Original Packaging Helps Increase Values of Vintage Macs



As the Mac approaches its thirtieth birthday and its progeny, the iPhone and iPad, grow to eclipse their parent, the resale and collector values of vintage Macs is steadily increasing. One of the things attractive to collectors when looking for old systems is original packaging – outer boxes and inside accessory packs. Such items add to period completeness and can significantly increase the value of an item.

Not all old Macs are worth a lot of money. In general the Macintosh isn’t yet so rare that anything old will have value. The original 128k Mac is one of the most sought after, averaging $750-1000 on eBay these days for the computer alone, with outliers priced lower and higher. The 512k goes for significantly less, maybe $250 average – more 512k systems were manufactured, plus all those upgraded 128k models. The Mac Plus was even more popular in its heyday, but today commands only $100 or so without any other peripherals or accessories.

Selling a TAM (Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh) can net you some money ($750-1000 on eBay) as will a Color Classic ($200-$400), but Performas and most pre-G3 PowerPC systems have little to no resale value. All prices presume working models in good cosmetic condition.

Including outer and inner packaging with these systems increases the allure and can add up to several hundred dollars to the value. The full set includes the outer shipping box, inner packaging (styrofoam, cardboard boxes, plastic trays), all accessories, manuals, brochures, stickers, etc.. There isn’t a fixed amount or set premium that adding such items will bring, but demand is there, particularly with the oldest models. Condition is important, a clean undamaged box will bring more than a torn, waterstained item.

In the case of the original Macintosh box with Picasso style artwork, the packaging itself without the computer has some resale value. $100 for an empty box? Do I hear more? Collectors might say yes.

The first few years of the Macintosh saw the outer boxes used as eye-catching canvases, white backgrounds with color artwork and glossy photos. A few years later Apple got a dose of eco-consciousness and switched to black ink on brown cardboard – much cheaper but not as attractive. The older style tends to be more desirable. White boxes returned about the same time Steve Jobs did, if I recall correctly…

Macintosh Plus Box

Not surprisingly, New in Box (NIB) items are the most valuable. A new-in-box Mac Plus in mint condition (shown above) recently sold for $1575 on eBay, and a new-in-box SE/30 went for $1525.

The desire for packaging is stronger with 68k based Macs than for PowerPC systems – many collectors want a PowerMac G4 Cube in their collections, but I haven’t run into many people seeking the box. Yet. For models which don’t have much inherent demand, adding packaging won’t increase the value very much.

Inner accessory packs can be desirable by themselves for display in collections, those trays of floppy disks, brochures, stickers are great eye candy. There’s some value to these items in their original bundles – maybe $50 to a collector, or more – but individual pieces don’t tend to be worth extremely much (cassette tapes, disks, etc.). They’re not very rare yet. Manuals and shortcut cards can add to a bundle’s value.

Mac Inner Packaging

Macintosh 512k accessory kit (photo: Matt Wallace)

Prices will only increase with time. So – what’s in your attic?


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