OT: James May's Top Toys


I just watched James May's (of Top Gear fame) "Top Toys" special.
One part was about model train collectors, which kind of had an interesting parallel to calculator (and other) collectors. The obsession with having original boxes, original condition, never use them, never touch them etc.

I loved it how he outbid the collectors for a classic collectable train and then tossed away the boxes and actually USED the model trains the way they were intended. Funny stuff indeed.



Interesting, I see two kinds of collectors:

1.  the for investment collector.
2. the for enjoyment collector.

My other hobby is watch restoration. Of course the HP 01 covers both collections. I was asked once why, "if the HP 01 watch is rare (relatively) and hard to repair if repairable at all" why would I risk wearing it?

I said; "for the enjoyment of it!" I am not here to sell the watch for a profit, although, I would if and when it is not required for enjoyment (never happen). It's like the collection I posted below. Yes I have 3 unused calculators that appear in their original boxes. An HP 67, the 32sII and a 42S. I have carefully removed them to preserve the boxes, and to hold and use the calculators, albeit with care!

I also use the calcs (not the HP67 except to test, as I have spares and it is museum quality).

The for investment collecctor is a different breed altogether. I have met some who almost know nothing about their collection or history. Just the value and value trends. Boring to me but when they convert the collection into money, not boring to them, I guess.



Further off topic:

Here is a watch of which there were 100 made, total production, and of which there are about 5 known. I found this in extremely sad shape (really sad shape) bashed around, scratches, gouges, dial faded, hands missing, mineral crystal in a mess. It took a year to source the original parts, the original manufacturer had none, redial, polish the crystal with diamond 3 micron paste (4 hours) and restore the case:

It is so rare it will be appearing in a book this fall on the history of the Glycine watch company. Even Glycine was looking for one for their museum which got washed away in a flood. Yes, I wear it when I am not wearing this restoration:

Edited: 19 Oct 2008, 10:35 a.m.


Geoff, I have been silently following your restoration stories here over the years and I just wanted to drop a line and express my sincere and deep amazement at your skill and patience. To pick just one of the many examples, I remember the HP 01 restoration from maybe a year ago where you showed us before and after pictures and it was simply breathtaking. Your skills are truly exceptional.

with great admiration



Hobbies are obsessions, Obsession defined as fun!

Cheers, Geoff

P.S I am sorry I am going to miss the meeting, it would be fun to meet the European members of this international group.

Have a pint for me!

Edited: 20 Oct 2008, 1:34 a.m.


The obsession with having original boxes, original condition, never use them, never touch them etc.

I don't understand that. For me, collecting is about using. It would be pointless just storing them in boxes, never touching them etc. HP calcs are never going to be solid investments (the 01 is the one exception). If you bought a stack of 15C's 25 years ago for making a profit today, you would have been better sticking the money in a saving account.

I have two machines in my collection that I am reluctant to use because they are in perfect condition. One is a fairly early serial 15C and the other a 32sII (!!!). I don't really like the 15C anyway so that never pains me but the 32sII does - I really like that one.

Anyway, I just don't understand collecting never to use.



I collect AND use the calculators I own. obviously, the current models (HP 50G, 20B) are pressed into daily service. The more treasured ones (48G, 41CX, 20B prototype and made-in-Malaysia 12C) are used sparingly but each machine have their share of the number crunching.

hpnut in Malaysia


I agree completely with using one's collected calculators -- there is something sad about seeing something that was made for people to enjoy and utilize lie unappreciated and unused.


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