To all of you that still have your old Nokia or Pocket Gameboys buried somewhere underneath old test papers, clothes that don’t fit anymore and an inch of dust; dig them out right now. If you are wondering why I am asking you to do such a seemingly absurd thing, think again. You might have a fortune buried underneath your teenage Spiderman shorts and not even know it.
There has been a recent growth in the sales of vintage handphones in Europe recently with, believe it or not, some of the good old models fetching prices as high as € 1,000 (RM4,394/ SGD1,711) each.
Catering to a mostly high-end clientele, Lekki, an online French site which carries the tagline of, “Back to basics”, offers its customers selections of revamped vintage cellular phones and handheld video games such as our classic Gameboys. Quoting the problems of an excess of technology and inundation of applications in our lives, Lekki allows those quaint at heart to rid themselves of all these disturbances by switching back to good old phones which can only be used to call or text.
These vintage phones such as the all time favourite Nokia 3310, which have been termed as ‘indestructible’ are really taking the meaning of this word to a whole new level as they rise from technological death. With this new fad on a roll, it would seem as if the decision to consign such mobile phones to recycling bins would be a sore one for many companies out there.
However, the Finnish giant, Nokia managed to play it smart by giving the Nokia 3310 a modern day comeback by outfitting it with a modified version of Windows 8. Or rather, they managed to dupe many into believing it would happen.
Damien Douani, an expert with FaDa social agency in France is on the opinion that it is simply trendy to be using a retro phone these days. Arguably, he has a point. It is difficult to walk on the streets without immediately being able to recognize the brand of a phone by its shape alone. Samsung’s Note family has that distinct rectangular shape while Apple boasts a sleeker design.
Everywhere you turn would only result in the same phones repeating over and over again: Samsung, Sony, Apple, etc. Those who yearn to differ would indubitably be drawn to fork out large amounts of money in order stand out from the crowd.
Alternatively, some have theorized that the worldwide push to smartphones which caused the basic phones to become obsolete actually turned around to give these retro mobiles a sky high boost. After all, it is not long before nostalgia catches up with us and we begin to sorely miss the good old days where our phones were not buzzing constantly with updates on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Plus, the retro Snake game never fails to find fans amongt all ages.
In fact, the clientele of Lekki has been profiled to be within the ages of 25-35 who are attracted to the retro and offbeat side of a different telephone or those who are hungry for a blast from the past, the founder of Lekki, Maxime Chanson said.
Djassem Haddad shared that many do not even double take at the exorbitant amount of these retro phones. The lack of availability of these phones has made paying a thousand Euros a worthy amount. The founder of vintagemobile.fr sais that he has managed to sell approximately 10,000 sets, with his sales rocketing from the start of 2013.
It is probably time to get up from my snug bed and hunt my old 3310 and hope that it is still in mint condition. After all, it is worth a mint. The best part is, you can still purchase technicolor retro phones in Malaysia for only about RM100. Talk about fantastic resale values.