Saturday, April 14, 2007

How To Make Money Reselling Junk Computers To Collectors

In the first purchase of his collection, Sellam Ismail loaded the trunk of his car with old computers he stumbled upon at a flea market for $5 apiece. Soon he had filled his three-car garage with what others would consider obsolete junk.

Years later, his collection of early computers, printers, and related parts is piled high across shelves and in chaotic heaps in a 4,500-square-foot warehouse near Silicon Valley. And it is worth real money.

Even as the power and speed of today's computers make their forerunners look ever punier, a growing band of collectors are gathering retro computers, considering them important relics and even good investments.

"There has been a real steep upward trend in prices in the last year, year and a half," said Ismail, 38. "It seems it's become like the new collectible to moneyed people. Before it was just nerds and hobbyists."

He states his own affiliation clearly: he wears a black T shirt with the word "nerd" on the front. He recently brought a quarter-century old Xerox Star computer back to life to be used as evidence in a patent lawsuit.

The pride of his collection is an Apple Lisa, one of the first computers (introduced in 1983) with a now standard graphical interface. Such items sell for more than $10,000.

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