“It is not wise at present to collect the things which one’s father or grandfather thought best to collect…….collect the things you like, and, if you can, begin to collect what people will like ten years from now, or twenty. Pleasure lies in the old lines, but profit in the new.”(‘The ABC about Collecting’-Sir James Yoxall, 1928)
When I first informed my family that I wanted to start dealing in Vintage Tech it was received with polite but confused faces that posed the inevitable question “but why?” For me the answer has always been clear: “because this stuff represents who we are now and how we got here”.
Crazy as it may sound the world of vintage personal electronics is still a minefield of untapped growth. Don’t be misled by any geeky connotations. While this topic sometimes revels in layers of technical subtlety, at its core its both the cause and outward expression of a truly global revolution. It has facilitated not only a leap in the way we communicate, conduct business or entertain ourselves, but via the software created alongside, has also fundamentally changed the way we explore our world and express our inner selves. From nostalgic electronic games, mobile phones, music players or ever more powerful super computers, the personal electronic technology of the last 70 years has become the fabric of our self-identity. By touching the lives of several global generations (and kindly superseding itself with metronome efficiency) vintage tech combines both the nostalgic edge we crave and the academic depth we need to give it legitimacy.
To me the choice to collect Vintage Technology is as basic as 1,2,3….
1. It has a growing relevance to a growing number of us.
While the collecting field of vintage and retro electronics is still in its infancy, its importance in our historical dialogue continues to strengthen year on year. Of course there have been dedicated fans and collectors of these items for many years now and these early adopters can boast some amazing objects and level of knowledge, but look more widely and there is a sense that interest is widening out there as well: Just look at the thousands of new vintage tech reviews and images uploaded onto Youtube and Social Media each year, Collectors forums with new excited members signing up every day, or the way more and more people (from artists, musicians or writers) are embracing old tech into their works. It is a field that speaks to a lot of people right now for a lot of different reasons (not just nostalgia), and the best pieces will inevitably continue to grow in recognition and value as the years roll on.
2. As James Yoxall noted in the quote above- profit lies in new interests, not old.
By profit it is important to recognise that we mean both financial and enjoyment. To seek new objects and stories to share will always be far more exciting that repeatedly digging up and retelling what we already know about (and as a trained archaeologist I know this from bitter experience!).
The last 70 years has been full of amazing people inventing amazing products that have changed our lives. Some have become instant icons, while others have been sadly forgotten as our short-term attention turns to the next big thing.
With regard to prices, then these have shifted as recognition has grown. Though some items have merely held their value over the last decade, others have sky-rocketed with little sign of slowing down. As with so many other collecting fields, the best is getting better at the expense of the rest. For the savvy collector, it is still an exciting time to recognise and pick up those rough diamonds while they can.
3. Collecting Vintage Tech is a truly global past-time
This point is easy to overlook but vitally important for the long-term health of the collecting field. Our tech exists in a global marketplace and many of the leading products have attained a cult international following. Those inventions and brands have become part of who we all are, our shared story and shared nostalgia. Unlike most other types of collectable that are culturally and country specific, technology is not. It will therefore appeal to people from anywhere in the world and will survive the common problems of depressed financial markets and localised fads that often burn out other collecting fields.
Whether you are interested in buying a few vintage tech objects just to play with, or have a more strategic academic or financial goal in mind, then do get in touch. We are always pleased to chat to new collectors as well as learn from the older ones too….. and Happy hunting!