Taking Inventory


My boondoggle with my HP80 was a sobering moment and I decided to organize my books a little and extract some data on what I have spent on this HP calculator hobby since reviving it just 8 short months ago.

I have tallied cost of items, including shipping and customs charges where applicable. I have included all HP calculators and peripherals purchased, plus other extras like fresh rechargeable batteries, magnetic cards, and thermal paper. I have included actual or estimated repair costs with Randy (three units are still in progress) and the cost of getting the items to him. I have NOT included shareware donations for emulators, nor the couple of small TI purchases I made. For comparison to prices I see on TeS or in our classifieds I have converted the numbers to US funds using a fairly generous exchange rate.

I won't give an exact bottom line, but I can say that I have spent the equivalent of a very nice holiday cruise for two. Mind you, I
have gone from two HP calculators (only one working) to 18, all fully functional. I have acquired some very nice pieces, including a positively beautiful 15C that I am afraid to touch, and all of the HP41 modules and peripherals I couldn't afford when I was a student. I have nice examples of great historical interest for me (like the 65 and 45 and the 14B anniversary edition, and my latest, the 34C), plus well worn work horses that I actually use.

Being a Canadian buyer I have been affected at times by higher shipping costs, a fluctuating rate of exchange, and a wildly disparate and erratic application of customs charges. (Note to my US friends--Canada Customs seems to care little about the little green sticker, no matter what the amounts are. Fill out the big white form, and the package will get assessed!) I have spent too much for things out of inexperience, but on balance I have encountered relative bargains when my desire and availability were well aligned.

A few years ago, the very private (and recently deceased) Canadian billionaire and art collector Ken Thomson was in the news when some of his pieces on loan to the Art Gallery of Ontario were stolen. When they were recovered, he attended at the police station personally, and article mentioned that he spent the night with the pieces (I believe they were ivory carvings from the 18th century) in close proximity. He said something like "it is not good to get too attached to things, but these are very very special things."

It is funny that I feel likewise about these darn calculators. Someone warned me about catching the bug, and I did indeed. Alas, looking at the spreadsheet and the rows of little machines near my desk, I like to hope that thirst is slaked for awhile.

I wish at times I were one of those incredibly blessed people who just seem to stumble across these things--a box of 41s at an estate sale, a working 65 at a yard sale for 5 bucks, a red dot 35 just found for the taking in one's new place, etc. But I haven't been. Nonetheless, I feel greatly fortunate to have the flexibility and freedom to indulge this hobby and to enjoy it immensely, and to be able to share in a Forum like this where all of this rambling is bound to make sense to someone.

Just thought I would share that :)



The secret to no regrets is not to keep track of the expense. I think the calculators in my boxes cost me more than a new car (the high end kind). Then again, what use for a new car when the old runs just fine ?


I have decided to focus on scientific programmables. The HP45 is a great bit of history but by today's standards doesn't do much ;) I have posted a very detailed description of what I would like to pass on in the Classifieds.


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