Your Old Walkman Might Be Worth More Than You Realize

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Walkman model exhibit

Ned Snowman/Shutterstock

Tastemakers are always trying to find ways to differentiate themselves from the crowd, including using unique methods to share or consume their art. This year, our team has reported how vinyls outsold CDs, and the way floppy disks continue to inspire creators in the underground music scene. Unsurprisingly, alongside cassettes making a comeback, we’re also seeing a demand for Walkman music players too.

There was a time in technology history when having a Walkman meant being a cool kid, one able to take their music with them everywhere. Now that people can do this with their smartphones, it can be a little ironic that many people have done a complete 180 and are looking for more quaint ways to listen to their music. Of course, you can’t really blame them considering streaming platforms have been hit with criticisms over their failure to compensate smaller artists and the lack of transparency on their plans to handle artists’ growing concerns with AI.

So, if you still have an old childhood Walkman lying around your attic, it may be worth more than you think. Here’s how to know what the potential value might be.

Walkman on display

Ned Snowman/Shutterstock

Given its $150 price tag when it first launched – which is worth about $680 today – the original Walkman from 1979 was quite expensive to buy. However, some designs truly stand the test of time so that models are worth even more today.

Surveying eBay, the retro 1984 WM-DC2, which was the first model to introduce Dolby C, still racks up a good price. Even with some cosmetic wear and tear, it’s listed for as high as $1,099. A used but functional 1981 WM-2 Walkman is listed at $924.99. A red version, complete with box and accessories is $800.

Of course, there are unexpected events that can potentially increase the value of your Walkman, such as how “Guardians of the Galaxy” character Peter Quill introduced the Sony TPS-L2 Walkman to a whole new generation to show the hero’s affinity to earth. Due to its importance to the character’s look, this model has value solely for cosplay purposes. You can find second-hand TPS-L2 Walkmans on sale from $560 to $950. However, if you’re lucky enough to have a restored or mint condition version with original accessories, sellers have listings as high as $2,850.

To know how much your Walkman is going for, you might want to browse secondhand platforms like eBay, Etsy, and Facebook.

How to get a higher price for your Walkman

TPS-L2 Walkman

Ned Snowman/Shutterstock

It’s important to note that not all Walkmans will be worth much more than a few dollars and you might encounter some trial-and-error in terms of pricing if you’re planning to sell one, even for parts. Aside from the rarity of a model, other factors also affect the value your Walkman has in the collector’s market. If you can alleviate these concerns it will help ensure that your Walkman retains its value over time.

For example, collectors will look to see if it’s still in working order, so issues like stuck buttons will definitely reduce its value. Also, collectors will check if there’s any cosmetic damage, such as scratches or marks. Lastly, you’ll be able to fetch a better price if you still have the original box the device came in, plus accompanying accessories, and even proof of purchase as a bonus.

With all that being said, there are plenty of people who are willing to buy a Walkman without any of the frills or just to find parts to repair the one they already have. Selling your old Walkman might provide a cash prize you didn’t expect, or at least it could give it a new life with someone else.

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