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Mac-Antique Roadshow

Many of the Macintosh models that have appeared over the past 25 years are now eminently collectable.

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Topic: Hardware
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1 of 8 Charles McLellan/ZDNet

Macintosh 128K
This iconic little computer is the cause of all this weekend's celebrations. Originally simply the 'Macintosh', it was introduced to great fanfare (Ridley Scott's famous Orwell-themed advert) on January 24 1984. At launch, the original Macintosh cost $2,495. The '128K' label was added after the 512K model appeared in October that year.

The Macintosh 128K is, of course, very collectable, and you can pick up a Model M001 in working order on eBay for around $1,000. If you want to remind yourself what brought the WIMP (Windows, Icons, Menus, Pointer) revolution to the mainstream, and do the 'floppy disk shuffle', grab yourself one of these museum pieces.

 

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2 of 8 Charles McLellan/ZDNet

Macintosh SE/30
Recently voted the 'best ever Macintosh' by a Macworld panel, the Macintosh SE/30, which cost $4,900 at launch in 1989, had a 16MHz Motorola 68030 processor, 1MB of RAM (expandable for the first time beyond 4MB), a hard drive (40MB or 80MB), a high-capacity (1.4MB) floppy drive and an expansion slot (PDS). It retained the original Mac's 9in. 512-by-342-pixel black-and-white screen.

The SE/30 is bound to become more sought-after following its Macworld award. We found one on eBay for $193. On a personal note, this model's SE predecessor was the first Mac I used — to do DTP using PageMaker.

 

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3 of 8 Charles McLellan/ZDNet

Macintosh IIfx
In 1990, when the traditional-looking Macintosh IIfx was introduced (at the startling price of $9,900), a 40MHz (Motorola 68030) CPU and 4MB of RAM qualified as 'wicked fast' (the description used by the product manager responsible for the IIfx). Whereas the original Mac design was a closed box, the IIfx was very much open, featuring six NuBus slots.

We couldn't find any IIfx Macs on eBay while this article was in preparation, but did come across an interesting tale about a buyer who ended up with the late, great Douglas Adams' old IIfx.

 

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4 of 8 Charles McLellan/ZDNet

Macintosh TV
Introduced in 1993 at $2,079, the Performa 520-based Macintosh TV was notable for being (a) black, (b) having a built-in TV tuner, (c) being a slow computer and an expensive TV and (d) being rapidly withdrawn from the US market (the TV was NTSC-only).

Despite its less than stellar reputation, the Macintosh TV is very collectable, thanks to its oddity and the fact that only 10,000 were made. We found one on eBay, priced at $475.

 

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5 of 8 Charles McLellan/ZDNet

Macintosh Color Classic
Another 1993-vintage system, the Macintosh Color Classic (a.k.a. Performa 250) was the first all-in-one-format Mac with a colour screen — a 10in. Sony Trinitron. It cost $1,390 at launch, but despite its expansion slot was regarded as underpowered and quickly replaced by the faster Color Classic II.

In its after-life, the Colour Classic became sought-after as a vehicle for modding and is notable as the last of the compact Macintosh designs (along with the Colour Classic II, which uses the same case). We found several on eBay, ranging in price from $35 to $190.
Photo credit: Scott Lawrence

 

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6 of 8 Charles McLellan/ZDNet

Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh
1997 saw another Apple milestone — the 20th anniversary of its foundation by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. To celebrate, the (then Jobs-less) company produced this futuristic all-in-one system (the thing that looks like a waste basket is a subwoofer). Only 12,000 Twentieth Anniversary Macintoshes (TAMs) were made, and the launch price was a cool $7,499.

If you can find one (we couldn't on eBay), the TAM is very collectable.

 

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7 of 8 Charles McLellan/ZDNet

Bondi Blue iMac G3
In 1998, with Steve Jobs back at the helm, Apple returned to its roots by producing an innovative compact desktop computer in the shape of the iMac G3. Appearing first in an iconic 'Bondi Blue' translucent casing, a range of other colours were subsequently introduced (and widely copied by third parties). Notable hardware features were USB connectivity and the lack of once-standard features such as a floppy drive, and SCSI, serial or ADB ports.

Undoubtedly an industrial design classic (despite its widely reviled circular 'hockey puck' mouse), you can find a Bondi Blue iMac on eBay for $50-$100.

 

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8 of 8 Charles McLellan/ZDNet

Power Mac G4 Cube
One of the most distinctive Macs ever produced, the acrylic-enclosed G4 Cube cost $1,799 for the 450MHz version (the 500MHz model sold for $3,499) at launch in 2000. Although it was another industrial design success, the fanless G4 Cube suffered problems with (faint) case cracks and was ultimately judged too expensive by the marketplace.

Still one of the coolest-looking computers you can have on your desktop, the G4 Cube can be found on eBay from around $200.

 

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