Watch CBSN Live

Calculating Collectibles

If you never clean out your desk drawer, you may still have your first pocket calculator. CBS News Saturday Morning collectibles expert Tony Hyman says it might finally add up to some cash for you.

You may remember when Sharp, Canon and Sanyo introduced the hand-held four-function electronic calculator in 1971.

The following January, Hewlett-Packard offered the HP-35, the first scientific multifunction programmable calculator. Despite its $400 price tag, it had customers standing in line.

Smelling profits galore, hundreds of small companies began making calculators, as did giants like Rockwell and Texas Instrument, which sold nearly a million inexpensive model TI-30s.

In only five years, more than 2,000 different electronic calculator models were marketed.

Calculator in a Watch
Today's collectors pay from $10 to $60 for the less common models, and even more for complex HPs. Some intriguing novelties like the Calcu-Pen are worth about $100, and the hard-to-find "Calculator in a Watch" can bring five times that.

Collectible calculators have red, blue or green displays which light up. Modern silver-colored LCDs, made since the late 1970s, are still back-of-the-drawer junk.

For more information on calculators Hyman recommends expert Guy Ball, author of Collector's Guide to Pocket Calculators. His email address is

Check out these Web sites and links for even more information:
Collecting Calcultors This is the home site for the International Association of Calculator Collectors.
Calculator Sites & Stuff
Calculator Links

For more information on collectibles go to Tony Hyman's Web site.

Previous CBS News Saturday Morning segments with collectibles expert Tony Hyman are available in the collectibles archive.

If you think you have a collectible worth a lot of cash, send an email to: Put "What's it Worth?" in the subject line, or write to: "What's it Worth?" CBS News Saturday Morning, 514 West 57th Street, 6th floor, New York, New York 10019.

Please note that because of the volume of mail received, Saturday Morning can't respond to all requests, but some will be selected and featured on the show in the near future.

©1999, CBS Worldwide Inc., All Rights Reserved