11 Retro Technology Gadgets That Are Worth a Lot Today

Buyers standing in line for hours or even days to get their hands on the newest gadget has become a ritual among technophiles. On the opposite end of the spectrum are people who crave retro technologies. Retro devices appeal to collectors with a sense of nostalgia, not to mention bragging rights. Another reason retro technologies are in demand after is their potential resale value. When you see how much these gadgets are worth, you’ll check your attics and basements for long-forgotten treasures!

1. Apple I

Apple I
Image Credit: © 2019 Achim Baqué. Originally published at https://www.Apple1Registry.com under CC BY-SA 4.0 license.

Steve Wozniak designed the first Apple I computer in 1975 and sold it the following year for $666.66. The device is considered a collector’s item despite its outdated computing technology. In 2014, a buyer purchased the Apple I at an auction for $905,000. And you thought today’s Mac computers were expensive! They’re a bargain compared to the going rate for the Apple I.

2. iPhone I

iPhone I
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

The always-innovative Apple shook up the cell phone market with their release of the iPhone I in 2007. Despite its $599 price, the first generation of the iPhone sold in the millions. Apple didn’t keep the 4GB phone in the market for long, making devices in the unopened factory packaging extremely rare and valuable. In 2023, a brand new original iPhone sold for more than $190,000 at auction. Even used models can sell for over $1,000.

3. Super Mario 64 Game Cartridge

Super Mario 64
Image Credit: Nintendo.

Fans of the Nintendo gaming system know better than anyone that Mario games are readily available at different price points. But in the summer of 2021, a bidder won a rare, factory-sealed Super Mario 64 game cartridge for the Nintendo 64 system at auction, paying $1,560,000. This sale makes it the most expensive video game ever. There’s a lucrative market for unopened classic games.

4. VHS Tapes

VHS Player
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

If you or your family owned a VCR since the 1980s, you probably still have a few VHS tapes around your house. If you do, check your tapes before tossing them into the trash. Some titles, such as Disney movies, are highly sought after by nostalgia seekers. At a 2022 auction, buyers won a copy of the 1985 film Back to the Future for $75,000.

5. TRS-80 Laptop

TRS-80 Laptop
Image Credit: Public Domain via WikiCommons.

One of the earliest portable computers was the TRS-80 laptop, which sold at an auction for $25,000. This particular piece of technology was special because it was used personally by Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, who used it to write code. This TRS-80 is more than just a collector’s item; it’s also a piece of history.

6. Vintage Leica Camera

Vintage Leica Camera
Image Credit: Shein via CC 2.0 / WikiCommons.

In the United States, Kodak, Polaroid, Canon, and Nikon are well-known for their cameras and photography equipment. The German company Leica may not be a household name, but it is a part of history as one of the first companies to mass-produce 35mm cameras. Older Leica cameras are so hard to come by that one was purchased at auction in 2022 for $15 million.

7. Nintendo PlayStation Prototype

Nintendo Playstation Prototype
Image Credit: Mats Lindh via CC 2.0 / WikiCommons.

Like originally packaged video games, factory-new video game systems sell for a premium, especially if they were a limited release. Before it became the Sony PlayStation, the manufacturer of the Nintendo PlayStation only built 200 prototypes to sell. A fan bought an unopened system at a 2020 auction for $360,000. Limited-release games and gaming systems can be worth a lot of money if unused.

8. Toshiba Laptop

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Anyone shopping for laptops in recent decades knows that Toshiba brand computers are readily available online and at big box retailers. However, at one 2014 auction, one Toshiba laptop went for nearly $62,000. The reason for the high price tag? In 1998, then-president Bill Clinton used the device to email astronaut John Glenn on the Discovery space shuttle, making him the first president to send an email to space.

 9. Special Edition iPod

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

The Apple iPod revolutionized how users listened to music on the go, but they were eventually made obsolete with the advent of smartphones like the iPhone. Still, there’s no denying the impact it had on the music industry: everyone had an iPod and they wanted it to match their style.

Collectors interested in classic iPods can find them online from private sellers and third-party vendors for a few to several hundred dollars. The real money is in limited edition iPods like the X-Files iPod Nano or the U2 edition, for which someone paid almost $90,000.

10. Commodore 64

Commodore 64
Image Credit: Federigo Federighi via CC 4.0 / WikiCommons.

For baby boomers and Generation X, the name Commodore 64 should bring back memories from 1982, when the home computing system hit the market. Despite the popularity of its devices at the time, the company went out of business in the 1990s. A Commodore 64 in pristine condition currently has a value of over $1,200.

11. Apple Newton PDA

Apple Newton
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

You’re forgiven if you haven’t heard of the Apple Newton PDA. Apple attempted to create and market a personal digital assistant (PDA) in 1993. The device is a rare misstep for the tech giant, but despite its failure to catch on, it does have value for some users. At a 2022 auction, a buyer successfully bid more than $800 for a functioning version of the Apple Newton.


The Fugutive
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.


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