Old cathode ray tube TV sets and computer monitors fetch top dollar from vintage electronics collectors….

in another galaxy…..far beyond our solar system.

The good news for us earth folk is we can get money for most any of our outdated electronics except CRT monitors and TV sets. In fact, some of the most funky or hideously ill-conceived and now utterly useless items go for the biggest bucks because they’re nostalgic or kitschy. An old war horse of a calculator from the 70’s might put a new set of tires on your car or that Atari video game console you played as a kid could cover a day of spa treatments. Vintage or retro items are a specialized niche so I’ll discuss them separately. For now let’s talk about the smart phone, computer, laptop, tablet, mp3 player or other device you just replaced with something sleeker, faster and more intuitive. It’s not doing anyone any good sitting in a drawer or on a shelf so why not turn it into a more liquid asset like a check, PayPal deposit, gift card or store credit?


1. Sell it on line via any one of several websites.

Some items get more valuable with time and others less. Let’s focus on stuff that’s not that old or obsolete but that you replaced because…..well it was just time. Maybe you got that new smartphone, tablet or IPod for the slimmer new look, mind blowing new features and faster speed. Selling electronics you no longer use online is perfect for things like tablets, phones, video games, cameras, laptops, wearables, mp3 players, head sets, speakers, calculators, e-readers, CDs and DVDs. Generally speaking these lose value the longer they linger in your drawer or cabinet.  Do yourself a favor and sell it as soon as you realize it will never see the light of day again.

2. Amazon, staple for selling used electronics online.

The “Amazon Trade-In” program gives you an Amazon gift card in exchange for eligible phones, video games, electronics, CDs and DVDs. You get an immediate offer and it is super convenient with free shipping and no need to list or register the item. You print your pre-paid U.S. Postal Service shipping label and track the package you sent them via your “trade-in account”. It may take up to 10 business days for your submission to be processed but once received and verified by Amazon you’ll get an email conformation within 2 business days letting you know if it was accepted or rejected. If rejected it’s returned to you no charge. If accepted your gift card funds are immediately available. The status can be checked anytime on your “trade-in account” and after it’s paid the amount will show on your “gift card balance.”

3. Another “trade-in” option from Best Buy.

Best Buy has an online estimator that gives you an instant estimated value of your trade-in. If you agree with the value you register with the “Best Buy Trade-In Center” and complete the trade-in form. You will receive a submission acceptance email from which you can print a pre-paid shipping label. Best Buy must receive your item within 14 days of giving your value estimate or it may be re-priced. When it’s all said and done you get a Best Buy e-Gift card emailed to you within 10 days of them receiving the item.  It’s highly recommended that you follow their very specific instructions for packaging, shipping and determining value. Perhaps the biggest bug-a-boo in this or any online process for selling used stuff is sellers failure to accurately evaluate an items condition.

4. Gazelle, choose between an Amazon Gift Card, PayPal or get a check!

iPhones, smartphones, iPads, tablets, iPods and MacBooks seem to be what Gazelle is most interested in buying but they’re certainly not limited to those items. They have purportedly processed over 2 million trade-ins and paid out over 200 million dollars to sellers. According to an ABC News report, Gazelle sellers are “blown away” by how they usually get much more than they expect for their gadgets and gizmos. Gazelle wants to be your one stop-shop for selling and recycling consumer electronics and they promise “every item gets an offer”. They have a robust inspection and data cleansing process for every item and they are all wiped free of any personal or non-personal information. In most cases they will even send you a shipping box for free within 2 days so you don’t have to look for one.

5. Get a check, Target gift card or PayPal deposit when you sell to Nextworth.

There are some interesting and seemingly advantageous aspects of selling to Nextworth. These may be negated in some instances by less liberal offers than other electronics buying sites so you must evaluate on a case by case basis.  One thing I like a lot is that an offer from Nextworth is good for a full 30 days. Another is the option of bringing your stuff into a participating Target store where you can get an on-the-spot quote and instant store credit. Apparently online and in-store quotes are never the same and I’m guessing in-store might be slightly higher since you can only get paid with a Target gift card and there is less shipping cost for them.  The online locater showed the store closest to me does participate.

 6. ebay, the go to site for selling vintage electronics of any stripe!

Remember vinyl record players for your car? Everyone knows about ebay selling but here are some items that could bring you a surprising chunk of change:

Vintage computers (the extreme and now legendary example being the original Apple that sold for almost $400,000)

Video Games (old Sega, Nintendo, Atari consoles and game cartridges)

Vintage “Brick” mobile phones and Star Trek reminiscent “flip phones”

Old rotary dial phones (especially in kitschy colors)

Tube amplifiers (or other vacuum tube electronics)

Reel to reel tape recorders, 8 track players, turntables and old phonographs

Vintage stereo speakers, stereo receivers and other components

Vintage transistor radios, boom boxes, ghetto blasters and Sony Walkman cassette players.

Vintage camcorders, film cameras and their film (especially Polaroid instant camera film)

Vintage calculators


a good rule of thumb is 20 years or older to be considered vintage!

Published by Bill Hoover