Value of HP collectibles



#2

Hi everybody.

I can not define myself a regular "collector" of HP; I only pick up some

opportunities to get a calc once in a while, but I'd like to hear from you

about the following couple of items:
1) what is your definition of "value" for an HP collectible?
2) focusing on calcs collectibles, in your opinion is it more important

(according to the definition of n. 1 above) to get a calc anyway, even if

not in perfect conditions or the only real valuable piece of collection

is the one without any flaw?

I'd like to have your feelings about that.

Thank you in advance for your feedbacks.

Greetings.

Giancarlo


#3

Ciao Giancarlo,

my very personal answers are:

1) value = personal_memories * design_impression ^ 2 * number_of_cool_features ^ 1/2. HP calcs are (were) an aesthetic experience in quite some aspects. So my modest collection of pocket calcs ends with the HP48GX (so far - never give up hope!).

2) nearly all of my calcs work. Almost each looks and feels cute for me. Few are "mint", very few have serious flaws.

Regards, Walter


#4

I do not think that HP calculators have any significant values as collectibles. They tend to lose a value as time passing by. They actually never were really competitive.

In my personal experience, in 1985 I needed a matrix calculator, so I made choice between almost same price (in Europe, then) HP 15C and Sharp PC1350 and I selected Sharp PC1350. I never regretted that. It was so great advantage to have 24x4 chars display, BASIC and an open system (RS232, memory upgrade, assembler). I did such financial analysis that made me a corporate star.

If you asking me would I now spend same or more money on an old, even in very good condition, HP15C, or take a new TI89 Titanium, with USB and all capabilities, I would never think twice. TI89 Titanium would be my choice because I am not a pervert. I need a good calculator.

To collect old electronic? It is not healthy. But I like and use good calculators.


#5

You must be very happy man :))

#6

SHARPPC1350 wrote:

Quote:
I do not think that HP calculators have any significant values as collectibles. They tend to lose a value as time passing by. They actually never were really competitive.

Well, three statements with a linearly increasing degree of disagreement on my side ;)

Quote:
If you asking me would I now spend same or more money on an old, even in very good condition, HP15C, or take a new TI89 Titanium, with USB and all capabilities, I would never think twice. TI89 Titanium would be my choice because I am not a pervert. I need a good calculator.

There's no need to be a pervert to be able to hurt oneself in the way you like the most ;)

Quote:
To collect old electronic? It is not healthy. But I like and use good calculators.


By the way, I used a Sharp PC 1403 throughout all my college years,

with full satisfaction and good results, but that does not change

anything about my opinion of HP calcs & collectibles, whose "value"

(in a wider sense) is acknowledged by most of the people of this forum (sounds strange?!)

and by "neutral" but knowledgeable and technically wise people.

Take care.

Giancarlo


#7

Actually, that investment analysis about HP calculators is not mine. It was published several times. Basically, who want to CALCULATE, just figure out and compare the value over years using standard financial expression

( 1 + i ) ^ N


It is easy to discover that old HP calculators are cheaper and cheaper every day, which is indeed a bad investment. The money that is spent on an HP calculator earlier has more buying power than money paid on same calculator today.

I frequently buy old HP calculators and disassemble them to see are they really well engineered. Trust me, it is always something inside, mechanically or electronically extremely bad. If you do not believe me take a look into HP33C (which should be advanced HP25) and you will certainly agree, as everybody else who seen that, that it represents worst electronically design and implementation ever.


#8

Sadly I'd have to agree with you here - the early SPICE series were a bit of an experiment that went wrong later version were much better. These issues didn't stop the HP33C becoming my favourite machine, though I'd loved to have had an HP29C !

Mike T.

#9

As all trolls do, it just wants everyone to take the bait and start a flame war, thus polluting the forum (and subsequently the forum's archives) with worthless trash, and to that effect it posts outrageous plain lies masquerading as "opinions" hoping that some dummy will fall for them.

The best way to deal with trolls is to simply absolutely, utterly ignore them, as if they'd never posted a thing. No fair reasoning with them, no rebuttals, no counter-opinions, no nothing. Ostracism. Invisibility.

After a while their damaged ego can't suffer being treated as if they were NONEXISTENT and go to spread their venomous bait somewhere else where they can get some of the attention they desperately need and crave for.

This is a magnificent forum full of magnificently clever and honest people, Giancarlo. So don't feed the troll, Giancarlo, please. Resist the temptation to hit back. Let it simply "starve to death" ;-)

Best regards from V.


#10

Valentin,

you're absolutely right - I should have been wiser....

Lesson learned - thank you!

Warmest regards.

Giancarlo

#11

Well said my friend. This Sharp PC guy is a coward who is too chicken to use his name. That fact leads me to question how confident he really is of his opinion and honesty of motives. He can take his Sharp (and I hope it's a sharp object) PC and stick it!!!

HP calculators are cool. Period! If they weren't there would be no HHC2006. I DON'T HEAR OF SIMILAR MEETINGS FOR SHARP OR CASIO GROUPS!!!!

I REST MY CASE!!

Namir


Edited: 13 July 2006, 4:45 p.m. after one or more responses were posted

#12

There is little doubt in my mind that HP calculators and calculators manufactured by others are collectible. Value depends on many things:

Condition of the machine

Availability of the manual

Availability of the carton

Availability of other paperwork such as warranty cards, flyers for add-ons, and the like.

Special conditions such as manufacturing defects, algorithm errors and the like.

Antiquity - as an example, I note that some individuals collect the older units that used LED type displays but don't bother with those with LCD displays.

My own procedure (I have hundreds of calculators) is that I tend to buy any model that I don't have in my collection if I can afford the price, no matter the condition, and then upgrade my collection as I find better units. My budget is limited so I can't afford e-bay. The majority of the calculators in my collection were obtained at garage sales, thrift stores and the like for a few dollars each.

#13

Giancarlo --

This is a good philosophical question. Here's my view on the matter:

Vintage Hewlett-Packard calculators and many other products designed and manufactured by the "old H-P" (until the mid-1990's) are indeed collectible to those who care, because they represented excellence in engineering during their respective eras. H-P's offerings were premium products at premium prices for professionals.

Thus, I consider the HP calculators that best embodied this principle to be very collectible. This list would certainly include the HP-67/97, HP-41CX, HP-15C, HP-16C, HP-27S, HP-42S, and HP-48GX. Each of these discontinued models was well-made, well-designed, well-documented, durable, and reliable. They are still more practically useful today than the modern "gizmos" sold today.

Of course, many other factors help determine collectibility and value in the marketplace -- rarity (HP-10C), uniqueness (HP-01 calculator watch), distinctive features (HP-55, HP-19/29), and antiquity (pre-handheld desktop models) are a few examples.

LED-display models have their fans, as do models of historical significance (e.g, HP-35, HP-65, HP-34C, HP-41C).

As for the value of an individual unit, functionality and cosmetic condition are dominant factors. Product literature and packaging are "extras" to most collectors, I'd say.

-- KS

#14

Hi, Giancarlo:

Giancarlo asked:

"1) what is your definition of "value" for an HP collectible?"

    I only collect the HP models I like, regardless of their purported monetary value as collectibles. That being so, my definition of "value" is three-fold:

    1. It's valuable to me because I have very fond memories of it for whatever cause, even if it's not specially powerful or rare (e.g., HP-25, HP-34C, HP-11C, ...)

    2. I have no memories of it but I know it's a very powerful model, a breathtaking technological wonder, even if it's not specially rare (HP-15C, HP-71B, ...)

    3. I have no memories of it and it's not specially powerful, but it's pretty rare, and thus valuable (e.g., HP-10C, ...)
"2) focusing on calcs collectibles, in your opinion is it more important (according to the definition of n. 1 above) to get a calc anyway, even if not in perfect conditions or the only real valuable piece of collection is the one without any flaw?"

    I first try to get one instance of some model I like, in the best condition I can find and afford. If it has slight cosmetic flaws, so be it, but it does have to work flawlessly, period, with good keyboard and display.

    Once I have one functioning model, if it is cosmetically flawed to a certain extent, I keep an eye just in case I can find a cosmetically much better model, and if I do, I get it as well. But I do keep the first, flawed one, as a backup and for eventual use.

    If the only model I can find doesn't work reliably or has important cosmetic flaws to the point I'm upset by them, then I don't buy it and thus it has no value to me whatsoever.

    So, to answer your questions:

    1. If I don't like a model, it has *no* value to me (this includes all RPL models except the HP-28S, all algebraic-only models except the HP-71B, all financial models except the HP-12C, etc) and so it does not belong in my collection. If somehow I find myself owning one (a non-refundable present, for instance) I get rid of it as fast as I can, either by presenting it to someone else, trying to sell it, or as a last resort, throwing it away.

    2. If I can't find a mint instance of a model I like, a slightly flawed one will do for my collection, though I keep an eye for a better model all the time. When I eventually do get it, both remain in my collection.
Best regards from V.

#15

A couple of years ago my HP42S broke (somebody dropped it, Display crashed). I disassembled it (had nothing to lose anymore), and then stowed it somewhere. Then, a year or two after, i worked in our student's shop, we dealt with HP (the 42S was outphased long ago already), and they told me that they cannot provide me a 42S. But one day i was in charge with their repair center, they told me, they have one 42S there but only in exchange for a broken one. Luckily i haven't thrown away my spoilt model so i'd sent it with about 80 Bucks.... and got a brand new, untouched, originally wrapped 42S. That was my value for keeping old and broken stuff.

Cheers Andy.

#16

Hi Giancarlo!

Quote:
I can not define myself a regular "collector" of HP; I only pick up some opportunities to get a calc once in a while

The same for me, I consider myself a "would-be" collector, lacking both the time to go seriously chasing after old calculators and/or the money to buy them from sources where they are still available. And finanlly the space to store a big collection...

Quote:
1) what is your definition of "value" for an HP collectible?

I thought a while about this (therefore my late answer) and came to this conclusion:

Most important is "personal affection". My most valuable calculator will always remain the Ti-59 that brought me through my last years of school and most of my university studies. It was the most expensive gift my parents had given me by then and as such I will always hold it in high esteem. There are also some HP calculators that have this kind of value for me, like the 45 (the first one I was allowed to use for a few moments) or the 67 (that my father used at work and brought home sometimes, although officially he wasen't allowed to).

Next important, value for me means "useablility". Calculators are nothing but tools, and the simpler and more robust a tool is made, the more usable it is. A '35 or '65 is much more usable (to me, at least), than, say, a '48 - it has better keys, a more practical size, and can be used without constantly looking up things in the manual. I will never, for example, fill the 32k of memory of a 33s with data without being able to store/backup it somewhere, which greatly reduces the practical value, or "useability" ot this machine. Also, I attach more value to special-purpose machines (like navigation calculators) than to do-everything models.

Then comes "originality" or "technical advance" (for its time), and this means, that mostly LED models (or other luminescent display models which HP sadly never manufactured) are of much value to me. When LCD (which I hate, hate, hate - at least the grey-in-grey LCDs used by most pocket calculators) was available, calculators had already become a mass product of little collecting value anyway. Yes, of course I also have some LCD HPs, but if ever I have to give my calculators away, these will be the first ones to go.

"Rarity" of course also contributes somehow to the value I assign to calculators.


The quintessence of my criteria above is reflected in the amount of money I am prepared to spend for (vintage) calculators, e.g. on eBay.

Quote:
2) focusing on calcs collectibles, in your opinion is it more important (according to the definition of n. 1 above) to get a calc anyway, even if not in perfect conditions or the only real valuable piece of collection is the one without any flaw?

I do not care too much about the condition, as long as they work. Nor do I care about original boxes, manuals (as long as the information is accessible from other sources) and accessories, most of which I will never need anyway. My reason is, that I want to actually use the calculators I own. By using, I dont mean to take them out of their box and caress them with gloved fingers once per year, but to take them along for work the whole week. And I have found out, that I never use my (few) mint, boxed and complete calculators (some of which I didn't even unpack for fear of damaging them...)! Which, in the end, makes these items worthless or value-less to me.

The downside of this is the fact that using vintage calculators does them no good. Only recently, my HP-25, an all-time favourite of mine, stopped working and only displays a row of Zeros now. Similar with a Rockwell last year. In the end, I may end up with a collection composed of untouched calculators stacked-up in their original boxes and a big box of dead ones that were all killed by myself :-(


So after saying all this, I must finally contradict myself by admitting the following:

My most expensive (or "valuable"?) calculator so far is an unused, boxed "CalcuPen"... by spending over 250 Euros for this, I violated most of my rules listed under 1.) and 2.) :-)

Saluti, Max


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