The Collectible ULTIMA


There have been so many Ultimas, and so many Ultima-related products, that it's hard to believe that they're difficult to find. But the first Ultima came into being nigh on 20 years ago, and some have become legitimate collectors' items. Below are some tips on how you might search for an item you want, and what the "availability" you'll see attached to items on this site means.

1. Which Ultima things are readily available?
2. If the product is a little older, what then?
  • Well, you'll have to try a little harder. If something isn't readily available, you might be able to find older copies somewhere. My links page has a set of relevant Usenet groups that can be scoured to see if someone is offering such an item for sale or trade; a Usenet archive like DejaNews is useful for this purpose. There are also plenty of online vendors for games that have been released in the last 3-4 years. The most useful site may be the CD-ROM Guide. This site not only lists software available on the Internet, it searches to see what vendor has the lowest price for a particular item at that time, and gives you a link. However, it only deals in CD-ROM based software; older disk products aren't listed. For those you might try searching Lycos or Alta Vista for the title name; who knows what might turn up.
3. The above didn't help! Argh, I need my holo-box Ultima 23 from Spiderman Games with the spandex map, and I need it NOW!
  • Whoa, calm down there cowboy. If you're really desperate, well, you must be a real collector. And like with anything rare, there are certain tactics you can use to bring your items to you, but they all require varying amounts of shoe leather (that means 'work') and resources (that means 'money') on your part. Below is a list of possible suggestions; others relating to collectible items might apply too. Be creative!

    • There is such a thing as a 'software consignment store'. It's like a pawn shop for old computer software and/or hardware. These are becoming more common, so look around in your area (and your Yellow Pages) and see if there's one nearby.
    • Many large newspapers have a "Good Neighbors" column that allows you to ask about items you're interested in finding. Such columns tend to be free, or less expensive than posting a classified ad (which is another option).
    • Have you tried looking for the local PC Users Group in your area? How about the Apple Users Group? Or other old computers? There are still quite a few of these around; you might try finding them through your local library, high school computer clubs, computer stores where they might have left fliers, and so on.
    • Post messages on Usenet offering large sums of cash for the item you have in mind. Always a useful tactic, when possible.
    • Two words: yard sale. Check the local papers for ads, and call ahead to check on what you're looking for.
    • Flea markets, pawn shops, and other such places are probably not going to be very useful, since the general public doesn't buy and resell old software very much, but you never know.
    • There are a number of web-based companies now that deal in reselling old software, even on defunct platforms.
    • Web-based auction houses, such as Auction Web. Check them out.
4. What I really want to do is SELL my Ultimas. What then?
  • First, you email me, and give me first crack. :-) Seriously, try the reverse of the above. Advertise on relevant Usenet groups. Check into local software consignment stores. Or you might try holding an auction over the Internet. This seems to be a very popular way of buying, selling and trading things these days. A lot of Ultima products have turned up on Auction Web, so you might try starting an auction there, and then posting about it on relevant Usenet groups to attract attention. Auction Web is also another good place for buyers to look, as are other online auction houses.
5. What kind of price should I buy/sell for?
  • That is entirely - ENTIRELY - up to you and the folks you deal with. I've seen rare items go for peanuts, and common ones get sold for outrageous sums. That's one of the reasons I created the original Ultima Collectibles List, to make sure people had enough information on these things to deal fairly. The old rule, "Caveat Emptor", Let the Buyer Beware, is applicable. As in any business dealing, be careful, know what your goal is, and you'll probably come out okay.

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