Mark-8 opinion question

steven at steven at
Wed Oct 12 00:02:17 CDT 2016

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Mark-8 opinion question
From:    "Brad H" <vintagecomputer at>
Date:    Wed, October 12, 2016 2:38 pm
To:      "'General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts'" <cctalk at>

> I asked this on vcfed and I don't know how much overlap there is here so I
> apologize if this is hitting all the same people over again.  As some are
> aware I recently won an auction for 9 original Mark-8 boards (it has 4 1k
> RAM boards).  To say I was elated would be an understatement - I certainly
> have some unusual stuff in my collection but this is something truly rare.
> And these are rare both in their own right and for what they are - unused.
> Pretty much spotless.
> I feel kind of in a bind about it now though.  As an amateur historian, my
> first impulse is to stick em in a frame and hang em.  Not even lay a finger
> on them.  But I've a stubborn practical side.  Like that guy that has an
> original AC Shelby Cobra and actually drives the thing.  He was asked why
> he'd actually drive such a rare and valuable vehicle and he said 'What's the
> point of a car you don't drive?'.    But then he can say that - that Shelby
> doesn't have zero miles on it.
> Realistically, I'm never likely to own a complete, vintage Mark-8.  There
> are simply too few of them and I couldn't afford one even if one popped up
> (I could afford the computer, just not the divorce afterwards :)).  So here
> I am with one path to having one that would be, by virtue of the boards, way
> more legit than a clone, but still have that 'built in 2016' asterisk beside
> its name for serious collectors.
> Anyway, I'm just soliciting opinions from those I haven't already heard
> from.  This is just for the purpose of discussion, because I'm sure this
> isn't the first and won't be the last time somebody buying vintage gear runs
> into a situation like this.  Whatever I end up doing, it will not happen for
> years anyway.  I'm not at a skill level yet to pull it off, and I'd still
> like to build that clone first and see what I achieve before touching
> priceless originals.

It sounds like you've already made your mind up. If it were me, I would
not build on the originals. I would engage someone to repop the boards,
their labour cost would be recouped with the sale of a few sets.
What I would do is make sure the repops are easily identifiable as such
so that they are not in future passed off as orignals at the same time as
preserving your investment in the real thing.

I recall seeing photos of a WWI biplane fighter being restored by the Smithsonian,
and on the new pieces of wood they used to replace damaged or missing fillets,
longerons and other parts of the airframe they had clearly stamped 'REPRODUCTION'
so that future conservators would know what was original and what was not.


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