This pricing's crazy


I'm sitting here watching what's being advertised as a new, unused HP-55 get bid up to $415 on eBay. Alls I keep thinking is whether these people are for real.

Ok, reality check. At this stage in my collection, I'm pretty happy to get working examples of anything, and I'm not hugely concerned about condition. So, yeah, I can see that something in good condition with all its accessories would be worth more... but $415? Is this for real?

On a more egotistical note, I have to wonder how much my recent re-entry into the market (started the collection 15 years ago, just re-started purchasing recently) affects prices. I mean, I'm one more person bidding things up, and I gotta wonder how much worse I make things when I place one of those "I'm going to get this sucker, dang it!" bids.

Gotta wonder if eBay is going to ruin HP collecting the same way it's ruined currency collecting...


eBay's a great marketplace to sell, 'cause it offers the widest exposure to buyers. But it's a lousy place to buy, 'cause you're competing with so many others. (And some of them/us are "crazy"!) More is available there at any given moment than anywhere else, but there's a price to pay, because more people are looking at what's offered. Anything "rare" or "collectible" or whatever and in short supply is going to draw a premium price. That's just the way it is.

A key to e-market success: buy elsewhere, sell on eBay. (The unstated complication: how to obtain elsewhere?) (Also, see Dave's and others' suggestsion on how to find deals on eBay.)


I don't think I'd be so crazy as to say that I've ever gotten a deal on eBay, but I have been pleasantly surprised at times.

I recently got an HP-80 for a price that wasn't great, but well within the range of what I'd pay a friend for one. The seller described it as being in good condition. When I got it, it was clear that it'd pretty much never been used. Probably a store display model. That was a nice payoff.

Mostly, I use eBay to fill in the not-so-easy gaps. Hanging around computer geeks, the scientific models have always been pretty easy to score (except for one guy who wanted me to pay him $500 for a badly used 55 - obviously I didn't). Financial calculators have been a whole 'nother story. Just doesn't seem like people hold onto those.

If/when my collection is complete, will I replace with models of better condition? I don't know. I do know that I'll probably never get an HP-70 (a shame because I first considered starting a collection back in the 70s when the 70 and its peers went on closeout) or HP-27. Just too expensive for my blood.

On the other hand, selling on eBay is a point well taken. I came into a busload of 67s a while back...



imagine: If one of every hp calculator ever made belongs to your collection - the only way you can improve your collection is quality.
The price which is paid is not the price for a calculator, its the price for completness/quality of the collection!

So why sould someone pay $1000000 for a picture made by Van Gogh? Is this real ?



I, for one, have a rule for myself that I only buy broken things on eBay, or things that the seller is not specifying sufficiently to attract the attention of the really "crazy" folks. I have been able to get a few things for fairly low prices that way.

Ion Abraham
Albuquerque, New Mexico

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