers. The G4 Cube and the ANS could possibly become collector's items in the future, I think.
Prototypes will always command a high price, of course.
The ANS? I dunno about that. They are rare, and they are examples of engineering excellence, but the sheer size of the things and the obscure software they run I think makes them less appealing to the collector. I wish I was wrong on that account -- as the disposition of two ANS700's is something of concern to me at the moment -- and am willing to be corrected.
Due to the fact that its a behemoth running a strange OS, the ANS is even more appealing to me.
The TAM is definatly one of the jewels of a Mac collection. Depending on you location other models might be special, too. Like the Quadra 605 which was only released in the US or the Color Classic II which was only released in Japan (afaik).
Also, I believe the portable will get up there, and I agree that the ANS is a collectors item. Also 20 years from now, the cube definitly, the iMac possibly just because of its importance to apple's history.
dont forget about some of the mac clones like the outbound laptop/notebook.
Any of the CRT based iMacs that are still functional. Considering the issues with analog board failures, there likely won't be many of these left in another 5-10 years. Specifically the short lived blue dalmation and flower power iMac are, and will be big collector's items. The original clamshell iBooks are going to be collectors items (the keylime especially and it's already there). The 1ghz TiBook (assuming mint condition with no hinge issues) will also be big - the last classic/os x portable. I don't see the dual usb form factor iBooks or any of the aluminum PowerBooks being collector's items, if only for the fact that they have been made in higher volume that macs of the past. The Newton MP2000/2100 is also going to be insanely big (it's still there). Bear in mind that I'm basing these on current market situations and the philosophy of low volume units that were made towards the end of a production run for a series. (think 1988 BMW e28 M5 in N. America)
Because of the fact that computers are highly mortal, I think in the long run condition will have just as much to do with value than the particular model. I would guess that in 20 years, any functioning, non-yellowed, compact mac will be more prized than a TAM or a Cube, despite the fact that there were many models produced in large quantities- by that time, few will be functioning and in mint condition. Similarly, a Cube's collectibility will be largely determined by the presence or lack of the dreaded "mold lines," and if there are any other scratches on the case.
Other than the Portable, no Powerbooks? I don't really see it happening, but the 2400 seemed special.
I am betting that that will be the most priced laptop for apple. it's already half there, and owning one, I can see exactly why. They are the last expandable laptop, they have a nice 14" screen, and in general, they look slick. I vote hands down that will be THE most collectable machine
PowerBook 100 - at least functioning ones.
The Original Mac II (soon)
but I consider the pismo to be the most overvalued machine out there. (I have been wanting to say this for a while, but haven't for fear of angering others) Is it a great unit? Yes. Is it great enough to warrant the obscene prices they seem to fetch? Ummmm, no. Yeah, you could expand a pismo. In the world of 2000, it was an incredible machine. Back when using zip disks or floppies was valuable, yeah, it was great. In the world since (2003 on) usb flash drives, compact flash cards + pc card adapters, cd/dvd burners and such have essentially rendered the point of that capability to be "one more thing to lug around". Do I miss the rugged construction of that era? Yes.
Now, before anyone says that I've never used a pismo and don't understand, I have. I had a couple (a 400 and a 500) for a few months earlier this year. Fortunately, their overvalued status on the used market helped pay for my upcoming wedding. Granted, the pismos have firewire and capability for built in airport, but I don't see that really being enough to justify the premium they fetch over Lombards and wall streets. A tibook (if you are careful and know enough to look over the unit before you buy it) is a much much better buy for the money. Now, is a pismo worth more than a 500 mhz dual usb iBook - I honestly wouldn't pay as much for a pismo as i would for the iBook (even then, I'd cap that around the mid $300's) In reality, fair market value for a pismo is in the $200's, despite the fact that people are still paying close for $500 for them. Now, if you still use zip drives and use OS 9 (OS X performance is ok, but not great), it's a wonderful wonderful machine, albeit overpriced.
Bear in mind that this is coming from someone who bought a PowerBook 1400c/166 during the timeframe when it was in that same revered status (1999-2000) that the pismo is today. Every few years, Apple puts out a wonderful wonderful laptop that ends up getting a reputation that becomes a bit more than the unit really deserves. Let's see, there was the PowerBook 520/540 series, the 1400 series, the Wall Street G3, and now the Pismo. The bubble on the value of the pismo is going to pop really really hard. As someone who monitors the used market, sell em off while you still can. The market will soon be flooded with tibooks and aibooks (within the next 6-12 months) as people begin to migrate to macbooks. Once the tibooks were out for a few months, the 1400's resale values plummeted. I expect the pismo to follow suit.
remember, the pismo is the laptop form of the B&W G3 both introduced the same fetures to both platforms (desktop, and Laptop). (1gb RAM celing, 2x USB and Firewire Ports, simmilar processor speeds), everything except the ADB Port and Airpot card slot.
personally, I love my wallstreet. I feel if I keep it in good condition, it could hold value. but not as much as the $500 prices the pismos are going for. heck, I got it for $50, and havnt invested a penny more in it, and it is a reliable classic OS machine.
IMHO, the most valued macs will be the 6100, 7100, and 8100, as they were the first of the PPC era, just as the Macbook, iMac and mac mini are today.
though, Apple is trying a different strategy in this chip transition. instead of introducing 3 new machines, and offering (for a short while atleast) PPC chips for a few existing '040's, like the quadra 950, they are instead keeping the same machines, and just replacing the chips, and in the case of the powerbook (and most likely the Power Mac) rebadging it. however, the macbook is nothing more than a 15" powerbook with an intel chip, iSight, expresscard 34 slot, no FW800, and a new power connector. everything else is the same as the last revision.
oh, any macs from the Amilio era will be collectors items soon.
If you want to split hairs on a chipset level the "Pismo" is actually the laptop form of the slot-loading iMac. The "Lombard" is closer to being the B&W's counterpart.
another one might be the Beige G3 AIO cause they did only get sold to school's and most schools threw them out and not selling them at aution. that will make them rare but i dunno about collector's item mine is in flawlwss condition
I have an old Outbound Notebook that's almost in mint condition (I even still have the original dust jacket and bar to raise it up) running OS 7... If I sold it on ebay, what do you think it might be worth?