Vintage computers aren't your typical collector's item, but some of the earliest PCs from the 1970s and 80s are already starting to command big bucks in working condition. This is particularly true of models that preceded the volume production IBM PCs and Apple Macintoshes, such as MITs Altair 8800 (1975) and 680 (1976) kit computers, Apple IIs with low serial numbers (1977), early Commodore 64’s (1982) and Apple Lisas (1983).

Aside from the above, there are plenty of vintage computer names to collect, including Compaq, Kaypro, Amiga, Sinclair, Franklin, Xerox, Digital Equipment, Atari, Heathkit, Texas Instruments, and Silicon Graphics. With vintage computers, displayability is key, so make sure you get all the accessories, software, manuals and power cords you'll need to run your vintage machine.

Also, keep your eye out for vintage computer-related paper items and ephemera. Some early magazines, like the famous January 1975 Popular Electronics issue featuring the Altair 8800, can fetch over $100.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Chips Etc.

Chips Etc.

Computers are upgraded more frequently than fashion, which means there’s a lot of obsolete hardware out there for… [read review or visit site]

Computer History Museum

Computer History Museum

Collect computers? This California-based museum's website has several excellent online exhibits, including an exten… [read review or visit site]

Old-Computers.com

Old-Computers.com

This gallery of over 900 vintage computers is notable for its comprehensiveness. Each model includes a text descrip… [read review or visit site]

Classic Computer Magazine Archive

Classic Computer Magazine Archive

If you collect early computers, you'll enjoy this site. Assembled by Kevin Savetz and a group of volunteers, with p… [read review or visit site]

IBM Archives

IBM Archives

An extensive collection of computer-related artifacts and reference information, plus a detailed history of IBM. St… [read review or visit site]

Oldcomputers.net

Oldcomputers.net

Steven Stengel's showcase of old computers from the 1970's and 80's. Also includes a reference section on old compu… [read review or visit site]

Classic-Computers.org.nz

Classic-Computers.org.nz

Terry Stewart's deep dive on vintage computers features an exhaustive tribute to the Dick Smith System 80, a TRS-80… [read review or visit site]

Early Office Museum

Early Office Museum

This site showcases pre-1920 office antiques, including paperweights, writing ink, paper fasteners, seal pressers, … [read review or visit site]

The Vintage Knob

The Vintage Knob

The Vintage Knob is an extensive resource on all types of audio electronics organized by manufacturer, from Aiwa to… [read review or visit site]



Other Great Reference Sites

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Recent News: Computers

Source: Google News

Winslow Boy's Ambitions Outgrows Parents' Home
WABI, February 20th

Many home basements are entertainment centers, laundry rooms, or simply filled with a bunch of worthless stuff but not the one owned by the Jason family. Alex Jason has a collection of nearly 200 Apple computers. “I realized well these vintage...Read more

Radio Shack may die, but its '80s-era portable PC lives on
Cult of Mac, February 19th

He passed away a few years back and the group now sees itself as a hobbyist vintage computer club. Hanson would sometimes show an unknowing visitor just how tough the machine was by throwing a Model 100 across the room at a wall and then turning ...Read more

Looking back, the Macintosh Portable was about as portable as a sack of potatoes
Digital Arts Online, February 18th

But look, I stood in a park with my iPhone on a tripod repeatedly lifting a sack of potatoes and vintage computer hardware for you, so this is the least you can do for me.) It probably won't feel bad at first, but after a few minutes – unless you've...Read more

'Letter to a Future Lover' by Ander Monson
Boston Globe (subscription), February 17th

He finds an antique computer punchcard (emblazoned “DO NOT LOSE”) in the shelves of an engineering library and wonders whether “[a]ll technologies are just a screen.'' He finds the binding instructions for a journal (“bind in everything”) bound into...Read more

Winslow teen looks back at forward-looking Apple
Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel, February 16th

Alex started collecting randomly with six vintage computers he bought in Bangor and a collection of over 100 items that he bought from Re-Books in Waterville, but over time he has started to focus the collection on Jobs' time at Apple. “The most...Read more

'The Oregon Trail' among thousands of vintage computer games now free online ...
OregonLive.com, January 14th

It's not so hard being a pioneer. I made it from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon City in just over three months during the summer of 1848. Sure, the four other members of my family died, I only had one ox left, and I arrived in Oregon with dysentery...Read more

Transistor Sister remakes vintage computer parts as circuit chic
The Seattle Times, September 21st

Steve Grzadzielewski has more than a million electronics parts lying around his house in West Seattle. But he's no engineer — Grzadzielewski and his sister Susan make and sell jewelry made out of vintage electronics parts. Their business, aptly named ...Read more

These Vintage Computer Ads Show We've Come a Long, Long Way
TIME, August 13th

These Vintage Computer Ads Show We've Come a Long, Long Way. TIME Photo. Aug. 13, 2014. SHARE. These ads from the 70's and 80's remind us of a time when computers came in briefcases and cost "Under $18,000!" These Vintage Computer Ads ...Read more