Innovation, Miniaturization And Collectibility

The Millionaire Calculator

We find it interesting in our business that certain random collectibles often have a mystifying desirability for collectors. So, for fun, we are going to talk about unusual items on both sides of the spectrum. Calculators are a way of life for most of us. The ones that sit on our desk were probably bought at an office supply store for $3 to $25. Recently, we purchased two unusual calculators. 

calculator image


The first — an amazing attempt for its time — makes calculations in spite of its 100-pound weight (and being the size of a small desk). It was considered almost the second coming for accountants when it was first designed in 1881. This exact version, called the Millionaire because it could calculate up to the amazing number of one million, was invented in 1893 and continued to be manufactured until 1930. These have recently sold for up to $5,000 online. We offer ours with a modest auction estimate of $1,500-$2,000.

Pulsar Calculator

Conversely, we recently bought this 1970s collector’s item of a miniaturized calculator made by Pulsar. These typically don’t work, and sell for between $20 and $30, but this particular one had the original box and papers, and someone had shown the foresight to remove the batteries – so it worked beautifully.

We sold it for almost $800. Both of these machines do the same job and both are outdated — but they continue to have appeal for collectors.

pulsar watch


This is an archival article formerly written and is for informational purposes only. The valuations in this article have likely changed since it was first written.

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