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How can I determine the market value of my older electronics?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / March 9, 2012 6:23 AM PST
How can I determine the market value of my older electronics?

Over the years, I have purchased many new televisions, DVD players,
projectors, laptops, iPods, and cell phones. After buying the newest
version of an electronic, I am left with the dilemma of what to do
with the old, outdated product. I have thought about trying to sell
my used electronics on eBay, Craigslist, or some other online
e-commerce Web site. My question is how can I determine the
market value for used electronic equipment? Is there a resource
like Kelley Blue Book for used electronics? If you have experience
with this, please share with me. Thanks in advance.

- Submitted by Kim M.
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Re: market value
by Kees_B Forum moderator / March 9, 2012 6:32 AM PST

eBay and Craigslist and sites like that ARE markets. So find a few comparable items and see how much is asked for them. That's the market value (or higher than the market value if they aren't sold for a long time already).
It's a rather transparent market.

It's more or less the same as with houses. If you want to sell your house, a reasonable price is the price of a comparable house (say, the one your neighbors sold last year, or the ones that are currently for sale) - correcting of course for up or down trends and obvious differences between your house and those other houses.


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Finding actual selling prices on eBay
by WesErck / March 16, 2012 11:10 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: market value

For eBay, actual prices recently paid can be found by searching as described above, but then clicking on "completed listings" on the left under the heading "show only". Then, instead of knowing what people are asking, you'll know what people are paying. By then clicking on an item that sold, you can click on 'bid history" to see what price they started at and how many bidders were interested.

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I would buy a CRT
by hooty54 / March 16, 2012 2:48 PM PDT

I have the converter from my dad who no longer needs it & with cable I don`t need a converter.

Does anyone know if a converter will work with cable ... I have not tried but was a little afraid that I might hurt something, I like the color of the pictures on TCM so a good B&W is fine for this, and the idea of lifespan, no ccfl to grow dim after being on for 5 years straight with only a few exceptions.

IMO for a 2nd BR or other space I like them as some did have a great picture the only drawback is there are digital channels I like to watch.

I love a great HD picture but for a good price an old CRT works fine.

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Agreed. Look at ebay and craigslist for numbers. BUT
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 9, 2012 6:38 AM PST

Here where I live you can't give away some gear. Nobody seems to want a CRT TV even if it's in prime condition begging for the Wii to hook it up to.

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This is so true
by TreknologyNet / March 9, 2012 1:28 PM PST

The value of a second-hand electronic device, like anything else, is based on how much somebody else wants it. As most modern electronics are designed as throwaway instead of serviceable, they become valueless very quickly.

While I have over 3000 VHS tapes, I don't care how many lightweight VCRs are offered. I simply wont touch one but, offer me a workhorse like a Panasonic F-70 and I'll be in the high-end bidders.

In our town there is a reasonable market for CRT TVs PROVIDED they have AV connections for that Wii you mentioned. If not, even charities can't give them away.

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Donate them to your church, or other non-profit

Trying to get a good value for your used electronics is not easy. Really, once they are about a year old they are pretty much worthless. However, your local church, or school would be glad to have them. Especially if you were to add some upgrades. And I'm not talking about expensive hardware, of software.
Just delete your personal data, and add a freeware Office Suite, a Freeware Antivirus Suite, and things like that.
CNet it a great place to look for these type of applications. The church, or school may already have a computer, or other electronics, but I'm sure that they would be happy to take them off your hands.
Then, when tax time comes around, you can list them as charitable donations. Your tax preparer can help you with how much they are worth, when you donated them.
Hope this helps.

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Try Freecycle
by booch221 / March 9, 2012 10:56 AM PST

Sometimes your church doesn't even want them. I hate throwing out perfectly good electronics, but I don't mind giving them away. I've gotten rid of analog TV's, DVRs, old computers, and other electronics on Freeycle. You'd be amazed, someone even wanted my vintage 1980s 386 computer!

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Too bad freecycle sucks
by mojo-a-gogo / March 16, 2012 12:55 PM PDT
In reply to: Try Freecycle

Freecycle's a great idea. Unfortunately it's an unorganized mess. I guess if someone is unemployed and has all day to spend searching they might turn up something worthwhile. But based on how hard it is to get craigslisters to actually show up and claim freebies they were sure they wanted, I can't imagine the freecycle crowd being any more responsible. But maybe it's different in your city.

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I've had great luck with Freecycle
by booch221 / March 17, 2012 7:04 AM PDT

I've had great luck with Freecycle--that's why I use it to get rid of stuff. Yes, there have been a few people who didn't show up to claim their item. So I just moved on to the next person on the list. It sure beats throwing it in the landfill.

If you looking to acquire stuff you can subscribe and get notified of new listings by email. I've never done that so I don't know how good it works.

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(NT) your link comes up 502 bad gateway.nt
by howjef / March 17, 2012 5:40 PM PDT
In reply to: Try Freecycle
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Donations vs Selling Electronics
by nipepe / March 12, 2012 7:46 AM PDT

Donating your electronics is an option. Do you want the cash in hand, do you want to claim it on taxes (provided you itemize and the donation would help on your return), or do you just want to feel good about giving back?

Charities have gotten pretty fussy about what they take in electronics. Though we may question that wisdom, it's still about economics. If they can't sell it, it has to be prpoperly disposed of and that cost them. Most cherities mandate that the electronics be functional. Most will no longer take in CRT electronics. Some phone companies will take cell phones to recycle to the elderly or needy, primarily for 911 service.

Provided the item meets their criteria, a cherity will likely not give you a value of the donation and the tax preparer is not qualitied to determine value. According to the tax codes, you are allowed to claim as a donation what the cherity sold the item for. To determine this, you can go back when the item is on the sale floor. Or, you can see if they have something displayed similar to what you are donating.

If you decide to sell your item, the price is what the market will bear. As other have said, check the Internet for a like item, then price it competitively. Also, be realistic. What would you pay for this item if your were the buyer? Sites such as have a very large and loyal following. If it is marketable and priced right, it won't be posted long. Or, there is always the yard sale.

Sending it to auction is another option. Items such as computers often bring amazing prices. Remember two things: #1 the auction house may charge a substantial percentage to sell your item-ask for details; and #2, It takes two interest bidders to have an auction. You are at the mercy of the buyers crowd for that particular day, unless you place it on the block with a reserve. From experience, I would much prefer being the bidder than the seller at an auction.

There are pros and cons to each alternative.

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use ebay

Search for similar items on ebay and select the search option "completed auctions". You will then see a list of past auctions and the final prices. Note that some auctions are unsold.

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Market value of older electronics
by reli37 / March 9, 2012 9:12 AM PST

I have found the best way to determine market value of older electronics is to go to eBay and enter the name and model of your equipment. Next make sure that you click on completed sales to see what is actually selling

(green means that the item sold)

. Also make sure that you check the "used" condition box. I have regularly sold my pda's, e book readers, cell phones and smart phones through eBay. I have found that I get 50-75% more on eBay tham selling it through a recycler or other seller. If you do list it, be honest and make sure that you factor in that eBay will charge you a commission of approximately 10% and the postage it will cost you to ship the item. I regularly quote a reasonable extra charge for shipping.

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This is the best answer
by booch221 / March 9, 2012 10:41 AM PST

This is what I was going to say. The completed items on eBay give you the best real time information on what your equipment is worth. My $699 laptop in excellent condition was worth $25, after five years. So I gave it to my niece, rather than bother selling it for such a small sum.

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Lots of Options Selling Your Replaced Electronics Gear

Hi Kim,

From what I've read so far from other contributors, Craigslist and Ebay have been mentioned plenty, so let me throw out some other options you may consider. By the way, I especially liked the donation comment so you can take a tax write-off (maybe). The sites mentioned may be a good way to determine the MARKET VALUE of your used equipment, but may not necessarily be the best venues to SELL your used equipment.

Depending on how old your used electronics are, you may be able to barter with them. Sort of like a trade-in. If your used equipment is still in working order, you may be able to visit a pawn-broker or local electronics shop to get an idea what it's worth. Some places may even sell your stuff on a consignment basis. When I moved to California from Iowa I had a truckload of stuff I just didn't want to bother moving. I took it all to a local Second Hand store who sold all of it for a 10% commission. Actually, they came and picked it all up!!!

If you're speaking of computers, monitors, printers and the like, make sure to check with your local computer repair shop to see if they'd be interested in buying it from you, or allowing you to trade-in your older stuff for New Stuff!!! In my shop, I sell new custom computers but the majority of my sales are refurbished computers. It gives my customers an opportunity save some cash buying used stuff with the confidence that they have a place to take it if things aren't working right. And it gives other customers a way to save on new custom builds using their used equipment as part of the payment.

It's true that most electronics gear is obsolete by the time it reaches the retail shelves, so that new stuff that you paid so much for a year ago has been replaced with other new expensive stuff. But it doesn't necessarily degrade the value of your gear proportionally. In general, the more you pay when purchasing quality equipment with all of the options you need, the longer it will have VALUE TO YOU. If you do your research before buying, then buy your equipment focusing on quality and function that fits your needs, it will retain it's value to you much longer that buying the cheapest tech every time something new comes along.

I hope some of these options give you some insight to the array of possibilities out there. In the meantime, I hope you're enjoying your NEW STUFF!!!

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Some Good Suggestions Early On
by Hforman / March 9, 2012 10:37 AM PST

Sever posters have already come up with great suggestions. But lets get down to some steps:

1) Determine what the market value is.

To do this, make believe you are buying your equipment and see what others are asking for it. You should not have a lot of problems doing this but you will need to make adjustments if your equipment doesn't match exactly what you see. Also remember that people will want to use your equipment to get on the Internet so, unless you have something special added, an abacus will probably not sell very well except on an antique market (too easily hacked by changing the number of beads). This is the most important step since this valuse will govern what else you do with the equipment.

2) Charities

There is always "Goodwill" or other agencies that will take your equipment. I'd make sure that you pick one that is certified to give you a tax deduction for your stuff. Then, you can claim the market value on your taxes (that is one reason step one is important.

3) Try eBay or others

There is always eBay or Craigslist. This can be a hassle if you get ripped-off.

4) Try a Local (Mon and Pop) Computer Store

Sometimes they have customers looking for a cheap, but usable machine. Or, they can use it for parts. Don't "beef up" the PC as you won't get any return on the extra expense. The buyer can do that.

Important! On your hard drive, either you have a lot of personal data. Even if you DELETED everything, it may be still there. Go to CNET downloads and look for software that will scrub your hard drive. Should you DOD scrub the whole drive? It depends. Is Windows going to be included with this when you sell or donate it? If you have the Windows software disk and product ID code, then do the whole drive. You can sell it with or without windows but you should state that up front and specify what version and if the box is certified for which version. If you want to sell it WITH Windows and you have the install disks, scrub the drive and then reinstall Windows for the next person. If you don't have the disks, you should at least use a scrubber to get you files cleaned up. You new PC will probably come with an OS for the new box but don't give the new key to the person you sell it to or you might have issues with activation. You will need to give the new user a bill of sale and receipt for everything (hardware and software) so they can do activations, etc. Sometimes, the best policy is to remove the hard drive and use a very big hammer on it. (Make sure you get all of your data off of the hard drive before you do any of this!).

Other ideas:

Take your old PC skydiving or to the top of a mountain and do some ruggedness testing on it.

Keep it as it may come in handy for something later on such as a Linux test box.

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Don't forget
by Doh_1 / March 9, 2012 10:45 AM PST

I'd get the market value via Craig's list and eBay, but don't forget to try They buy used stuff, and you can get a price there as well. I'm frequently impressed by how much they'll pay, most time more than I really feel that an item is worth.

There really isn't a blue book or a pricing authority, just the "going rate" *smile*. Whatever people will pay for it (the final auction prices on eBay, etc.). So if you're going to donate stuff, that's how I'd get a price to put on it.

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eBay's the quickest in determining value.
by lsl / March 9, 2012 11:19 AM PST

What has been said thus far is pretty much correct. In that a true market value of an item is what someone else is willing to offer you for it. And when speaking of electronics, eBay is the best source in determining an items value. It is broad-reaching and is not influenced by local markets. It is also an acceptable method in determining MV for donated property.

I would only add that to be able to check the completed listings on eBay, you do need to sign up for an eBay account... Simple to do. Also, as you are looking at the completed listings, pay close attention to those items that have bids, but didn't sell. This is because the bids didn't meet the sellers' reserve price. Nonetheless, a bid is still a valid offer.

Lastly, you will need to subtract approximately 11-12% from the value, since this is about what it would cost to sell on eBay. For valuing donated property, you do not have to subtract the estimated selling cost. You can use the full value. As a side note, if you do end up donating the electronics. Print the details from eBay, since this will be your backup along with the acknowledgement from the donee of the acceptance of the donated property.

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Recycle your old mobile phone
by spincraft / March 9, 2012 12:37 PM PST

The latest way to determine the value of your old mobile phone is to bring it to EcoATM.
It's a reverse ATM that accepts your old device and gives you cash in return. You plug the device into the ATM which gives it a test to determine its value. You have the choice to accept the calculated value or just get your device back. Check out the website for locations and they are expanding more this year.
I hope this helps
best regards,

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If you go to (CEX) they buy and sell most electrical items, they are in both the UK and US.

What you can do there is search for your item and then see how much they will give you for it, you will see three prices

We buy for....
We exchange for ...
We sell for...

The buy for value is the amount that they will pay in cash to take the item off your hands, so obviously if your selling anything on eBay you want at least that amount if not more because they are taking it off your hands where as with eBay your paying the advertising rates, auction fees, paypal fees, postage fees, etc.

The exchange for rate is the amount of money they will give you if you take the item into them and buy something else from their shop. This is probably about the amount of money you should be starting your eBay auction at. Most of the time this is a reasonable price and your undercutting what people could buy the item for from places like CEX.

The sell for value is the amount that they will sell the item to you for if you wanted to buy it from them. This is the maximum value of the product and you'll be very lucky if you get that value from eBay, unless you sell it to someone who is unaware of CEX. The reason for this is that CEX is a large business, they have shops up and down the UK and US (and other countries), they have a lot larger advertising budgets than one person on eBay, they offer guarantees on the products and safeguards to ensure the item hasn't been obtained illegally. Where as someone buying it from you on eBay - they're buying it from an individual, with a small advertising budget, if they're lucky you'll offer a return policy, but usually nothing like the 3 month warranty that CEX can offer, and apart from your eBay feedback he has no way of knowing how legit the item actually is.

So as a guide I'd tend to look at the exchange price CEX will offer to you for the item and start the auction at that and see where it goes. Sometimes you may get lucky and people will buy it for more than they can buy it from in CEX, this tends to happen a number of times with auctions as some people get carried away and will overbid on items, but don't expect to get much more than the CEX sale price, or if you can't be bothered with eBay you could always take your stuff down to the local CEX and just hand it over there and take what they offer you - this is the quick and easy method as you get instant cash and you don't have the hassle of setting up your auction on eBay, and paying all the listing fees and everything.

One other thing though with CEX the price shown on the net depends on the grade of the item - some items it does mention the graded price for example mobile phones come in grades A-C and not working, this depends on how you've treated the phone and what you have with it. A grade A phone is something that is like brand new, no scratches on screen, original charger, original box, original manual, etc, grade B is a little bit lower, might not have original charger, etc, and grade C would be a phone that has no box, none original charger, no manuals, a couple of scuffs on it, although I got to admit I bought a grade C HTC HD2 from them once and was amazed it was grade C as I would have said it was more grade B than C and none working prices are obviously none working phones. Also bear in mind that if any of your items are mobile phones, check the battery, there is a small sticker on the top of all mobile phone batteries and it changes colour in the event of getting wet (i.e. when you drop the phone in the toilet!), and this is how CEX tell if a phone has water damage, if it's got water damage they probably wont buy it, or maybe offer you the none working price for the phone, even if it appears to work perfectly. Also if your selling on eBay you could include this in the listing as proof that the phone is in good condition.

Of course CEX isn't always 100% accurate with their pricing, but it will give you a good guide, sometimes limited edition items can be worth a lot more than the CEX price, this mainly seems to happen with limited edition DVD's and things.

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What about Donation to Charity?
by solbot / March 10, 2012 4:31 AM PST

As long as the items are in good condition and working properly, some charities may be interested.

They won't pay you for your items, but rather you can try for a donation receipt to use against your income taxes.

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What's it worth?
by texmex116 / March 10, 2012 4:44 AM PST

The age old question; what is my computer, printer, monitor, etc. worth? Bottom line, it's worth what someone else is willing to pay you for it. best way to find that out; eBay, Amazon, Craigslist. For tax purposes, TuboTax has a section that will estimate value for most items donated. You can "look up" the current book value, but really it's what ever the market will bare. This varies by supply and demand, time of year, and how out dated your equipment is. VCRs were basically door stops once DVD players came out, same with tapes. When MP3 players hit the market, Discman CD players, $120 new, now sell for about $5 at yard sales. I've purchased laptops for $235 on eBay, only to see them sell for $295 the next week (timing). Sometimes, it's actually worth more to donate the equipment. I have a tower PC. I tried to sell it for $135 on Craigslist, got hassled. So I took it off and donated it to Salvation Army. You get a blank receipt, signed and dated, and write in what you donated. If its worth $400, you get 25 -30% off your taxes., or about $120. Printers often cost less than the replacement ink cartridge, so donate your old printer, take the deduction, and update your printer, with new ink cartridges included. Some sales (usually in the begining of the year) can actually get you a new printer for free or very cheap.

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Market Value Determination and Selling Tips
by ajtrek / March 10, 2012 3:30 PM PST

Hi Kim

Let's answer your primary question first - "How to determine the value of your used electronic(s)". Here's a short list to get you started:


I won't go into detail about how to use the above sites because the process is very straightforward and they walk you through the process in a few clicks. The bottom-line is that you'll get a pretty good idea of how much your used gear is worth and they'll make you a buy offer. Some of the sites offer free shipping to receive your used electronics. Shop your electronic(s) on all the sites mentioned because buy offers will vary. If you feel you can get more on eBay, Craigslist or the open market here are few tips:

1. Establish a PayPal account for your transactions. It's the most secure way to ensure payment and avoid fraud.
2. Never accept checks and avoid wire transfers for payment
3. Avoid international transactions unless you are a seasoned seller or re-seller
4. When selling locally only agree to meet a potential buyer in a very public place and take a friend (or two) along
5. Check out the eBay Seller Information Center for tips and tutorials on how to sell and market your item
6. Marketing your product is key - Provide an accurate and honest description - Pictures speak volumes
7. Products typically command more with original packaging, manuals and included accessories
8. Determine the cost of shipping before you post a selling price - Free shipping is a good sales tactic, but most buyers will pay a reasonable shipping charge - Always ship "Signature Required" to avoid your item being left on a doorstep
9. Analog products, a rare category (non-digital projectors for example) are only valuable to an enthusiaest and are best marketed through a niche' trade magazine and typically must be very high end
10. Cell phones the most of which are "carrier" specific typically don't command a lot unless you sell it while the model is still in play which is a very short window. After a couple of years (which is the normal contract period) they are best given back to the carrier on a promotional trade-in (good luck with that one Laugh ) or donated for recycling (i.e. Best Buy's program).
11. Laptops depreciate rapidly so don't expect to get a lot for that $1700 unit you purchased 3 years ago. There are a few exceptions like Apple and high-end gaming rigs (but don't expect a Bonanza)
12. Timing is everything and sometimes blind luck that determines when you'll get a fair price for your used electronic(s)
13. Be honest with yourself - If you wouldn't buy it then chances are no one else will either

I hope this helps and good selling!

Together Everyone Achieves More

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Value of used/outdated electronics
by joemnk / March 17, 2012 12:57 AM PDT

Recycle old electronics. They have little or no value. Who wants an old cell phone, VCR, tube type TV or pager? There's no value in last year's electronic gadget. I see plenty of flat screen TV's and WIN 98 PC's in the recycle bins. Keep the Chinese economy thriving!

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Only good for Apple products or cell phones
by kimmy541 / March 17, 2012 6:01 AM PDT

It would be helpful to find a link that includes ALL used electronics, including VCRs, DVD players, Blu-ray players, etc., and not just Apple products or cell phones. I am looking to sell a DVD player. Any suggestions?

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Re: DVD player
by Kees_B Forum moderator / March 17, 2012 6:08 AM PDT
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Patience and Professional Pictures
by ST00110 / March 18, 2012 7:47 PM PDT

In addition to Ajtrek's very useful list and tips:

- If you're not in a hurry in getting rid of the stuff (or getting the cash), be patient! My experience is that it is possible to get substantially more for your old electronics (and other stuff) than the average selling price on the internet) if you're willing to wait and renew/resubmit your ads once in a while. There's always someone in your area who's looking for exactly that model ...

- Make pretty, professional looking pictures of the actual items you're about to sell. If possible, don't use the standard pictures from the vendor's/manufacturer's site, possible buyers may even doubt if you actually own the item. So clean the item (including packaging, manual, accessories etc.), arrange them nicely on a empty, clean and well lit surface and make several good pictures of it. One overview, and one or two with details. Interested people will be able to really see what's on sale and you also create trust when you show them (or create the illusion Wink ) that you've been taking good care of the item.

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Older electronics
by weiserb / March 16, 2012 10:53 AM PDT

When you say older, if you mean 1960s or 70's great if its high end audio great you can see completed auctions on ebay for a start or send your list to

If the gear is "black boxes" you purchased from Best buy etc, they may hold little to no value

You need to state if you have boxes and paperwork , remotes etc. and very specific cosmetic condition as collectors are very picky but will pay top dollar for vintage audio that they want

You can also consult the Audio blue book on, but resent sales have been below blue book values due to recent decreased in demand for many pieces

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older electronics are like.....
by LostValley / March 16, 2012 12:27 PM PDT

A) a box of chocolates
B) real estate
C) anything bHind some curve or other.

Now that I've made my sarcastic comment I'll give my reply. Sell the stuff at local flea market, your driveway, the school sale or any other place you can. Keep all the cash in an envelope until you have sold all. Now count the cash and put it back into the envelope. Address envelope to me and send.

Two things happened here 1) I'm laughing, 2) You are laughing, 3) Is Leo laughing? Enquiring (typonnaise) mind REALLY wants to know. Or do I?

Finally I must say, "It is worth what you sell it for." In case my point was too oblique.

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You missed the point!
by booch221 / March 16, 2012 1:47 PM PDT

The question is, how do you determine the value of older electronics? If you put something that's selling on eBay for $100, on sale for $10, and somebody immediately snaps it up--does that mean it's worth $10?

No! It means that you probably sold it too cheaply.

You can always find someone willing to pay bottom dollar, but that's not in your best interest.

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