Click to viewThis is James Savage's spare room, which contains one hundred Apple computers. He has more than 150 in his house and all of them are working perfectly, from an Apple II+ and a Lisa to the latest MacBook Pro. James sent us this image for our best computer rig contest, so we asked him about his passion—some would say obsession, others medical condition. You can read the full interview and see the huge gallery of all his computers after the jump.
Jesus Diaz: The first time I saw your photo I couldn't believe anyone could have as many Apple computers as you do, at least not outside of a museum. How many do you actually have?
James Savage: About 100 Macs and Apple computers (one NeXT) are in Macca [the spare room], with another 25 or so Macs in our home office and the rest of the Macs are in use throughout the house.
JD: How long did it take to get all these Macs and when did you start?
JS: I've been using Macs since my first, a Macintosh Plus, purchased new in 1988. I really began accumulating them in large numbers about five years ago. It originally began just as a quest to access some old Apple II files by getting an Apple IIe. Then, I wanted to transfer the files so an LC with a IIe emulator card was the best way to do this. Once I realized how inexpensively I could get Macs I once owned or desired to own, I really went crazy. There were many months when I would receive at least a Mac a week. I guess you can say that it has been about five years of serious collecting to get me where I am today.
JD: Once you find them, do they take a long time to restore?
JS: Macs hold up very well, so often, little is needed. I might have to do a little cleaning of the case and a fresh OS install, but other than that, most of them run like the day they were purchased when I receive them.
Some of the Macs are harder to find because they were never sold in the US. My Color Classic II was a nice find since it is a Japanese model (complete with Japanese Mac OS and keyboard) that found its way to the States. I have a IIvi that was sold to me by a military family who had purchased it new in Germany.
JD: And after that, how much time per day do you dedicate to taking care of them?
JS: They really don't need much care and feeding. I have about a dozen or so Macs that are powered 24 hours a day, and other than the periodic software update, they do just fine with little intervention. On the RetroMacCast we like to feature a different Mac each week. To prepare for that, I'll power up the featured Mac, reacquaint myself with it, and take pictures of it for the podcast.
From time to time, we'll get tech support questions from our listeners, so that gives me a chance to use the older Macs to test solutions. With every Mac made and countless pieces of software, peripherals, and connectors, I can pretty much duplicate any configuration.
JD: Do you sometimes turn them on and play with them, to check them out or say hi?
JS: Yes, sometimes I'll do that when I feel a little nostalgic. The new display room permits me to have many of them set up for operation. As people come to visit, I'll be able to turn them on and show the operation of different Macs throughout their history.
JD: How much money do you think this collection could sell for on eBay?
JS: As a lot? That's a tough question. Most of the money in this collection is in my time spent gathering everything. Strictly talking about the value of the computers, the lot isn't worth very much at all. Computers, with rare exception, do not appreciate. Even a pristine original 128k Macintosh is only worth a fraction of what it cost new. The sum total of my collection excluding the later models is probably worth about the price of brand new fully-loaded Mac Pro.
[I personally think it would be worth a lot more than that for the entire collection -JD]
JD: And finally, do you know many people who have this many Macs?
JS: Many people have large numbers of Macs, some approach my numbers or even exceed them. My podcast cohost, John, has around 30 Macs at his house, and quite a few of our listeners have collections of that size. As for the larger collections, you might have heard of Jeremy Mehrle. Jeremy's collection is quite spectacular, and he has been featured in many articles. I think he's hovering around 100 Apple computers. Also, I've just learned that one of our listeners, Justin from Australia, probably has a few more than I have.
JD: Anything else you want to add?
JS: Yeah, I would like to thank my wife, Tonya, for her understanding and support of my hobbies and a special thanks to my in-laws, Marty and Tony, for their help in remodeling the hobby room to showcase the collection. And if you are interested in this, you can check my podcast here.