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How much is my phone worth?

How much should I pay for a phone?

©2002-8 paulf.  All rights reserved.

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 Don't expect an easy answer to the question of value.

There are no fixed prices or accepted price guides in phone collecting.
Price guides you may find in books are someone's opinion and usually way out of date.

A lot depends on condition.  A beat up, as-found, untested example may sell for under $10. 
Like new examples of the same set may sell for hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Most phones made after 1920 were produced in quantities of millions, so aren't particularly scarce.
Even phones that look unique or are seen described as "one of a kind" were usually made on a production line.

Many were refurbished many times and often contain replacement parts, which may impact the value.
Within a model, color and optional features can often add to the collectibility of a particular phone.

A patient collector can find one eventually at a low price.
Others are often willing to pay more to get a particular phone quickly.

You can usually get a good general idea for current prices of common phones by checking catalogs
 and on-line sites that sell phones and on-line auction sites.

Remember to compare phones with like condition.
A phone that has been refurbished by an expert is worth at least 3 to 6 times the price of an "as-found" phone.
Understand whether the phone has all original parts, replacements from the same or a generic maker or modern reproductions.

If you're selling a phone

Two seemingly identical phones may have minor differences that are important to a particular collector.
Each collector may be looking for different minor variations to complete a display.
Some will buy a "common" phone to get a scarce part, such as an unusual dial plate or receiver.

Let buyers know if you're not a phone expert.  Have them ask questions.
Be prepared to patiently answer detailed and apparently trivial questions.

If you set a high price for your phone, have facts to justify the price.
A well researched description and good, high resolution photographs showing any potential defects
will make a big difference in the selling price.

If you're selling on a web site or on-line auction, luck has a big part in the final price.
A motivated buyer or two must find your description for best result.

If you plan to copy wording from web sites, be sure to get permission and give credit to the authors.

If you're buying a phone

As with anything else, learn about the item you want and comparison shop.

Just because someone sells phones on the internet or from a catalog doesn't mean they're an expert.

Buy phones you personally will enjoy for years.
If you're not sure of the value of a phone, don't even think of buying it as an investment.

To learn more about phones and phone collecting

Join a phone collecting club and attend phone shows.
Links to the US clubs are on my links page.


Please send comments or photos of your favorite phones to: 

Email address

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©2002-8 paulf.  All rights reserved.