Share your luckiest find!


Hello everyone,

I was wondering if any of you would like to share your "lucky find" moments. For a long time, I wanted an HP48SX in "complete set" form -- with all the included documents, manuals, box, etc. in as close to mint condition as possible. The best I got was an almost complete set from another HP collector. Except it was missing its box, and the condition was not "new." The calc had been used (but with care, of course) and the manuals were unsealed. I recently paid $100 for a new one (not an astounding price, but within my budget) expecting to get a Singapore model (and hey, it was featured with its box, so why not, right?) inside a box that would have shelf wear. Instead of Singapore, the back said US of A! Not only were the contents still in their original plastic, even the plastic insert was unopened. (You can usually tell when it has been opened by looking at the "circles" where the two halves are held together). And the box looked like it came out of the production lines -- no stickers, and all corners still in perfect condition!

I had a similar experience with a 17B. I bought it simply to add another Pioneer model to my collection. Again I figured for my price of $21 it had to be a Singapore or Indonesian model; but it too was made in the US. And not a single blemish on the thing!

Sometimes it's great to be surprised with the little extras (even if it is only because we were expecting very little).

What are some of the "wow, what a deal" moments any of you have had over the years?

Edited: 26 Apr 2006, 6:15 p.m.


I entered a calculator contest once with an entry that took me all of about 8 hours to do, won $4000 and a spiffy new 49g+. Does that count? ;-)



Does that count? ;-)

I fear not (but just because your winning the contest has not depended on luck).

I had an even better idea but unfortunately they would not accept foreign participants :-(

Just kidding! :-) You have surely deserved the prize. Please let us know when HP-TW is released (or one that uses at least part of your ideas).

Best regards,

Gerson (Brazil)


I won a lot of HP cases on Ebay. The lot consisted of about 20 cases with many of them being new and still in their original wrapping. I sold only four to recoup my investment, replaced some of the worn out cases I had, and still have more. These cases included the nice leather Voyager cases with the folding flap,... still new in their case! I managed to buy only mint Voyagers that sleep inside them, including one USA-made 12C that was NIB.

I took advantage of other great "finds" but had to pay considerably more, so I can't count all the other.


Mine is two 91s for $5.

My old bud Rob's wife found a 41c with quad memory, circuit design rom, printer and card reader for 25 at a garage sale. btw: that was 25 cents.

Edited: 27 Apr 2006, 11:51 p.m.


Hi, best regards from V.:

Luckiest finds:

  • *Two* absolutely mint HP-71B's, each with their own HP-IL ROM, Math ROM, and extra 4K RAM modules included, plus original HP 'leather-like' zip cases, everything mint or new, all for $64 each.

  • One HP32S and one HP32SII (original color scheme), both New-In-Box, complete, unopened, for US $75 each.

  • SHARP EL-5101, New-In-Box, for US $50 (most beautiful, hard-to-find, state-of-the-art scientific calc)
  • SHARP PC-1211, New-In-Box, for US $25 (beautiful, first BASIC handheld)
  • SHARP PC-1246, New-In-Box, for US $17 (really small and cute, BASIC)
  • SHARP PC-1262, New-In-Box, for US $26 (incredibly small yet advanced BASIC model, 10 Kb, 2-line display)
  • SHARP PC-1360, New-In-Box, for US $27 (advanced BASIC, large 4-line graphic display)
  • SHARP PC-1401, mint, for US $18 (petite, slim, BASIC)
  • SHARP PC-1403H, mint, for US $22 (matrix operations, BASIC)
  • SHARP PC-1475, mint, for US $35 (matrix operations, double-precision 20-digit floating point capability, BASIC)

  • TRS-80 PC-8, New-In-Box, for US $21 (very small but quite capable, BASIC)

There are many more but that's about it.

Best regards from V.



My compliments on your SHARP pocket computer collection. I just won (2) Radio Shack TRS-80 PC-3 units from e-bay for $50 ea. Looking forward to receiving them. I am also bidding on a PC1251 with printer.

Warmest regards,

Babyboomer RPN power user


Hi, Andy:

    Thanks for your kind compliments. My SHARP handheld collection runs now to 40 items, plus four additional TRS-80 clones. I'm very proud of them all, and some I consider the very best handhelds for their time, bar none.

    Also, allow me to congratulate you on your recent acquisitions, which I'm sure you'll enjoy to the fullest, way to go !

Best regards from V.


I guess I've been pretty lucky over the years...

My best find in a shop :

I was in a charity shop (thrift store across the Pond?) and I saw a basket of 'mobile phone accessories' -- hands-free kits, etc. Not the sort of thing I'm interested in, but one of the cables had what seemed to be an HP41 module on the end. Of course I pulled it out and found the other end had an HHP EPROM box on it.

Of course I bought it (3 pounds IIRC).

When I got it home and removed the cover, I was amazed. The address switches were set to 0100. And yes, the 2 EPROMs did contain the code for a module designed to run in page 4 -- the Service ROM!

A couple of other lucky finds :

Many years ago I was walking past an office in the place where I was working. On the floor I noticed an HP9100 (I didn't really know what it was then, but I knew it was interesting). I must have exclaimed 'Wow, an HP9100' or something because the owner of said office appeared and said 'That's right, do you know anyone who would like it?'. And yes, I walked (well, staggered) away with an HP9100B with only a minor fault (shorted diode in the power supply).

Same place, there was a pile of HP stuff going to be thrown out (don't worry, none of it was!). I grabbed the HP1350 graphics translator, and saw what looked to be an HP9825 further down. Well, I had one of those already, so I wasn't too interested, but I decided to pull it out to get the 2 I/O modules in the back. Only then did I notice it wasn't an HP9825. It was an HP9831. I'd never heard of that, which meant I wanted it!. And yes, the user manuals were with it!


I have seen about a dozen HP9100 machines with those same darn shorted diodes... whenever I repair one now, I replace both diodes whether they need it or not.


Wow, a 9100 found just like that! Definitely worth to keep one's eyes open. That's a recurring dream for me.



Luckiest find ever? My wife of course :-) Came for free and has been caring for all my needs for over 20 years now ...

HP-calculatorwise, I would list the following top three:

- HP-97 n.i.b. with Italian documentation that I fished out of a former employers dust bin.

- HP-25 from the flea market, my favourite daily-use calculator since.

- HP-32 50years edition in mint condition with manual for 1 Euro from the flea market. Boring calculator, but certainly one Euro beeing invested well...

Greetings, Max


HP15C Mint cond in box with all docs, manuals from a Pawn shop in San Francisco for $25 in mid 90's


HP-15C and case, mint condition, no manuals, local auction, BIN price $29 (shipping included). Nov/21/2005 :-)

Gerson (Brazil)


HP-20S at a local electronics shop for $30.00 in 2004.

Ordering the 49g+ from Joe Horn for $100.00 in 2005, and that one has the best keyboard of the ones I "had".

Ordering the 48G in 2001, because it introduced me to the wonderful world of HP calculators. :)


Well, seems there are a lot of crackpots here, so I can make a fool of myself :

- HP10 with leather case for $10 (on a French auction site, I was the only bidder !!)

- PC 1001 for $30 - same story as HP10

- Contex D31 for $40 - same story

- Victor 4900 for $7

- Canola 120 for $2 at garage sale

- several HP (20S, 28C/S, 19B, 12C USA...) free from friends

- HP41CV as a gift after purchasing two other calculators for $10 at a garage sale

Another interesting subject is "What was the most expensive calc you ever bought ?". I may tell you if they revoke my wife's Internet access...


Visited the Norwegian importer of HP calcs, he showed me their stock room, a room with piles of new calculators. I browsed the shelves and saw a brand new replacement HP-42S (one of those produced well after it was discontinued, as replacement for broken calcs). I asked what he wanted for it and he said "Nah, you can have it, we have no use for it anymore".


A NIB HP-65 for 5 bucks at a garage sale... sold it for over $1000

A lot of around 150 41CV and 41CX machines in various states of disrepair for $50. Got pretty much all of them working.

A manual for a Cogito 240 at the science building equipment dump area. A few days later later the Cogito and three Compucorps showed up.

A dumpster with about a dozen HP9100's at Berkley... I didn't find them but a friend did. I got half of them for fixing the other half.


re: "A dumpster with about a dozen HP9100's at Berkley... I didn't find them but a friend did. I got half of them for fixing the other half."

I assume "Berkely" means UCBerkley. In that case, those of us who are US taxpayers probably get credit for these. I'll bet that they were bought originally with federal grant money (more than $50k!).


Yep, some good 'ole UC Berkley longhair hippy weirdo trashed all them poor conservative HP calculators... about 20 years ago when they were much closer to being considered scrap. If they did not dump them, they would have had to pay somebody a tidy sum to remove them.


Makes me wish HP has sold more calculators in the UK - never mind picking one up in a junk store I only ever saw them a couple of times new, and then only in London. I'm going a delicate shade of lime green over here! Guess I'll just have to keep my eyes peeled...

Mike T.


My luckiest find was getting my 42S from EduCalc after HP stopped making them. EduCalc said they didn't have any more but they would look around elsewhere. Sure enough in about three weeks they found one and shipped it to me!



Well, I would have considered
eBay auction I won last month to be a good deal even if the 11C didn't work, since I can always use Voyager parts in reasonable physical condition.

But as it happens, it just needed a little TLC to bring it back to life, and its 2038A serial number and unblemished exterior make it the oldest 11C I have now, as well as perhaps the best-looking one.

And there are those who say there are no bargains left on eBay. :-)


38G+ for $35 including postage from the US to the UK and no, that isn't a typo in the model number.


38G+ for $35 including postage from the US to the UK and no, that isn't a typo in the model number.

Woah!? What's an HP38G+? Or more specifically, how does an HP38G+ differ from an HP38G?


HP 48GX for $35 at Office Depot. They were clearing out their stock of HP scientific calculators. I was told by management I got it at their purchase cost.


Or more specifically, how does an HP38G+ differ from an HP38G?

It's got a plus sign on the end of the model name. :-)

Actually, more memory - 64k instead of 32k. Some of the original ROM was removed to make space - demo stuff, help, maybe foreign language support. Not entirely sure off the top of my head. Consequently it has a newer ROM version.


It's got a plus sign on the end of the model name. :-)

Actually, more memory - 64k instead of 32k. Some of the original ROM was removed to make space - demo stuff, help, maybe foreign language support. Not entirely sure off the top of my head. Consequently it has a newer ROM version.

This is indeed an interesting item! I've never seen an HP38G+ until now. I do recall that Detlef Mueller had some information on how to upgrade an HP38G to have 64KB RAM. It seems that Detlef's description of the ROM modifications resembles the description you gave above. I wonder which came first... the HP38G+ or Detlef's upgrade ideas =)

Detlef's HP38G Upgrade Page



Does a TI-59 for $2 at a yard sale count? (Unfortunately, as usual, the card-reader roller was turned to goop, but the calc worked.) A little later, when finances were tight, I sold it to someone who was happy to pay $60 for it.

I got an HP82161A HPIL microcassette tape drive for $10 at a surplus store, and an HP-71 for $25. The 71 was without the box and manuals, but the computer and its imitation leather case were in absolutely brand new condition. The 71's lexan overlay that goes around the keys even had a strong smell of being brand new. Someone gave me an HP-75C, kind of beat-up but working, free. A friend gave me the HP92198 80-column HPIL video adapter he wasn't using anymore. At an electronics swap meet, I saw an HP-71 system complete with manuals and the 3.5" disc drive (but I don't know what modules) for $25, and passed it up. I could kick myself.

All of these were before the internet and eBay took off.


Oh, if we're allowed to mention TI machines (:-)), then I found a pristine TI59 with Master Library Module, a bag of brand-new magnetic cards, and the hard and soft cases in a charity shop last year. Price? £2.95

No, I am not normally interested in TI machines, but at that price it came home with me.


Luckiest find: why, this museum, of course:-) I can enjoy all the HP calculators ever made, without having to spend a dime!

Luckiest physical find: a 45 for free, from a coworker.


And if we're allowed non-tangible finds, I'll suggest the HPCC monthly meetings. Thanks to all those who've put up with me for the last 14 years, and who have aided and abetted my investigations into the hardware of these fine machines by lending me stuff, knowing that I was going to take it apart, and in some cases donating machines, manuals, etc to me.

A more pleasant and interesting group of people would be very hard to find!


tony, david, frank, bill; you earned those deals. you give back a lot. that still doesn't relieve my jealousy.


Assuming that 'Tony' was me, let me tell you a little story...

Many, many years ago, long before the Web, I was sorting out my first PDP11 system (yes, I like bigger machines too). I was chatting by e-mail to a chap in the States who gave me a lot of hints and tips, and really got me started.

I asked him how I should repay him for his time and kindness. And I've never forgotten the reply, which was "Don't pay back, pay forwards". In other words, I should go out and help somebody else in an area that I know (?) something about. In turn the people I help should share their knowledge, and so on.

Well, I hope I've done that, at least in part here (no, I don't mean I've paid the debt and am going to stop!). But I rather like the above idea, and suggest that all of you should do likewise.


Luckiest find ever had to have been a complete 10C for $20.00 through a newspaper. I didn't enjoy the calc. though, (can't like that vertical enter key) and subsequently re-sold it.

Since then, my luckiest find has been to pick up my beloved 41CX and a petroleum pac again - taking me away from the daily working world of excel spreadsheets and into some real number crunching again.

Oh, and this site of course!


Recently at a job interview for a sales position, I was asked to describe one of my hobbies in detail. I began discussing my HP Calculator collecting and after a few minates, one of the managers layed a very clean HP-29C in front of me and said he took the batteries out years ago. I took it home, added new batteries and voila! And free to boot.


A 45 and 67, in 1-for-1 trades for Sharp and Litronix units. The trader had by far the largest collection I've EVER seen, and was happy to add two more unique models.

If I look only at the prices of the traded calcs, I got the HP's for ~$5.00 . If, however, I include the prices of the 30+ calcs (LED, VFD and scientific) in my trade box in which he wasn't interested, the find probably doesn't look so "lucky".

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