I hear a lot of questions about the Commodore 64 over and over again. Many of them don’t warrant a single blog post. So here’s a list of Commodore 64 common questions and their answers.
If you want to know when the Commodore 64 came out, how many Commodore 64s sold, who made the Commodore 64, where the Commodore 64 was made, is the Commodore 64 worth anything, are Commodore 64 games worth anything, or if you can still buy a Commodore 64, read on.
When did the Commodore 64 come out?
Commodore announced the 64 in January 1982 at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show. It came out in August, priced originally at $595.
How many Commodore 64s sold?
Estimates vary. Commodore didn’t keep very good records, which I think helped Irving Gould avoid accountability. I’ve seen estimates as low as 10 million and as high as 25 million. Ten million seems low, as Commodore may have sold that many just from 1982-1985. They sold about 3 million of them in both 1983 and 1984, and even in the late 1980s they were still selling a million of them a year. During the early 1980s, Commodore sold the 64 as quickly as it could make it.
The 25 million figure may have been including the Commodore 128, which is a bit unfair. Most likely the real number is somewhere between 17 and 20 million.
When you look at Commodore’s financial history, you can see how the company’s fortunes pretty much rose and fell with the 64. When the 64 had a good year, Commodore usually did too. And when the 64 ran out of steam, so did the company.
How do you use a Commodore 64?
Is a Commodore 64 worth anything?
A tested, working Commodore 64 is worth somewhere between $50 and $100, generally speaking. A dead or untested Commodore 64 is worth more like $20-$50, since it likely does contain some salvageable parts. For top dollar, it’s critical for the sound to work.
In my personal experience, at least half of the 64s I’ve encountered had problems.
Commodore peripherals are worth a lot less. Printers have little value. A working 1541 disk drive is worth $20-$50.
As with anything, the more complete the item is, the more valuable it is. A loose item is worth less than one with its original box, manuals and paperwork.
Are Commodore 64 games worth anything?
It depends. The games are rarer than the machine of course, and a lot of people pirated games rather than buying them.
GenXers remember the 64 fondly, and they tend to be at the stage in life where they have the disposable income to collect the things they couldn’t afford in their youth.
All of that means original disks or cartridges have some value. A game with the manual and box is worth more. The best way to estimate the value of what you have is to search Ebay and look at sold items, not necessarily active listings. Some people will list a game for $100 but that doesn’t mean anyone will buy it.
I have some tips for selling on Ebay if you need them.
Who made the Commodore 64?
A defunct company, Commodore Business Machines (later known as Commodore International), designed and manufactured the Commodore 64. The 64 helped make Commodore one of the largest computer companies in the world, but mismanagement drove the company out of business in 1994.
Where was the Commodore 64 made?
Commodore had factories all around the world. So, at various times, 64s were made in the United States, West Germany, Japan, and Hong Kong. Later in its life, Commodore also had factories in Scotland, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines, but I haven’t seen 64s made there.
Can you still buy a Commodore 64?
Not a new one. Commodore stopped making the chips for the 64 in 1992, although they continued to cobble machines together from unsold and returned inventory through the end, to April 1994. There was once a TV plug-in game system based on the 64, but it hasn’t been sold since 2006.
There have been efforts to market PCs in 64-lookalike cases, but these haven’t been very successful.
Vintage C-64s are plentiful on Ebay. Either look for one tested and working, or be prepared to buy an untested one and have to make some repairs. It’s also possible to find Commodore equipment at garage sales and estate sales. Many baby boomers had elaborate 64 setups in the 1980s and 1990s and are liquidating their estates now. For some hobbyists, hunting vintage computing gear on weekends is part of the fun.