Maybe that old PC somewhere in the basement is . . . a valuable collectible





LIVERMORE, Calif. -- 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...

Private demand is also making it more difficult for museums to obtain certain models. "It's tough; now they are becoming much more valuable," said John Toole, executive director of the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.


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