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:

 


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
Ever NOR'em?
Contrasting ceramic purple
  or white,
Thou both gleam in the light,
I hope in conductive foam
You've store’d ‘em.

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Michael Dunn is Editor in Chief at EDN with several decades of electronic design experience in various areas.