A rare piece of computing history is for sale on eBay, and it can be yours for the low, low price of $30,000. We’ve all heard of the Commodore 64—the best-selling computer model of all time—but had things gone differently, we’d also be looking back fondly on the Commodore 65.
This proposed successor to the Commodore 64 now commands a lofty price, and for good reasons. For one, the Commodore 65 was never officially released to the public, and only a few prototypes—like the one being sold on eBay (via HotHardware)—were built. There are an estimated 50 to 2,000 Commodore 65 machines still in existence, and only a handful of those are operational.
The C65, originally called the Commodore C64DX, was a proposed successor to the immensely popular C64, which had been losing steam after a successful 10-year run. It was teased in magazines in 1989, but was first created in late 1990. The intent was to revitalize the Commodore with a system that promised backward compatibility through emulation, a faster 3.54MHz processor, more capable graphics, and a built-in disk drive.
There was just one problem: by the time Commodore International got serious about the C65, the Amiga 500 had taken off. Those who had owned a Commodore 64 had already made the switch to the Amiga. In the end, after reported infighting within the company, the C65 was tabled, and when Commodore International liquidated, C65 prototypes were sold on the open market.
If the description in this eBay post is accurate, the one currently on sale is a true holy grail. The seller, who is based in Germany, suggests this “seller refurbished” Commodore 65 is rarer than most of its kind because it is an “Alpha series” version with a plastic mold that is completely smooth and hasn’t yet been “roughened.” The computer supposedly has a serial number of 27 and a faded sticker on the bottom stating “Property of Commodore” notes how the device was never approved by the FCC.
“The C65 is [sic] highly sought and valued collector’s items, especially when in fully working order: very few working machines are known to exist. But this particular unit is even much rarer [sic],” the seller wrote in the eBay listing. “The plastic molds are not roughened so the case still has a high-glossy look and the POWER and DRIVE text is missing. The plastic molded cases of these ALPHA Units are totally rare, only a hand full [sic] are known to exist.”
The seller posted a video to YouTube (see above) showing the Commodore 65 in action, playing music, running the bitmap graphics editor DeluxePaint (DPaint), and powering Last Ninja 2: Back with a Vengeance. As the seller notes in his listing, the computer appears to be in excellent shape, with only “tiny minor scratches.”
Given the condition, rarity, and significance of this Commodore 65, it’s no surprise that the machine is currently bidding at €25,615, or about $27,800. With three days remaining, we imagine the price will continue to increase. When these systems do show up for sale, they go for tens of thousands of dollars, with the most recent unit selling at $22,435 and the most expensive at $197,526, back in 2017. Sure, you could buy a nice car with this sort of money, but then, what better way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the most successful computer in history than to own the successor that never was?