According to the Associated Press, the Walkman, the Sony cassette device that forever changed music listening before becoming outdated by digital MP3 players and iPods, has died. It was 31 years old.
Sony announced Oct. 25 that it has ceased production of the classic, cassette tape Walkman in Japan, effectively sounding the death knell of the once iconic, now obsolete device. The Walkman is survived by the Discman (still clinging to life) and ironic music listeners who think using a Walkman in this day and age is charmingly out of touch.
It will continue to be produced in China and distributed in the U.S., Europe and some Asian countries. Digital Walkmans are also being made with models that display lyrics and have improved digital noise-canceling technology.
So in this age of MP3 players, do-it-all smartphones and multitaskers like the iPad, is there still a place in collectors’ hearts for Sony’s retro portable players? The short answer? Sure looks like it. Just check out these eBay auction results in order from lowest to highest value.
10. $135.50 — Sony WM-EX90 Walkman. Starting off our countdown is a “for parts” entry, this time a fully loaded, cosmetically pretty model originally released in 1992.
“It is a one-of-a-kind Walkman with its flat layout that’s meant more for use on a desktop than the pocket,” the seller writes. “This unit would be a nice addition to your Walkman collection or great for daily use once fixed.”
This super-slim version boasts an LCD display, digital clock, full logic controls and also is remote capable, the seller said.
9. $151.43 — Sony Walkman WM-D6C Personal Cassette Player. As an adolescent in the ’80s, I can’t fathom an answer. “This is an unused present in perfect condition,” the seller writes. “It is cased and has the shoulder strap, both in mint condition.” However, there’s no AC adaptor or earphones. Guess that’s why it wasn’t ever used.
8. $152.50 — Sony Discman D-15 CD Player. Known overseas as the D-150, this player comes with the earphones and a U.K. 240-volt power adaptor (the original battery no longer holds a charge.) Here’s hoping that if an American bought it with plans to use it, he or she was smart enough to buy a converter from an electronics store before hitting play.
7. $155 — Sony Walkman WM-2. You can almost hear the ’80s calling when you look at this red model with a pearl finish. Too bad you’ll never get that copy of Blondie’s “Autoamerican” to play. This player powers up and the heads move if no tape is in place, but it locks up once a cassette is inserted, the seller said. This still makes for a fun display collectible, or it even could be used for parts.
6. $158.51 — Sony Walkman WM-10. This WM-10 model, which boasts an all-metal chassis, was acquired from the bottom drawer of an executive desk at an estate sale and appears to have had little, if any, use. It comes with the belt loop holder and straps, and appears to be in excellent cosmetic condition, as evidenced by the large collection of photos accompanying the listing.
Anyone else hear a big “but” coming?
“I have tried to play a cassette tape in it, but nothing happens,” the seller writes. “When I put in a battery, the battery light does not come on. The battery compartment and cover are in nice shape, but the AA battery may not be making a good connection. The unit and screws are way too small for me to attempt to take apart. I will leave that up to you guys that know what you are doing. I do not have a power adapter that goes down to 1.5 volts, so the unit is being sold as is.”
And, there it is.
Folks, if you can find a way to earn $158 by selling something that doesn’t work, by all means, do it.
5. $171.50 — Sony Walkman WM-10. Hmm … Maybe those Sony Walkman WM-10s aren’t as rare as our sellers would like you to believe! Nineteen bids were exchanged on this lot, which came with the carrying case, belt clip and straps. “Lovely cosmetic appearance and get this … it works!!” the seller wrote.
4. $179.99 — Sony Walkman WM-10. Up next is another one of those so-called rare WM-10 models. Here’s the third one in a row. This one from 1983 is in working condition and includes the original headphones, instruction manual, belt clip and carrying strap, but has a tiny dent near the “Sony” writing.
3. $250 —Sony Walkman WM-10. And yet another “unicorn.” Touted by the seller as a rarity and as the smallest cassette player ever made — only as big as a cassette box in size —this vintage beauty found a home despite missing its strap and original headphones.
2. $285 — Sony Walkman D50 CD player. This first-generation, cherry-red model was introduced in 1984 — wow, has it really been that long since CDs first came along? It hasn’t been used for more than 20 years, but still works perfectly and comes complete with an AC adaptor/line out accessory attachment and is “perfect for display or use,” the seller says.
1. $346.90 — Silver-plated 10th anniversary Sony Walkman. This player is one of 2,000 made, it’s in mint condition, it’s never been used and it’s still got all the packaging, which pretty much guarantees it’ll rule the auction roost.
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