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Jonathan Erickson

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Vintage Data Sheets: More Than Just Pocket Change

June 25, 2010

To put you in the mood for the weekend, here's my feel-good story of the day....

Several years ago, I wrote a short Dr. Dobb's article entitled Quirky Is Fine With Me in which I chronicled some of the things that I like which other people might see as slightly out of whack -- collections (and collectors) of vintage Intel microchips, CPUs, antique light bulbs, vintage vacuum tubes, and the like.

You can add to that list collections of old Intel data catalogs which, I said, are as rare as Gutenberg Bibles. Okay that was stretching it, but in fact at the time there was only one known copy of Intel's first data catalog printed in September 1972, making it highly collectible to people who collect that sort of thing.

Fast forward to last week when I received a note from Cindi, a stay-at-home mom who supplements the family income by going to thrift stores, buying books, and reselling them for pocket change. And, as luck would have it, Cindi recently stumbled across the September 1972 issue of the Intel Data Catalog. Stranger than that, she had read my 2005 article which mentioned that data catalog. So she wanted to know if I have any idea what it is currently worth? Did I have a suggestion as to where to go with it?

For all my big talk five years ago, I had no idea of the catalog's current value, I told Cindi. As for where to go with it, I suggested eBay which would seem to let the global marketplace determine the value.

Which brings us to today's note from Cindi saying that she did indeed put it up for auction on eBay and that she got -- get this! -- $449 for it! Way to go Cindi! She was kind enough to add that "I would not have known that this was a sought after item had I not found your article. Thanks!"

You're welcome, Cindi. Yet another example of how Dr. Dobb's is here to serve.

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