Author Topic: IBM vintage keyboard market in the UK is quite bad  (Read 1376 times)

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Offline Azmodan

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IBM vintage keyboard market in the UK is quite bad
« on: Fri, 10 November 2017, 03:29:31 »
I have been actively looking for good deals or any deals in fact, in UK and I must admit that the market really sucks!!! I managed to grab two keyboards within the last 4 months (IBM model M – white/grey logo) and there are only one or two every couple of weeks popping up on e-bay and most of them in bad condition with missing keys etc.

I have also looked via gumtree and the likes but there is nothing to be found at all!

The most frustrating bit is that keyboards form the US that have good value and are in good condition usually have very high posting costs, sometimes as much as they keyboard itself, plus the obvious import tax, so they are almost impossible to buy at a logical/competitive cost.

My final foray was at all my local thrift and charity shops, where unfortunately most of them do not stock any kind of electronics at all, let alone something niche like model Ms and Fs or vintage keyboards in general. Local recycling centre was also a dead end…

So, my conclusion in general is that the UK market is bad when it comes to vintage keyboards, especially the ones that are descent. Do any other people in the UK find that this is the case?

Offline chyros

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Re: IBM vintage keyboard market in the UK is quite bad
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 10 November 2017, 05:15:24 »
I have been actively looking for good deals or any deals in fact, in UK and I must admit that the market really sucks!!! I managed to grab two keyboards within the last 4 months (IBM model M – white/grey logo) and there are only one or two every couple of weeks popping up on e-bay and most of them in bad condition with missing keys etc.

I have also looked via gumtree and the likes but there is nothing to be found at all!

The most frustrating bit is that keyboards form the US that have good value and are in good condition usually have very high posting costs, sometimes as much as they keyboard itself, plus the obvious import tax, so they are almost impossible to buy at a logical/competitive cost.

My final foray was at all my local thrift and charity shops, where unfortunately most of them do not stock any kind of electronics at all, let alone something niche like model Ms and Fs or vintage keyboards in general. Local recycling centre was also a dead end…

So, my conclusion in general is that the UK market is bad when it comes to vintage keyboards, especially the ones that are descent. Do any other people in the UK find that this is the case?
Nope. The UK market is possibly the third-best one, at least in the west, after the USA and Germany. I had MUCH greater success in the UK than I do here. If you have difficulties finding vintage mechs in the UK, you're doing it wrong :p .
Check my keyboard video reviews:


Offline beko1987

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Re: IBM vintage keyboard market in the UK is quite bad
« Reply #2 on: Sat, 11 November 2017, 03:21:19 »
I have been actively looking for good deals or any deals in fact, in UK and I must admit that the market really sucks!!! I managed to grab two keyboards within the last 4 months (IBM model M – white/grey logo) and there are only one or two every couple of weeks popping up on e-bay and most of them in bad condition with missing keys etc.

I have also looked via gumtree and the likes but there is nothing to be found at all!

The most frustrating bit is that keyboards form the US that have good value and are in good condition usually have very high posting costs, sometimes as much as they keyboard itself, plus the obvious import tax, so they are almost impossible to buy at a logical/competitive cost.

My final foray was at all my local thrift and charity shops, where unfortunately most of them do not stock any kind of electronics at all, let alone something niche like model Ms and Fs or vintage keyboards in general. Local recycling centre was also a dead end…

So, my conclusion in general is that the UK market is bad when it comes to vintage keyboards, especially the ones that are descent. Do any other people in the UK find that this is the case?

Yes! I've half wanted a model M for a while now, having had several/used several back in the day. But holy crap they rarely dip below £60 for filthy, abused, needing restoration models!

Sort of resigned myself that if I want one, it'll have to be a £100 unicomp model.

However, I keep a keen eye out at any car boot sales I'm at, charity shops, and other likely places, but I think the days of finding one (or any white/beige board) in skips or being cleared out of offices is long gone sadly.

Never say never, but it won't be cheap!

Offline chyros

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Re: IBM vintage keyboard market in the UK is quite bad
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 11 November 2017, 03:25:14 »
Just go to the tip, I got over a dozen model M boards there, including a super rare black-badge industrial model ;) . Really it's just a matter of how much time you're willing to sink into it.
Check my keyboard video reviews:


Offline opt1mus

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Re: IBM vintage keyboard market in the UK is quite bad
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 11 November 2017, 06:26:48 »
I'm in the UK also and recently acquired a model M. Be sure to expand your search to the rest of the EU, as I managed to find a 1989 qwerty IBM Model M in the netherlands, it's a rather unusual M as it's Dutch nl layout with glyphs on the side of multiple keys. The price wasn't insane either at ~80GBP, so they're around and the postage (for now) isn't too crazy.
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Offline ander

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Re: IBM vintage keyboard market in the UK is quite bad
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 13 November 2017, 04:43:37 »
I'm not exactly what you meant about the M's over there not being in "good condition"—but it's generally acknowledged that those produced in Greenock, primarily for European consumption, were not quite up to the quality of those made in the U.S. by IBM and Lexmark.

It's also not clear if you just want some solid M's for your own use and enjoyment, or if you're trying to find, restore and resell them. If it's the former, I'd just dig in your heels, order some U.S.-made ones in good restorable shape (which most of them are), and eat the postage—because it's probably the only time you'll ever have to do it. Or as my wife's dad would've put it, they'll "see you out".  ;?)
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Offline beko1987

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Re: IBM vintage keyboard market in the UK is quite bad
« Reply #6 on: Mon, 13 November 2017, 05:52:29 »
Just go to the tip, I got over a dozen model M boards there, including a super rare black-badge industrial model ;) . Really it's just a matter of how much time you're willing to sink into it.

Depends on your tip!

Where I live (Oxfordshire/Buckinghamshire, depending on my mood on tip run day) you ca't take ANYTHING! I collect vacuum cleaners, and the days of being able to give a fiver to the bloke in the office and take what you want are gone, once it's in the skip that's it.

I HATE going to the tip now, last time there was a lovely Hoover Senior 6525C in the skip, original bag and all. If it wasn't for the ANPR cameras and the lack of quick exit I'd have had it and run... Same goes for keyboards/computer stuff. Into the electrical skip and gone forever!

Damn, Damn shame!

Offline chyros

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Re: IBM vintage keyboard market in the UK is quite bad
« Reply #7 on: Mon, 13 November 2017, 07:24:37 »
I'm not exactly what you meant about the M's over there not being in "good condition"—but it's generally acknowledged that those produced in Greenock, primarily for European consumption, were not quite up to the quality of those made in the U.S. by IBM and Lexmark.

It's also not clear if you just want some solid M's for your own use and enjoyment, or if you're trying to find, restore and resell them. If it's the former, I'd just dig in your heels, order some U.S.-made ones in good restorable shape (which most of them are), and eat the postage—because it's probably the only time you'll ever have to do it. Or as my wife's dad would've put it, they'll "see you out".  ;?)
Where did you hear the UK ones are not as good as the US ones?

Check my keyboard video reviews:


Offline Azmodan

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Re: IBM vintage keyboard market in the UK is quite bad
« Reply #8 on: Sun, 19 November 2017, 06:50:58 »
I'm not exactly what you meant about the M's over there not being in "good condition"—but it's generally acknowledged that those produced in Greenock, primarily for European consumption, were not quite up to the quality of those made in the U.S. by IBM and Lexmark.

It's also not clear if you just want some solid M's for your own use and enjoyment, or if you're trying to find, restore and resell them. If it's the former, I'd just dig in your heels, order some U.S.-made ones in good restorable shape (which most of them are), and eat the postage—because it's probably the only time you'll ever have to do it. Or as my wife's dad would've put it, they'll "see you out".  ;?)

I have two model M's one is a US (ANSI)- P/N: 1391401, from 1992 (white/grey logo) and the other is a UK, made in Greenock (ANSI) - P/N: 42H1292 from 1996 (white/Blue logo), both made by IBM (not Lexmark) and I have not seen any difference in the quality. They are both bolt modded, so I cannot see how you came to the conclusion that quality differs. The only Model M's that are surely for lower manufacturing standards are the Unicomp ones.

To answer your second question, I do want to resell any model M that I find. I enjoyed restoring the two that I have very much and I seek to expand my collection for myself. The ultimate goal is to get an industrial model M with the black badge, but it seems that I might need to sell my car to get one of those!


Offline Azmodan

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Re: IBM vintage keyboard market in the UK is quite bad
« Reply #9 on: Sun, 19 November 2017, 06:55:26 »
I have been actively looking for good deals or any deals in fact, in UK and I must admit that the market really sucks!!! I managed to grab two keyboards within the last 4 months (IBM model M – white/grey logo) and there are only one or two every couple of weeks popping up on e-bay and most of them in bad condition with missing keys etc.

I have also looked via gumtree and the likes but there is nothing to be found at all!

The most frustrating bit is that keyboards form the US that have good value and are in good condition usually have very high posting costs, sometimes as much as they keyboard itself, plus the obvious import tax, so they are almost impossible to buy at a logical/competitive cost.

My final foray was at all my local thrift and charity shops, where unfortunately most of them do not stock any kind of electronics at all, let alone something niche like model Ms and Fs or vintage keyboards in general. Local recycling centre was also a dead end…

So, my conclusion in general is that the UK market is bad when it comes to vintage keyboards, especially the ones that are descent. Do any other people in the UK find that this is the case?
Nope. The UK market is possibly the third-best one, at least in the west, after the USA and Germany. I had MUCH greater success in the UK than I do here. If you have difficulties finding vintage mechs in the UK, you're doing it wrong :p .

Hey Chyrros, I might be doing something wrong, but at least in e-bay (or other online market places) I can hardly find 1-2 model M listings per month and most of them sell quite high, or it is not what I am  looking for. Also I have never seen an SSK or industrial posted for the last 6 months that I have been looking ta least.

Offline chyros

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Re: IBM vintage keyboard market in the UK is quite bad
« Reply #10 on: Sun, 19 November 2017, 10:44:17 »
I have been actively looking for good deals or any deals in fact, in UK and I must admit that the market really sucks!!! I managed to grab two keyboards within the last 4 months (IBM model M – white/grey logo) and there are only one or two every couple of weeks popping up on e-bay and most of them in bad condition with missing keys etc.

I have also looked via gumtree and the likes but there is nothing to be found at all!

The most frustrating bit is that keyboards form the US that have good value and are in good condition usually have very high posting costs, sometimes as much as they keyboard itself, plus the obvious import tax, so they are almost impossible to buy at a logical/competitive cost.

My final foray was at all my local thrift and charity shops, where unfortunately most of them do not stock any kind of electronics at all, let alone something niche like model Ms and Fs or vintage keyboards in general. Local recycling centre was also a dead end…

So, my conclusion in general is that the UK market is bad when it comes to vintage keyboards, especially the ones that are descent. Do any other people in the UK find that this is the case?
Nope. The UK market is possibly the third-best one, at least in the west, after the USA and Germany. I had MUCH greater success in the UK than I do here. If you have difficulties finding vintage mechs in the UK, you're doing it wrong :p .

Hey Chyrros, I might be doing something wrong, but at least in e-bay (or other online market places) I can hardly find 1-2 model M listings per month and most of them sell quite high, or it is not what I am  looking for. Also I have never seen an SSK or industrial posted for the last 6 months that I have been looking ta least.
Again, after Germany the UK has the best eBay market, but really, you might want to be looking at recycling centres. Tips, charity shops, second-hand markets. You might be surprised, although you'll inevitably have to stick a lot of time into it.
Check my keyboard video reviews:


Offline tp4tissue

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Re: IBM vintage keyboard market in the UK is quite bad
« Reply #11 on: Sun, 19 November 2017, 17:37:42 »
Nope. The UK market is possibly the third-best one, at least in the west, after the USA and Germany. I had MUCH greater success in the UK than I do here. If you have difficulties finding vintage mechs in the UK, you're doing it wrong :p .

We're not all brazen enough to break into people's houses and steal their vintage keyboards like you are -Chyros-


Offline rowdy

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Re: IBM vintage keyboard market in the UK is quite bad
« Reply #12 on: Wed, 03 January 2018, 01:14:48 »
Australia does not seem to have a great vintage keyboard market.

I was lucky with my first two Model M keyboards, although both were missing some keycaps and cables.

My two SSKs have come from the US.

My M122 came from, er, Sydney I think.

But something like a Dell AT101 - never seem them down here.

AEKII?  Nope.

I guess I'm lucky in that we generally use ANSI keyboards - makes finding keyboards and keycaps just a little bit easier.
"Because keyboards are accessories to PC makers, they focus on minimizing the manufacturing costs. But that’s incorrect. It’s in HHKB’s slogan, but when America’s cowboys were in the middle of a trip and their horse died, they would leave the horse there. But even if they were in the middle of a desert, they would take their saddle with them. The horse was a consumable good, but the saddle was an interface that their bodies had gotten used to. In the same vein, PCs are consumable goods, while keyboards are important interfaces." - Eiiti Wada

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