New to the world of vintage computer memorabilia? You're not alone in your fascination with old computer parts, whether it be chips, CPUs, computer hardware, or other ephemera. In fact, you're in good company! From hobbyist tinkerers to computer scientists, to historians, collecting vintage computer memorabilia has become a pastime for many in the past 20 years. Early in the 21st century, computer technology has been progressing in leaps and bounds, which has only served to make these markers of the past even more interesting.
For the new or prospective collector, here's a rundown of the many reasons why this pastime has caught on so strongly..
Hold a Piece of the Past:
Why do museums exist? It's always intriguing (and a valuable lesson) to see how we got from the past to where we are today. The same can be said of collecting vintage computer related memorabilia. Take an old Apple II computer. From ubiquity in the middle school classroom of the 1980's, the Apple II is now functionally useless: except for helping us understand Apple's reemergence as a huge player in personal computing.
What is Rare is Intriguing:
From baseball cards to stamps, humans have always had a desire to collect the rare, and to pore over things that are difficult to get. The difference with computer memorabilia? Some Vintage electronic components are becoming rare (old computers and CPU's continue to be melted down for their scrap gold content by precious metal recyclers), with only a few hundred or thousand in the world - collectors really do form an important link to preserving our technological past.
Tinkering for the Fun of It:
Collecting vintage computer chips & electronics doesn't have to be expensive. Many collectors choose to acquire vintage electronic parts so they can use them to get vintage computers, calculators and other electronic devices back up and running again. There's a joy in resurrecting something from the past and bringing it back to life.
Just like any other style decision, holding onto antique technology can say something about who you are. A Lucite paperweight embedded with a historical computer chip can add vintage flare to any office. Geek-Chic computer chip jewelry that showcases components from old electronics and computer technology are both fashionably fun & great conversation pieces.
The Glory of the Hunt:
For many collectors, the intrigue of vintage memorabilia lies in the chase. eBay of course is a great place to start, as are local flea markets, yard sales, thrift stores, and anywhere people might be cleaning out old collectible items they have long been forgotten about.
And Last But Not Least, as investments:
Some dedicated collectors have managed to amass large collections that are now worth real money, as vintage electronics items age from yesterday's junk to today's sought after collectibles. Some of the most dedicated collectors today have thousands of computer chips and CPUs that have become mini-museums in themselves (with estimated value to prove it).