Some old ICs are commanding big bucks at auction. Feeling rich? Or perhaps there’s a treasure trove in your attic.
Are old ICs worth their weight in gold? Short answer: No. Not, at least, if your business is reclaiming the gold plating from pins and caps.
However, to collectors, some most certainly are.
Without searching too hard, the most extreme example I can find is an early-1976 MOS Technology 6502, which sold for US $1,525 recently on eBay! The description mentions the “ROR bug”, which doubtless adds value to the chip (I wonder if FDIV-afflicted Pentia are yet old enough to command collector pricing).
A bit of a collector myself, I realized I might just have some desirable chips in my stash. At these kinds of prices, I think I could bear to part with any that don’t have a strong sentimental value, and which I don’t think I’ll ever need for repair work. Sure enough, here’s a sampling of the valuable (I hope) parts in my stash:
- Caltex CT5002 calculator
- GI AY-3-8500-1 TV game (Pong, and more)
- RCA CDP1802 CMOS microprocessor (as used in Hubble, Galileo, and other space hardware)
- MOS Technology 6581 SID (the famous Commodore 64 sound chip)
- Intersil IM6100 & IM6101 (PDP-8 on a chip & I/O ports)
- Fairchild 2102 1k×1 SRAM (Intel data sheet)
I think I may be listing these and more on a certain auction site very soon…
So, check them thar attics and basements. You may be sitting on a veritable goldmine of classic semiconductor technology. Now, don’t get me started about smooth-plate 12AX7s. Besides, I sold mine years ago.
Finally, a poem:
O, sweet Aurum,
Could’st thine logic
Contrasting ceramic purple
Thou both gleam in the light,
I hope in conductive foam
You've store’d ‘em.
- Remembrance of chips past
- 1969 Compucorp calculator teardown
- Slideshow: Looking back at early computers
- How It Was: Programming (and debugging) microprocessors
- 1st Intel Pentium processor is shipped, March 22, 1993
- AntEEques Roadshow
- Micros that failed to make it
- Quirky chips
—Michael Dunn is Editor in Chief at EDN with several decades of electronic design experience in various areas.