It’s time to raid those drawers, cupboards and storage boxes for old mobile phones, as many could be sitting on thousands of pounds, new research suggests.
The ten most valuable old mobile phones are worth more than £25,000 in total, according to data from online marketplace LoveAntiques.
Pre-production iPhone 1’s top the list of the most valuable ‘antech’ mobile phones with an average value of £10,000.
The marketplace has reported a spike in people’s interest for ‘antech’ which is any product older than two generations of technology.
Some old mobiles are now worth thousands of pounds online as they are seen as antiques
Phones most likely to be worth big sums are often the first model in a range, had an unusual design, became associated with iconic movies or made from luxury materials.
Will Thomas of LoveAntiques said: ‘As something most people use every day, it’s almost strange to think of mobile phones as antiques, but as we outlined with our “antech” category the pace of technological advancements means that a lot of them are nearing that stage.’
He adds: ‘It is safe to say that there are some weird and wonderful models out there, some I’m sure a lot of people today wouldn’t even know were phones and yet they can be worth an enormous amount.
‘Collecting tech is particularly interesting because you can almost create a timeline of how it has developed over the years, and even how it continues to develop with new advancements.’
Below, LoveAntiques has listed the top ten most valuable antech mobile phones.
Price ranges were calculated using eBay sales over the last year and valuations from an antique tech expert.
1. Pre-production Prototype iPhone 1 – £10,000+
If you have a pre-production prototype of an Apple iPhone 1 you could make thousands
The Apple iPhone of 2007 was a major milestone in phone design and concept.
While a ‘New in Box’ 2G iPhone might itself be worth £2,000 currently, if you are fortunate enough to have a pre-production prototype of that phone then you could be in luck.
Prices vary considerably but in online auctions genuine examples have been known to make more than £30,000 before.
However, beware there are lots of standard iPhones with prototype software installed being passed off as the real thing.
2. Motorola 8000x- £800 to £3,500
The Motorola 8000x was available from 1983 to 1994 with a full charge taking roughly 10 hours, offering just 30 minutes of talk time.
Although compared to today’s standards, the phone is huge, it was considered much less bulky than mobile phones which were usually found in cars or briefcases.
These were often branded to different companies (such as BT) and are not always labelled on the front so it is worth learning how to spot this collectible classic.
The phones were sold for £3,000 new.
The Motorola 8000x was available from 1983 to 1994 with a full charge taking 10 hours
3. Nokia 7700 – £1,000 to £2,000
This phone is still worth thousands despite being around many years after the Motorola 8000x.
This is because the phone was never properly released despite a prototype being produced between 2003 and 2004.
It was intended to be the first pen based device but was ultimately cancelled.
Only around 20 models were made which explains the hefty price point.
The phone was never released despite a prototype being produced between 2003 and 2004
4. Mobira Senator NMT- £800 to £2,000
Undoubtedly one of the largest mobile phones ever made, the Mobira Senator NMT was launched by Nokia in 1981.
It weighed around 22 pounds, making it one of the heaviest devices.
Today, it is one of the rarest cell phones that have ever existed, accounting for why some collectors would be happy to pay up to £2,000 for their own slice of history.
These were estimated as £5,000 when bought new.
Heavy device: The Mobira Senator NMT was launched in 1981 and weighed around 22 pounds
5. IBM Simon Personal Communicator- £800 to £2,000
The IBM Simon Person Communicator was released in 1994 as a handheld, touchscreen personal digital assistant.
It sold approximately 50,000 units during the product’s six months on the market.
However, the battery only lasted an hour, and as flip smartphones became much smaller, this led to it being discontinued.
They were £539 when bought new.
The phone was soon discontinued due to the popularity of flip smart phones in the market
6. Nokia Sapphire 8800 – £500 to £2,000
Produced by Nokia in 2005 as a luxury phone there were several variations including one with 24 carat gold plating.
The original came with a scratch-resistant screen and has a weight of 134 grams.
The model came with a manufacturer-specified talk time of up to 1.5 to 3 hours or up to 8 days standby time per battery.
However, users said this was optimistic and most had to charge their phone several times a day.
Now, it is one of the most popular second hand models to purchase.
The devices were £500 new.
Nokia introduced the 8800 as a luxury model with a 24ct gold plated version available
7. Technophone PC105T – £600 to £1,500
Released in 1986 this was the world’s first pocket-sized mobile phone with an original price tag of £1,900 – hugely expensive for its time.
It was with a grant from the UK’s Department for Trade and Industry, and its small size inspired government policy makers to see the mass-market potential of mobiles.
In fact, it was pitched as being able to fit into the a pocket as opposed to in a car or briefcase.
A model of the phone is able to view in the Science Museum in London.
The phones were £1,990 new.
Check your cupboards: The Technophone PC105T is now worth between £600 to £1,500
8. Orbitel Citiphone- £600 to £1,000
The Orbitel Citiphone is a classic brick phone from 1987 which rarely turns up now.
Originally sold for £999 plus VAT, was another of the first mobile phones at its time of released.
Collectors will have to shell out between £600 to £1,000 in order to secure one.
The Orbitel Citiphone is one of the original brick phones that can now be worth up to £1,000
9. Ericsson R290 Satellite Phone – £300 to £1,000
Released in 1999 this was one of the first satellite phones making it possible to call friends and family from even the most inaccessible places in the world.
It uses a foldable antenna that is the same length as the body of the telephone and also has a built-in modem for data and fax communication.
For UK users, access to the Globalstar network was available when using a Vodafone GSM Sim card.
They were estimated at a huge £2,000 new but those looking to buy a model now will be looking at paying between £300 to £1,000.
The Ericsson R290 was one of the first satellite phones with customers able to call worldwide
10. Rainbow StarTAC – £100 to £400
Motorola released the StarTAC range in 1996 and was one of the first clamshell design phones.
A multi-coloured version was released in limited numbers and is a great example of an early fashion phone.
The phones were £1,400 new but collectors will be looking at paying between £100 to £400 for a model now.
The multi-coloured version of Motorola’s StarTAC range was released in limited numbers
What makes a phone more valuable?
Experts suggest that small factors like branding, software, model, cult status and rarity are just some things that can make a mobile phone valuable.
The mobile at the top of the list for example – the prototype iPhone 1 – has been known to fetch up to £30,000.
Unfortunately many post-production iPhones have had prototype software installed making them far less valuable.
It is also important to know the common signifiers of a fake versus the real deal.
In looking at collectible technological items, LoveAntiques experts believe the pace of advancement in technology means traditionally used terms like ‘antique’ – at least 100 years old – and ‘vintage’ – at least 20 years old – are inappropriate.
They will now define any product older than two generations of technology as ‘antech’, opting for the recognisable Latin prefix ‘ante’, meaning ‘before’.
Five common mobiles that could net you some cash
While you could fetch big bucks for the mobiles mentioned above, it is more likely that you’ll have one of the below ‘classics’ hidden away – and it is well worth finding out the resale value of them.
• Nokia 3310: £20 to £50
• Motorola RAZR V3: £30 to £150
• Philips Savvy: £5 to £20
• Samsung Galaxy S: £10 to £50
• Blackberry Curve: £20 to £120
The RAZR is arguably the most visually iconic phone and will go up in price steadily, experts say.
However, the Samsung and Blackberry are the ones to leave in your drawer for a few years as while they are interesting, they are also the most common right now.
Top tips for collecting mobile phones
• Check the condition of the phone – items in their original packaging, with their original paperwork and accessories will fetch more money.
• Find the unique selling point of the phone – icon status and tech milestones are far more valuable than age alone.
• Understand the tech – many old phones either don’t work due to the battery or can no longer connect to a network, this is not necessarily a bad thing but make sure to understand why the phone no longer works.
• Study the phones – most importantly make sure to understand the differences between models that have barely been altered, it could make a vast difference to the price.
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