Young collection growing...



Uh-Oh. I caught this bug 10 years ago, and it took me years to find, buy, and restore most of the models I wanted. It was the best hobby time of my life.

I still have the bug, but already have a pretty complete collection. But for me, I really enjoy restoration and then the beauty of these remarkable devices.

I hope you enjoy the years to come! Since I was buying all sorts of calculators, I had a motto/wish:

"Another day, another calculator..."


Remember that line from the film Ghostbusters when the professor-nerd character says he collects "spores, moulds and fungus"? I think he should have said "fungi" really but I digress. Most people would equate collecting calculators to collecting spores, moulds and fungi. Let's be honest about it, collecting calculators is not exactly the sort of hobby which is guaranteed to enhance your charisma during the Friday night party yet we do collect them and enjoy it a great deal.


If it isn't old hat, perhaps we could write a brief summary of why we do this odd activity and how we came to it? It is always good to see pictures of collections but a little bit of personal reflection on the hobby can be interesting too. I am sure this sort of thing comes up once in a while. Time enough for a new thread on "why we collect"?



Hi Mark.

Time enough for a new thread on "why we collect"?

I'm certainly not an expert but I believe that collecting is due to obsessive-compulsive disorder:





Hi John,

To be honest, I don't think OCD is accurate unless the collecting habit is causing lifestyles to collapse or go seriously wrong. Elements of the OCD definition are also traits that are perfectly normal in anyone who has an interest in something. Whilst I firmly believe in tracing the root causes for mental patterns, I don't think blanket labelling in the loose way OCD is used is in any way helpful. Many disciplines like to invent labels or terms that sound significant but in reality, offer nothing more than a pseudo-important sounding name with negative connotations.

At least collecting calculators (as long as they are actually used and not kept in their box unwrapped) provides healthy mental stimulus which is more than can be said for activities like collecting .. errr, .... Star Trek action figurines or Friends DVDs.

Everyone here will have a reason for collecting that stems from a particular set of conditions in their life and no one should feel ashamed or stigmatised by that just because someone somewhere decided to associate the word "disorder".


Hi Mark.

I'm certainly not an expert but I believe that collecting is due to obsessive-compulsive disorder:





Collecting is also associated with Asperger's Syndrome: (page 178).

However it appears this applies only to unusual objects which hopefully don't include calculators :-)
Incidentally I have about twenty HP calculators, but I am not a collector...


Edited: 27 Aug 2009, 7:27 p.m.


What are you then? How do you rationalize having 20 HP calcs?


What are you then? How do you rationalize having 20 HP calcs?

Hmmm... User? Your're right, I cannot rationatize on this. Anyway, I said that rather tongue in cheek. I used to use my 50g on a daily basis until June, but I hardly use it anymore as I am on vacations since then. I use the 33s more often lately. Some I don't use at all, like my 19BII, but I want to keep them even if this doesn't make much sense...

Here are some of mine.




Disorder, syndrome ... who cares? Some soak little paper squares of envelopes, others sort their little flat bits of metal. They call it a hobby, so why shouldn't we? We happen to enjoy the wonders of what a few bits of electronics can do in a handheld sized piece of equipment - and the many different ways it is implemented.

Whether we just appreciate the outer appaerance & functionality or open them up to study & fix - at the end of the day we get enjoyment from it.

Anyhow, that's my 2c worth. What do I know, like Gerson I'm a not a collector. I enjoy using the calcs, looking at them, showing them others who may ot may not be interested...



I think we all agree on the fact that calculators have many more practical uses than stamps or labels...

I remember having read that dinosaurs and means of transportation are usual obsessions in Asperger's Syndrome patients. Calculators do not fit any of these categories.

Dumb (and quite likely inaproppriate) question: has any Forum member been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome? There was a guy, a few years ago, who wrote he believed he had it; after a few bitter exchanges he disappeared.



has any Forum member been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome? There was a guy, a few years ago, who wrote he believed he had it; after a few bitter exchanges he disappeared.

I laughed out loud!


Don with AS string - WOW!

I started frequenting this site around that time but do not recall the string. What a read... It is hilarious!



Ah, the good ol' Quo usque tandem... thread!

Hilarious? Not so much, at least at the time... ;)



I thought this forum was a bit tamer than guitar forums. I stand corrected...



Your reference also states that the collection is merely for the sake of having rather than using or enjoying.

Going by the response to mini-challenges etc. on this forum, I'd say most use & enjoy at least part of their collection :)



Many disciplines like to invent labels or terms that sound significant but in reality, offer nothing more than a pseudo-important sounding name with negative connotations.

Agreed, especially the psychological disciplines. I have had a few conversations on this with my wife, who was a social worker (now a high school teacher: same thing). She says these syndrome or diagnosis labels are just convenient shorthand to refer to a group of symptoms. Unfortunately, in general usage they often come to define a person, and more often than not in a negative way, as you point out.

I'm not a collector; I'm more of an accumulator.

All my HP calculators, starting with a 41C back in '80, were bought new, when they were the latest thing. I wanted them as tools but also wanted to play with all the new features. I read through all the manuals and worked all the examples.

Since I kept the old ones, I eventually wound up with a bunch. All except for the 41C are still in working order and pristine condition.


This is a great start.. One thing that helped me put some context behind collecting HP calculators is reading some of the great literature written around these wonderful machines.

A great place to start would be: Wlodek's book: A guide to HP Handheld Calculators and Computers

I met him last year at last year's HHC conference - he is a gentleman and a scholar his presentations on Tensor Math with HP calcs has been a favorite of mine.

By all means avoid the other Collectors Guide book advertised on the page. With no offense meant to the author(s), it's incomplete, poorly printed, and in my opinion an extremely shallow information source compared to some collector websites.


Years ago I wrote an article about a German-American musicologist who had a fantastic collection of original manuscripts. He told me "Collectors are born, not made. Collecting is an instinct, like with the squirrel." He was also extremely gregarious, friendly and warm. No hint of Asperger's.

Thanks to this gentleman, I actually held a piece in Mozart's handwriting in my own two hands. Not to mention pieces and letters by most of the important contemporary composers of the first half of the 20th century. The memory of that afternoon is so moving that I am almost willing to forgive collectors of HP calculators and Leica cameras, who drive the prices up so high that I can't afford them. :-)

Although, I must say I have a few more HPs than I need, so maybe I'm becoming one of THEM....



I would say that anyone who has more than 2 or 3 calculators is a collector. Exceptions would be a situation where each calculator is different so fits a specialised purpose and is used for that purpose or a situation where many (potentially similar) calcs are acting as measuring/logging instruments. Otherwise, I think the conclusion is inescapable - the person is a collector - and there is nothing wrong with that either.

I am a collector of course and my interest is in certain series rather than having one of everything. I enjoy this on many levels but two areas which I appreciate greatly on this forum are the exchange of knowledge and the programming challenges. Keeping the brain alert by responding to these challenges which give you something to think about that otherwise wouldn't happen, is, no matter how you view collecting calculators, a *good thing*.

As for the various "syndromes" people might attach to all this, I have already made my views clear. They are a nonsense, a falacy and intellectualise or label an aspect of our nature that doesn't need it. The only people that benefit from it are the lawyers and doctors and the patient is made to think he/she has something wrong when they don't. A complete farce.



Nice collection. I particularly like the printing desktop (is it a 97?). And the 28S .. my 1st favourite.


No Voyagers or Pioneers in the collection though? Is that through choice or just not enough time/money yet? If through choice, I'd be interested to know why :)




I think for me it is mostly driven by finally acquiring and holding in my hands something I always wanted but never could. The HP41 came out when I was in high-school and very quickly became an object of great desire for me. Especially as the temptation was always there for me to see - some class-mates had a 41! One even had the whole chabang with printer, card-reader, wand, x-function, x-memory etc

Through painstaking trades, tutoring, bargain hunting etc I eventually also came in the possession of a 41cv with x-function and card-reader. And then even a Wand (very fortuitous event). Oh the wonders of synthetic programming, ever faster programs for solutions to quadratic and cubic equations, systems of linear equations,...

Yet by then there was the PPC module, CCD module, the famous CY, MCODE programming etc . And the 'true' owners of HP-41s had all of that and showed us the magic and wonders that can be had with this fabulous machine. Again I was left with 'look but don't touch' (great training for a guy during that whole puberty and early tweens period...)

last but not least, I'm also a very haptic person and simply love the feel of the hp-41 key clicks. Which later on cost me again in my voyage as a mini collector (see later down below)

So for the longest time, my collection solely pertained to the HP-41 and related accessories, incl HP-IL. Valenting Albillo gently but consistently pleaded the virtues of the HP-71 and as 'it also has an HP-IL connection' (post-event rationalization? nah...) I extended my collection to this very powerful machine and its accessories (which thankfully are smaller in number than the 41's). Last but not least, I learned about the HP-15c and got my hands on one. What a great form-factor! And that key click...Ahhh. Many in my profession use the HP-12c so I said, what the heck, lets get the Voyager series! And as of a few weeks back, where I finally found an affordable (hmm...) HP-10C this one is complete as well.

Having said all that, I think there is something true in the 'collectors are born, not made'. My dad used to collect stamps and it was a favorite bonding time for the two of us to spend Sunday mornings 'soaking little sheets of paper off envelopes' or go to the stamp auctions in Vienna. I now have his stamp collection (in the shelve right above my HP collection) and it is my most cherished piece of memory.

However, I consider myself a deeply interested user. I have read the manual and played/used at least for some time with virtually every single piece of my collection. I always desired to have them so that I can use them! So for example I was very keen on getting a RSU-2 unit as it provided massive amounts of RAM (which was used for my many digits of PI program in MCODE) but passed on a prototype 71b to a true collector. At work I used, for the longest time, a 41CY but after the price the last one fetched on eBay I am now hesitant to have it sitting around on my desk (I don't have an office, not even a cubicle. You have no idea how many pens I loose a week...) I tried my hand on the 15c in a couple of VA's 15c challenges as well as the 71b (with mostly no or disastrous results with maybe one or two exceptions). And the 16c was a constant companion while working on the Many-Digits-of-Pi MCODE program as I needed hex-dec conversion, word-size, bit-testing etc capabilities.

I generally enjoy solving problems of all kinds and learning new things, exchanging thoughts and ideas, etc. Though my skill level never excees amateur, I/m pretty sure that I would not have gotten so enamored with the HP-41, had it not provided an almost unlimited supply of learning opportunities.

Not to sound trite, but the tremendous wealth of kind help, support and learning that this community provided had (and continues to have) a very material impact on my pleasure related to these calculators. I've 'met' (or really met) some incredibly smart yet kind and fun people over the last few years here and the exchange of ideas, thoughts, programs, math etc here is a constant source of pleasure and recreation for me. Hence a great thanks goes to Dave for giving us such a great 'house' to meet and all the people here that make this such a great place to spend (too much) time.



Edited: 28 Aug 2009, 11:13 a.m.


I'd like to get a 16c but not necessarily the complete series. I'm mostly interested in models which offer unique capabilities.


12c - unique finance capabilities
15c - unique matrix and complex capabilities (surpassing the native hp41c which is why the came out with the advantage mod)


Without wanting to insult anyone here but the 12c, or other financials, are not really my cup of tea...

I did buy a brand new 10BII to use at the office but that will be it for financial calculators (well maybe the 20B, but it has trig functions!). Had HP offered a scientific with the 10BII form factor, I would have bought that isntead.


it's a 97 but modded (by the Los Alamos National Laboratory no less)...


I hope you are able to decipher the interface and let us know what it does.


It controls nuclear warheads diagnostics :-)


Looking at my collection pic, the HP-67 strikes me as a calc that means business. It looks really menacing...


It does have an all business look to it, and it's fairly hefty too. I routinely use a 67 at work and the 97 at home.

This is the part of my collection I use. I also have the other Classics (except for the 70) in a plastic bin under a bed. There's a 48G+ in the pic too but I really don't use it. Never got in to RPL much. The only HP I bought new when it came out was the 42s. I suppose I collect the classics now because I coveted them in high school but could never afford one.


The cabinet, nothing like Katie's thought, just the one although you can add the following which are not in shown in the following picture:

-  HP 48SX times two
- HP 21
- HP 12C 1984
- HP 12C 2008
- HP 12C 25th anniversary
- HP 11C
- HP 10C
- HP 35S
- HP 17B
- HP 32S
- HP 31E
- HP 38E times two
- HP 38C
- HP 34C
- HP 31E
- HP 35 prototype case
- HP 67 spare NOS 1976 case
- HP 80 times two
- HP 41CV
- two more HP-41CXs
- One tall keys 41C (yese they are actually taller as well as
more vertical)

Cheers, Geoff

Edited: 29 Aug 2009, 3:26 a.m.


Very nice Geoff. When I venture out beyond the Classics, I do think I will go back in time, not forward, and try to find a working 9810 or the 9815.


My small collection of calculators and pocket

Sharp CE-202M
Sharp CT-500 x 2
Sharp CT-600 x 2
Sharp CT-665E
Sharp EL-502
Sharp EL-5102 x 2
Sharp EL-550
Sharp EL-5804 x 4
Sharp EL-6200 x 2
Sharp EL-640 x 2
Sharp EL-670
Sharp EL-8029
Sharp EL-8061
Sharp EL-8116
Sharp EL-8154
Sharp EL-8180
Sharp EL-9600C
Sharp PC-1002
Sharp PC-1403H
Sharp PC-1500 Applications Manual
Sharp EL-5510 Dollars and Cents Computing
Sharp PC-1500 Instruction Manual
Sharp PC-1350 Instruction Manual
Sharp PC-1360 Instruction Manual
Sharp PC-1475 Instruction Manual
Sharp PC-1600 Instruction Manual
Sharp PC-1403 Instruction Manual
Sharp PC-1212 Manuel D' Applications
Sharp PC-1212 Manuel D'initiation du Langage "BASIC"
Sharp PC-1212 Manuel D'Instruction
Sharp PC-1262
Sharp PC-1401/1402
Sharp PC-1002
Sharp CE-126P
Sharp EL-5102
Sharp EL-533
Sharp CE-126P
Sharp PC-1246/1247
Sharp CE-126P
Sharp CE-120P
Sharp CE-123P x 2
Sharp CE-125 x 9
Sharp CE-125S
Sharp CE-126P
Sharp CE-150
Sharp PC-1500 CE-153 Software Board
Sharp PC-1211R
Sharp PC-1600 FastSync Cable
Sharp PC-1500A CE-161
Sharp PC-1211 x 2
Sharp PC-1212
Sharp PC-1246
Sharp PC-1248
Sharp PC-1250A x 4
Sharp PC-1261
Sharp PC-1262 x 3
Sharp PC-1280
Sharp PC-1350
Sharp PC-1360
Sharp PC-1402
Sharp PC-1403
Sharp PC-1421
Sharp PC-1475
Sharp PC-1500A
Sharp PC-1600 x 2
Sharp PC-3100 x 2
Sharp PC-1251 CE-12A Application Programs
Sharp PC-1251 CE-12B Application Programs
Sharp PC-1251 CE-12C Application Programs

Edited: 29 Aug 2009, 11:00 a.m.

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