MoneyMagpie

Oct 26

Make money selling vintage mobile phones

We all laugh at the ‘brick’-style mobiles of the 1980s and ’90s or the silly flip phones of the early 2000s, compared to today’s ultra-slim and chic handsets.

However, many people don’t realise collecting certain mobile phones from these decades past and selling them on eBay can be a good way to make extra money.

Here’s our quick guide to doing this successfully:

 

The basics

1980's mobile phone

As with all commodities, the rarer your vintage mobile phone, the more you will be able to charge for it. Which, in this case, means that handsets dating back to the 1980s are typically worth a lot more than those manufactured between the 1990s and now.

However, age is not the only thing that matters. Here are a few factors to keep in mind:

  • Is the phone in mint condition? Phones that are well-preserved can fetch a much higher price than those that have nicks, scratches or cracks.
  • Do you still have the original packaging? If you can sell the phone in the very box it came in, your price can shoot up even more.
  • Has the battery caused any damage? If you own an old phone, it’s wise to take the battery out and store it separately as they have a tendency to corrode with age.  Rather than risk damaging the phone, remove the battery and keep it safe.

 

Phones worth selling

Old Nokia mobile phone

Wondering if your old brick is worth a listing on eBay? Mobile Phone History has a great price and rarity guide that you can use to cross-references prices on eBay and the likes.

However, we conducted a quick search of our own and found the following are all good bets to get you more than £500 a pop:

  • 1981 Mobira Senator – the ‘daddy’ of them all and the the first ever Nokia phone currently fetches around £1400 (if in a good condition)
  • Orbitel Citifone – just about as rare as you can get, selling a 1985 Citifone could make you around £900 richer.
  • Motorola DynaTAC 8000x – the world’s first commercially-available hand portable mobile phone first arrived in the UK in 1985 and cost £3,000 per handset. These days you can sell one of these mobile dinosaurs for between £300 and £800.
  • Motorola 8100L – first manufactured in 1988, this rare find can go for up to £550.
  • Nokia 9000 Communicator – fast forward a decade or so, the Nokia 9000 Communicator is considered to be the forefather of the modern smartphone and was first introduced to the market in 1996. If you have one in good condition, you could sell it for close to £1000.
  • Nokia 8800 – stepping into the new millennium, the Nokia 8800 slide phone was considered super chic, luxurious and highly fashionable at the time. It’s making a huge comeback among vintage fashion lovers and – depending on the condition and the colour – you could get more than £1,500 for your old phone.

 

How much can I make?

Vintage brick mobile phone

Anything from small change to hundreds depending on what you’ve got.

If you have owned one of these phones and can’t remember what became of it, you might still have it in your attic or at the back of a cupboard, so it’s well worth having a rummage.

While the phones listed above can get you the big bucks, let’s just be honest – most of us don’t have these models lying around. And if we do, it may be too late to salvage them from the toy box or the junk drawer.

No need to despair, however, as you can even get pretty decent prices on eBay for more common stalwarts such as the Nokia 3310 and the Blackberry Pearl Flip.

Of course, there is also always the option of selling your discarded devices at electronics fairs or car boot sales. While you may not be able to market it to an audience as big as eBay’s, people who frequent these types of sales normally know exactly what they’re looking for (which might just be your old phone) and will pay good money for rare finds.

If you’ve just upgraded to a snazzy new phone and want to cash in on your old one, check out our article about recycling mobile phones.

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