Collectors show auction love for Sony portable players

By Susan Sliwicki

In this age of MP3 players, do-it-all smartphones and multitaskers like the iPad, is there still a place in collectors’ hearts for Sony’s retro portable players?

The short answer? Sure looks like it.

If these eBay auction results don’t convince you, maybe record companies’ renewed efforts to release music on vinyl and cassette formats will.

1. $346.90 — Silver-plated 10th anniversary Sony Walkman. This player is one of 2,000 made, it’s in Mint condition, it’s never been used and it’s still got all the packaging, which pretty much guarantees it’ll rule the auction roost.

2. $285 — Sony Walkman D50 CD player. This first-generation, cherry-red model was introduced in 1984 — wow, has it really been that long since CDs first came along? It hasn’t been used for more than 20 years, but still works perfectly and comes complete with an AC adaptor/line out accessory attachment and is “perfect for display or use,” the seller says.

3. $250 —Sony Walkman WM-10. Touted by the seller as a rarity and as the smallest cassette player ever made — only as big as a cassette box in size —this vintage beauty found a home despite missing its strap and original headphones.

4. $179.99 — Sony Walkman WM-10. Up next is another one of those so-called rare WM-10 models. This one from 1983 is in working condition and includes the original headphones, instruction manual, belt clip and carrying strap, but has a tiny dent near the “Sony” writing.

5. $171.50 — Sony Walkman WM10.Hmm … Maybe those Sony Walkman WM-10s aren’t as rare as our sellers would like you to believe! Here’s the third one in a row. Nineteen bids were exchanged on this lot, which came with the carrying case, belt clip and straps
“Lovely cosmetic appearance and get this … it works!!” the seller wrote. “This is  a great piece for the collector.”

6. $158.51 — Sony Walkman WM-10. And yet another “unicorn.” This WM-10 model, which boasts an all-metal chassis, was acquired from the bottom drawer of an executive desk at an estate sale and appears to have had little, if any, use. It comes with the belt loop holder and straps, and appears to be in excellent cosmetic condition, as evidenced by the large collection of photos accompanying the listing.

Anyone else hear a big “but” coming?

“I have tried to play a cassette tape in it but nothing happens,” the seller writes. “When I put in a battery the battery light does not come on. The battery compartment and cover are in nice shape, but the AA battery may not be making a good connection. The unit and screws are way too small for me to attempt to take apart. I will leave that up to you guys that know what you are doing. I do not have a power adapter that goes down to 1.5 volts so the unit is being sold as is.”

And, there it is.

Folks, if you can find a way to earn $158 by selling something that doesn’t work, by all means, do it.

7. $155 — Sony Walkman WM-2. You can almost hear the ’80s calling when you look at this pretty red model with a subtle pearl finish. Too bad you’ll never get that copy of Blondie’s “Autoamerican” to play.

Although this player powers up and the heads move if no tape is in place, it locks up once a cassette is inserted, the seller said. But this still makes for a fun display collectible, or it even could be used for parts.

8. $152.50 — Sony Discman D-15 CD Player. Known overseas as the D-150, this player comes with the earphones and a U.K. 240-volt power adaptor (the original battery no longer holds a charge.) Here’s hoping that if an American bought it with plans to use it, he or she was smart enough to buy a converter from an electronics store before hitting play.

9. $151.43 — Sony Walkman WM-D6C Personal Cassette Player. How could someone pass up using a Walkman? As an adolescent in the ’80s, I can’t fathom an answer.

“This is an unused present in perfect condition,” the seller writes. “It is cased and has the shoulder strap, both in mint condition.” However, it doesn’t come with an AC adaptor or earphones.

10. $135.50 — Sony WM-EX90 Walkman. Rounding out our countdown is yet another “for parts” entry, this time a fully loaded, cosmetically pretty model originally released in 1992.

“It is a one-of-a-kind Walkman with its flat layout that’s meant more for use on a desktop than the pocket,” the seller writes. “This unit would be a nice addition to your Walkman collection or great for daily use once fixed.”

This super-slim version boasts an LCD display, digital clock, full logic controls and also is remote capable, the seller said.


For related items that you may enjoy in our Goldmine store:
• Buy the brand new edition of “Goldmine Standard Catalog of American Records 1948-1991, 7th Edition

• Get the new John Lennon book: “John Lennon: Life is What Happens, Music, Memories & Memorabilia”

Get the closest thing to the full Woodstock experience with the book “Woodstock Peace, Music & Memories.”

• Order the latest Ozzy book,“The Wit & Wisdom of Ozzy Osbourne” (estimated ship date: 9/30/2010) Very witty. Very funny. Very Ozzy.

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