Selling to Pawn Stars

Filed under Mainstream coverage;

Finding an Apple II for sale is not hard; one need only look on eBay, Craiglist, or any number of other online classifieds. Less common are in-person sales, and though they do occur at places like KansasFest, they rarely receive the publicity that an Apple IIGS did on a recent episode of Pawn Stars.

This show, a product of the History Channel, is a reality television series in which Las Vegas pawn brokers assess personal property and broker various transactions for people hoping to strike it rich in the city of Lost Wages. It’s sort of an edgier take on PBS’s Antiques Roadshow. I’ve never seen either show but was alerted to the Pawn Stars‘s Feb. 14 episode, “Wise Guys“, described as follows:

The Pawn Stars take a mission briefing when presented with a fully functional 1941 M3 Armored Scout Truck from World War II. Will the gang head to battle for this bulletproof piece of military history or will an auto ambush force them to retreat? Then, Rick and Corey meet a man hoping to sell a check signed by notorious mobster Carlo Gambino. Will Rick make him an offer he can’t refuse or will this deal sleep with the fishes? And later, Rick and Chumlee check out a 1987 Apple II GS Computer. Will they boot up some cash for this classic piece of technology or is the deal bound to crash?

I watched as a woman in her thirties tried to sell an Apple IIGS with boxes, manuals, and duplicated floppies. I was annoyed by the broker who said that he’d “sell it to someone who would turn it into an aquarium.” His disregard and contempt for our favorite retrocomputer was palpable. I mentioned this to Emily Kahm, the vocal talent of the Open Apple podcast and the person who first pointed me to this episode. A regular viewer of the show, Kahm provided some context:

Rick is a shrewd businessman, and his whole business is buy low, sell high. Even when he thinks things are very, very cool, he always points out the flaws and the trouble to the seller so that he has more room to talk down the price. (and seriously, as a regular watcher, I’ve seen him go from the “interview” portion raving about the utter rare-ness of the coin/document/autograph/toy and saying there’s nothing else like it in the world to telling the seller that it’s just not worth that much because he would need to get it graded/refurbished/verified/whatever and that he doesn’t have a great market for it…all true statements, but he selectively shares them with the seller). If you have any doubts about whether or not he was really interested in the Apple II, you need to watch the last minute of the episode :-)

Indeed, the background to the closing credits almost redeemed the show’s star. The lot’s television debut was briefly available for free streaming from the History Channel’s Web site. The episode has since migrated to a $1.99 purchase from the iTunes Store.

But that’s not the end of the story! As seen in this episode, the Apple’s seller didn’t get her original asking price. The show’s hosts graciously allowed her to renege on her handshake in favor of a better deal on eBay:

This is the Apple IIGS (2 GS, ][GS) from the Pawn Stars episode “Wise Guys” (Season 4, Episode 10) – not just one LIKE the IIGS on Pawn Stars, but this is the ACTUAL COMPUTER FEATURED ON THE SHOW!!

So, you may ask, “Didn’t you sell that computer to the pawn shop?” Well, I had agreed to sell it during the taping, but immediately afterwards regretted letting it go for only $100. So they said it was no big deal – I could keep my computer, and they could keep their money.

So why sell it now? Well, I’ve been out of work for quite a while. I’ve also recently moved into a smaller home, so I don’t have the room to keep it set up anymore, and it’s taking up a lot of room in storage.

And finally, “How do I know it’s the same one from the show?” Well, in the listing I’m including a picture of myself with the computer – check it against the episode, it’s me! Also, the F1 Racer disk (the one shown being played in the episode), is autographed by Chum Lee! In addition, the game Rick was playing at the end of the show (Thexder) is in the stash also.

The auction closed on Feb. 27 for $315, plus $175 shipping for the many disks and peripherals listed in the auction description. What do you think — a fair deal? Worth the trouble of selling online vs. a quick trip to the local pawn shop? How much did the televised publicity contribute to the ultimate price tag?

(Hat tip to EddieDX4)

  1. I’m so glad she didn’t sell it to Pawn Stars for $100.00, but at the same time, the computer with all of the peripherals and software could have fetched far more than it finally did on E-Bay. Given the opportunity, I would have jumped on the chance to purchase the whole lot, and saved money on shipping because I too live in Las Vegas. I would also have given the seller an option to buy it back within a certain ammount of time, let’s say no more than a year, so if she wanted to get the computer back, it at least would be an option for her. Owning one of these right now is a great joy. Selling it because of a currently bad situation just seems to be like robbing Peter to pay Paul.

  2. I have an Apple IIgs with the 3.5 and 5.25 drives and software and the dot matrix printer with it. It worked great last time I hooked it up but have not had need of it in a while so it is boxed up.
    I have considered selling it but only getting low ball offers on it.
    I am in Savannah, GA and would definitely be interested in selling it. I have checked the follow up comments notification below so if anyone sees this and is interested make a comment and we can arrange to talk from there.

  3. I am sorry to hear of your problem. Unfortunately, Apple ll systems are becoming harder to sell. If you look on E-Bay to get prices, please don’t look at the asking prices, but look at those wigh actual bids. That should give you a good idea on what to ask for whe placing your own ad. isn’t all that helpful because many of the items listed for sale, have been listed for months, and in some cases over a year.

    As an examply, I just bought a complete Apple lle with duodisk drives and color monitor for only $65.00, including shipping. Prices on vintage apple computers seems to fluctuate greatly between models. The lle can sell for as little as $35.00 or as much as $75.00, but the llgs is just not that rare and people just don’t seem to want them simply because they were not the same as the Apple lle in terms of popularity.

    I really hope this helps.

  4. I have someone who has offered me $50 for it locally so wouldnt need to deal with shipping.
    Since I have the printer and some game with it do you think I should try and negotiate for a little more or grab the money and run? I was hoping to get $75 at least for all of it but really had no idea what the going range is.

  5. I would say that as long as you’re not paying for shipping, and you can clear about $75.00, the go for it! By holding out for more, you could end up hurting yourself.

  6. I replied to them and told them I was hoping to get $75 and asked if they could do a little better than $50 for it and waiting to hear back. $50 would be better than nothing but a little more would always be nice lol.

    Thanks for your input.

  7. Hi,

    I´m searching for the game that appears on the show…

    for “F1 Racer” + Apple IIGS nothing found on google, only this page and other mirrors, ¿maybe it have another name?

    please, if someone can give me a clue, i would really apreciate it

    best regards

  8. The game is called Formula 1 Racer. It is an 8-bit Apple program.

    It looks like it was published by Gentry Software in 1983.

    I’ll look for more information.

  9. This is the only additional information I can find.

  10. Thank you very much Wayne.

    I’ll remember good old days with this game.

    Best regards.