I have been a retro computer/games collector for a while now, and, I just thought I would share my thoughts on the subject.
Retro collecting is not always easy, mostly due to the extreme age of the equipment you desire. It is always a challenge trying to find items in working order. Some of the most common problems are dead batteries and capacitors. These components were simply not designed to last that long, so when you finally get a piece, that is most likely going to need replacing.
The rarity of these items is also a huge obstacle to get around. With the aforementioned breakdowns, and people seeing these pieces as nothing more than obsolete, they often get trashed. This drives the price of the existing units up even higher.
The best thing is to search around and try to find someone that doesn’t really know what they have, and will sell the “junk” to you for dirt cheap. That has happened to me a few times, where someone wants to get rid of “trash” and give me something that’s worth a few hundred dollars.
But after everything, its still a great hobby to have (expensive tho). It almost feel like I’m doing these computers a service, like I’m a “retirement home” for computers. They have done their work, and now come to take a rest at my house where they can be appreciated for what they are, and what they have achieved.