My Favorite Apple

Games People Play

Written By: Scott - Dec• 03•13

One of the most frustrating things about collecting all things Apple is once I’ve found the Apple of my eye the seller’s price is totally unrealistic. I’m not just talking about a seller wanting a premium. No, I’m talking about a seller who is substantially above what the item is worth.

Well, that’s where I am now. Stuck. I’ve found exactly what I want and it’s like $5,000. Actually, it’s $20,000. No, I’m not talking about a Lisa, or even a MINT New in the factory sealed box Macintosh. No, nothing that grandiose. What is it you say? Only a new in the factory sealed box 3rd generation iPod. You know, the one with the row of red lights across it. It was introduced in 2003, just 10 years ago.

3rd Generation iPod

Sure there are dozens of fair to good condition samples listed by other sellers, but they have all have one thing or another I don’t want in my collectible. Either the box is missing, or doesn’t match the serial number of the iPod. Or, it doesn’t have all the things in the box a new one came with, like the manual, ear buds, wall jack, Styrofoam frame, etc. Or even worse, the iPod itself is scratched up.

Flaws or missing elements do not a collectible make…not in my book.

Now granted, my original iPod or even my 2nd generation isn’t new still in the factory sealed box, but both of these are virtually mint from the machines down to the boxes. But for me the products that should be easier to find (because they aren’t really that old) I want still sealed in their original box. The same with the original iPhone and iPad- factory sealed in the box and until those come along that are reasonably priced, I’ll simply keep the ones I bought new to use in my collection until then.

Why do I insist on this very high standard? Well, because I don’t want incomplete accessories or scratched up collectibles. Plus, this approach insures the collectible wasn’t rebuilt, or that the seller pulled one over on me by not showing all the flaws or provided an incomplete description of the item’s condition. The other reason is this- I hope one day I can at least get my money back out of the Apples I collected.

And, yes, items from 20 and 30 years ago that are still in their factory sealed boxes are going to sell for a premium. I know. Honestly, I could see a 3rd gen iPod priced upwards to a $1,000 if it’s still sealed. Eventually I might find one for less. Maybe not half price, no but could end up saving a few hundred anyway. Sooner rather than later, I’ll probably settle for a reasonably priced super one still with all it’s components and mint original box- just opened and used.


Also, what oftentimes happens is a handful of sellers on eBay try to drive the market. They are waiting on money buyers who will pay any price for the Apple of their eye and these sellers don’t care how long it takes. But if you look at the length of time these overpriced items are on eBay, we can determine the market simply isn’t at those price points. How? Because the items aren’t selling.

The other game I see on eBay is a seller with several of the same products but in different conditions. This seller will price their best one, and/or two, at super crazy prices to attempt to “lift” the price of the one they are really trying to sell. Sure, if this seller actually is able to find a buyer for that 3rd gen iPod still in the factory sealed box for $20,000, then he’ll be elated, but that’s not what he is really trying to do. The unsuspecting, uninformed prospective buyer will see the best uber rare one at $20,000, then the second best at $1,300 and then an OK one at $600 (when that last one is really only worth $150), and the buyer will figure 1) they can’t afford the first two, and 2) the third one is an OK and is the cheapest good one available.

The other problem, from a buyer’s perspective, with sellers who are attempting to drive the market is this- other folks who want to sell their 3rd generation iPod get on and see these crazy prices and figure that’s what they should start their bidding at or if it is a fixed price (Buy It Now only) where they should set their price. We could assume one of these sellers will break ranks and just let their Apple get bid off when they’ve played the game long enough, and yes, eventually that should happen. But it will take longer for this process to work itself through for the best ones.


Many collectors will buy the best available, or that they can afford at the time, and then upgrade later. I really don’t want to get into the upgrading game. It’s a hassle. Gotta sell the one you got, if there are buyers in the market at that time. If the buying market is thin at that time though, then price will be less than I paid. Been there, done that. It ain’t fun either.

“Wow,” you say, “Man, you surely are picky.”  Yes, I am. I’ve been a collector for a long time and have learned the hard way. Buy the best and if the best isn’t available, then wait.  If you have the money to burn (not that collecting Apples is an investment anyway…but that’s another topic for another day) and simply can not wait, then go for it. I have. And the one that comes to mind I’ll probably sell for 10% of what I paid. I know that now, but it was an impulse buy then. Plus, I doubt there are more than a small handful like mine out there (I know of two others). It’s a new in the box factory sealed Apple IIc.

But usually patience pays off.

…the other approach is to buy the newest Apple products, never open them and add them to the’s just that doesn’t sound like much fun, now does it?

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