View Full Version : What do you like to collect, and why?

7th March 2014, 12:39 PM
I have often wondered why I like to collect vintage Macs, what I plan to do with them, and which ones interest me the most.

Up to about 2 years ago, I wanted one of every compact Mac, and apart from the CCII and Performa 200, I pretty much got there, including 2 types of ED. I also liked rarer machines, like the TAM, G4 Cube, and other oddities as well. I then had an epiphany - I wanted to keep the rarer stuff, sell off the stock standard, run of the mill machines, and hunt down hard to find items. I subsequently sold off the Classics, Pluses and SEs that I didn't really want any longer, and kept the best of the best, especially the boxed stuff.

I've come to realise that my favourite Macs are the harder ones to find, that have a unique personality, and that were not a great sales success for Apple. Still eluding me are a Mac TV and a working Portable, but apart from that, I have what I wanted.

My faves are:

Original/128K Macintosh

I love the original, as it is so pure and jobsian. Although it was nowhere near as functional as the 512K and then the Plus, it symbolises to me what the original Mac was all about. No expense spared, the team signing their 'masterpiece', the packaging, the advertising - it was just 'insanely great'. I sourced a box with packaging for mine, and now have a complete Original Mac in the box. The floppy drive seemed stuck, but after taking it apart, cleaning and lubricating, it works perfectly.

Macintosh ED

It may only have had a 512K board, but the ED is one of those oddball machines that you don't exactly know what it is. The beige one I have looks like a 512K, with only the serial number and rear compliance sticker hinting that it is an ED. The platinum, however, has a Plus front without any silkscreening, and then the 512K bucket in Platinum on the rear. One of my most favourite compacts, purely because I have not seen another and is that little bit different from the rest. Got it to work with a change of analog board, runs like a champ now!

Macintosh Portable

Just odd. Mine doesn't work, but I'd like to get it operational. It is a different Mac, that's for sure, and if all of your ducks are not in a row, it just won't work. Mine is a combo of caps and power source, but one day I'll get around to getting it re-capped.

Macintosh IIfx

The very first Mac I ever bought - cost me $100 and completed my High School assignments on that bad boy. In 2002, I threw it away, I still don't know why. It was mint and worked beautifully. Part of me thinks my collection is to make up for the one Mac I have ever lost. I have another one, but need to find the time to get it working. Again, probably needs caps and some battery love.


Virtually useless, but hard to find and is right up my alley.


The only early PowerPC machine I have, still running OS7.6.1. I have a USB card in it, and mp3's are on a flash drive, so I can play my tunes through the Bose sound system. This is like the first computer my parents ever bought, with all of my favourite games as a kid, but on a machine that is 10 times faster with a killer sound system. Imported mine from the US, but worth every dollar. I got another one, not working, for $200 locally, and can get it to boot but not go to the desktop without an 'address bus error'. ANother project I need to find the time for.

G4 Cube

Snagged a mint condition Cube and monitor, in their original boxes, for $50 early one morning. I love this thing! It might be slow, but it runs OS X and oozes cool. Has the speakers and pretty much everything but the manuals. A killer machine.

They are the highlights of my collection. I have an assortment of Apple computers (see sig) but these are the ones that I will always have. I think it also shows where I'm wanting to go with my collection, and also my next few projects. I'm currently getting all of my compacts working and getting some clutter out of the house (and some money for uni and the baby due in July), and then concentrating on oddities if and as I see them.

So, what floats your boat?

10th March 2014, 02:53 PM
Good thread! Interesting read.

Actually I really wish I could answer the "WHY" part of your question. I honestly have no idea why I collect Apple stuff.

As for where I focus my collection, it's mainly on the compact Mac range. Trying to get one of each different model ie 128k through to Colour Classic. Whether the CC is actually classed with the compact Macs is debatable.

Then I wanted to extend my collection to the other AIO 68k Macs - LC520, LC575 etc leading into AIO PPC Macs - 5400/5500 which then leads onto the iMac G3's...

So my collection also includes iMac G3's (of which I wanted one of each again).

Then there are just "favourites" of the other lines - Centris 660AV + PM6100, 6500 + 6360.

I see where you're coming from about focusing on the rare and unusual items. There's obviously an increased degree of thrill in trying to source harder to find items. I'm hoping that once my main collection is achieved that I don't move onto harder to find items! It's been hard enough trying to find what were classed as "common" Macs, especially considering how hard to find a 6100 is without a split case or a 5400 without cracked grilles etc etc.

10th March 2014, 03:48 PM
I'm glad someone thinks so! 300 reads and no responses until now.

I still don't know the real reason for the collection - but it makes me happy, I enjoy getting something working that didn't, and I like having something that many others don't. But that still doesn't feel like a real reason either.

10th March 2014, 04:27 PM
I don't collect old macs but I can totally understand it, they're beautiful!

I still have an old 3G Pismo at home that I just keep sitting on a shelf because, even though it probably doesn't work, it just looks so damn good, I still prefer the look of that over a lot of modern laptops. Apple was taking pre-conceived notions of what a computer should look like (and lets face it they were all pretty hideous) and creating computers that were easy to use and easy on the eyes. Personally I would love to have an original mac, a cube and a iMac G4 because for me each of these represent a time when Apple went, "Actually, your computer doesn't have to look like that."

10th March 2014, 04:32 PM
I decided to limit my collection to historically significant machines. That's why I've got a couple of Apple machines but I also collect other brands as well. The reason I have the four machines that I have:

1) The Altair 8800. It was the first commercially successful personal computer. It's of particular interest to me because it was the first machine to run Microsoft Basic, which I based my early programming career on. Even though the first variant of it I used was Visual Basic in the 90's. It still grew out of Altair Basic.

2) The Apple II. Of the three computers released in 1977 (Commodore PET, Apple II & TRS80 1), the Apple II was the most impressive with colour, which the others didn't have. It ended up selling more during it's lifetime than the other two. It was the computer that funded Apple for 10 years 1977 to 1987. The Mac Plus (1987) was the first Mac to actually make any money for Apple.

3) The IBM 5150 PC. It was the first in the line of IBM/Microsoft pc's. The massive clone market that followed still dominates the world of computers today. Like it or not.

4) The 1984 Macintosh. Even though by all accounts it was a flop. It was the first low cost personal computer to have a graphical interface. It led the way in the development of the graphics interface for other computers to come.

As to why I like to collect, well it's great fun learning about these machines and the history behind them. Getting them to work is a great challenge and very rewarding when you get it done. I remember when I finally got my Altair to work, two years after I initially bought it, I did a lap of the house screaming "yes" as i went. It also reminds me of when I was a kid and I was obsessed with these machines, I could never afford to just go out and buy what I liked then, so it's great to be able to have so many now.

10th March 2014, 05:00 PM
I've collected stuff I could afford :P

I'll post something soon!

10th March 2014, 10:11 PM
I have collected a heap of Apple stuff- mainly because I wanted an Apple 2 when I was younger but had to settle for a C64 instead.

Problem is, when your collection reaches then exceeds "critical mass" you start to wonder why?

I think, in the end, just a nice Plus and a maxed out IIe or IIgs would suffice- and get the most use.

After all, what's the point of getting so many computers for the collection then having them spend most of the time in the cupboard?

Just my thoughts.

12th March 2014, 01:44 PM
Agreed, the larger the collection the harder it will be to maintain/manage and possibly to enjoy.

All of my collection is ideally going to be put to purpose or presented in such a way that some items can be "used" at least. That said, some of my collection is purely for display purpose - like my iPod collection (mostly non-functional) and my iMac G3 coffee table. They either serve a completely different purpose (furniture) or just there for looks (like a spoon collection for example). lol @ comparing my collection to a spoon collection.

I think being able to use certain elements of the collection is important (ie having a nice Mac Plus setup for the odd classic game) but also the items that are no longer usable are at least put to a purpose. I honestly think that most of the machines in my collection are either "useless" by todays standard of computer usability or that their uses just overlap each other (ie a Mac Plus and a Mac SE both only good for old games of almost the same age).

Unfortunately I have way too many hobbies to give my machines the use they were intended for. That and the fact that my enthusiasm for those different hobbies comes in waves. I may not touch any of my Apple collection for a month or two and then spend a month tinkering after work etc.

12th March 2014, 08:42 PM
My collection, in some ways regrettably, tends towards the 'quantity over quantity' type. I have loads of machines, but none of the really desirable ones that are actually worth something (i.e. no 128k, Mac Portable, G4 Cube, Lisa, TAM, etc.) Most of mine are LCs and Power Macs, with a few Quadras, a handful of Powerbooks, more than a few Compacts and more peripherals/software than you can shake a CD caddy at.

I started collecting mainly because people started giving me machines and I didn't say no... and it's escalated to the point where I have somewhere between 80-150 machines (I stopped counting a long time ago). As my dad worked as a software developer when I was young (OS/2 for life!) I grew up around machines but I was never really allowed to engage with them. When old macs came along, I finally had things that I could own and tinker with - it was pretty empowering.

Now I'm aiming to use certain machines as part of an interactive art installation I've been kicking around for a while. Ultimately, I'd like to open up a small museum/legacy support centre (which I guess is the dream for many around here) in a converted warehouse/shed.

Also, something that I really used to get a kick out of is the excitement of 'the find' (or 'conquest'?) - grabbing a compact off the roadside or picking up every bit of pre-1998 hardware you can find in the 'free to good home' pile at a swapmeet. Unfortunately these kinds of thrills are getting rarer as these machines get more valuable/broken/hard to find. That's why I started to give some of my machines away on a free 'indefinite loan' scheme for young collectors, as Oldmacs has noted on a couple of occasions...

12th March 2014, 10:33 PM
Yes, I'm very grateful to Neoxide for his loan scheme!!!

13th March 2014, 04:05 PM
The collection of stuff that my partner and I have stashed away that would be considered our personal collection is actually quite small compared to the stock we have for our shop. At first it was a race to collect anything we could, but after a while we refined it down to things that just appealed to us. Our personal collection would really only consist of a complete boxed 20th anniversary mac, Apple III with profile drive, an 128k mac, Lisa and both a flower power and dalmation iMacs.

We also have some vintage workhorses for the business, for backing up, restoring, test and diagnosis etc which are a hotrodded Color Classic (50Mhz 040, LC475 LB, 136mb ram, 4gb SSD, 640x480 mod), PowerBook G3 Pismo which is a nice old world/new world bridge and a IIc for any Apple II world work. There's also an SE/30 for making 400k disks which always comes in handy but that might be removed soon as i've started to turn to the Lisa for a lot of that work.

In recent years we've actually been collecting up more of the accessories/marketing stuff which we do find more appealing. Clothing, novelty items, posters, mugs (so many mugs!), toys etc. Some of the highlights from that collection include a lucite Apple Lisa paperweight, some early excecutive pens made by Cross, some early 80's jumpers and sweatshirts, and various lithographs from advertising campaigns for the Lisa.

Our real problem is that we really enjoy so many things outside of the world of vintage Apple gear, with our space limitations you can only really keep a few of the really special items, if we didn't you'd probably be watching us on an entire 10 episode back to back line up of 'hoarders'!