Finance Gear and Gadgets Technology

4 rare pieces of retro tech that could fetch a fortune online

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Are you sitting on a retro goldmine with your old pieces of unused tech?

Michael Ayres is a valuations manager with H&T Pawnbrokers, who specialise in buying and selling designer clothes, jewellery and electronics. Here, he talks about four examples of retro tech that are currently selling for a fortune online.

If you have a drawer or box at home that’s filled to the brim with old phones, music players and other electronic gadgets that you’re not quite sure what to do with, you could be sitting on a fortune. Far from being redundant technology, many vintages gadgets have made a comeback as collectible items. A resurgence which is no doubt influenced by the increasing popularity of retro records, video games and photography.

So don’t throw your old tech away just yet. It’s worth doing some research to find out how much your old gear is worth. Make a note of the following products, and be on the lookout next time you clear out your attic or garage.  You could have a fortune on your hands.

Early Apple tech and iPod Classics

As evidenced by the story about an unlucky woman who donated an original Apple-1 computer worth $200,000 to a charity shop without realising its true value (NBC Bay Area), many early Apple products are now highly sought-after collectors’ items. So if you have any old Apple products hidden in your garage, you’ll want to see how much they could fetch at auction: sites like eBay are a great place to get a sense of how much your collectible could be worth.

It doesn’t need to be an antique to be worth a fortune, though. Recent models such as the iPod Classic, which Apple stopped manufacturing back in 2014, are also in demand. Prized for their unrivalled 160GB storage capacity — roughly 20,000 tracks — the iPod Classic is still sought after by music-lovers globally. Many are willing to cough up some serious cash to get their hands on one. Classics in their original packaging are currently fetching as much as £500 on eBay. While used models in good condition can expect to make £150–200. It’s well worth raiding your attic to see what you might have.

Polaroid SLR series

Polaroid SLR

The faded, saturated look of vintage photography is seriously popular the moment. Just look at the success of apps like Instagram, which allow users to add vintage-effect filters to snaps taken on smartphones. Even though there are currently digital Polaroid-style cameras on the market that imitate the style of the original, for many photography fans, there’s nothing quite like the real deal. That’s why original 1970s and 80s Polaroid SLR cameras have begun to rake in as much as £600 online. The SX-70 One-Step and SLR 600 series are some of the most popular models among collectors.

When selling cameras, the condition of your antique is especially important. Don’t be surprised if your buyer needs more details about how well your camera functions. If you have any original film, straps or cases, these are also likely to improve the value of your camera. So perhaps considered selling them as a bundle.

Record players and original vinyl

Vinyls were once thought to have been consigned to the history books after CDs were invented. But they’ve enjoyed a huge comeback in recent years. The mania for original vinyl records is thought be a reaction to the digitisation of media. It has left many music fans longing for something they can physically collect and display.

It’s good news then if you have an old record collection gathering dust in the attic, with sites like Hard To Find Records keen to pay cash for vinyl. Original record players are also in demand: check out this round-up of some of the best vintage turntables from The Vinyl Factory, including estimates for how much they sell for.

Original Nokia mobile phones

In the age of the smart phone, you’d expect any mobile without an internet connection to be considered worthless. But that’s no longer the case. Once derided as ‘bricks’, heavy antique handsets like the Nokia 3210e have been known to fetch over £5,000 on eBay. It’s thought that nostalgia for our childhood mobiles is driving the comeback. Young people who were teenagers during the peak of their popularity are now buying them as collectible items.

If you have a few old mobile phones lying around, take a look at what similar models are making on auction sites. You can usually find the model number located at the bottom of the case. You should be able to use this to establish how much it could be worth. Mobile Phone History has a handy guide to the make and model numbers, including advice on how rare each style is and what you’re likely get for it at auction. Remember that you’re more likely to fetch a higher price for it if you have the relevant accessories, like cases, chargers or the original packaging.

Many of us have a fortune sitting in our garage or attic, and we don’t even know it. So the next time you decide to have a clear out, it’s worth taking the time to sort through your old tech and see what similar items are going for online. You could stand to make a decent wad of cash.