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Do you have old cell phones that could be worth a bundle?

Big call: comedian Dom Jolly helps launch Nokia 3310 retro

Big call: comedian Dom Jolly helps launch Nokia 3310 retro

A quarter of households in the UK have at least one old, unused mobile phone that collects dust, according to the Royal Society of Chemistry.

But millions could lose out on a good profit, as phones can still be valuable – even if they are old or broken.

Some rare models can fetch thousands of pounds as collector’s items. But even the most popular versions can have value.

The long-awaited iPhone 14 from Apple went on sale on Friday, sparking excitement among fans of the new technology. This is the first model that can automatically call emergency services if you are in a downturn and this enables you to send text messages using a satellite connection when you can’t get a signal or wi-fi.

But there’s plenty of reasons to get excited about older phones, too — some of which could ask you back thousands of pounds.

Old phones are worth thousands

Cell phones are so ubiquitous that it may seem hard to imagine that any of them could be considered collectors’ items. However, some of the oldest and most well-known now can command large sums.

“Older phones were not made as large as they are today, so many of them are rare and still retain value as collectibles,” explains Lynsey Chilcott, of Love Antiques.

She adds that if you have one of these old phones, you should seek professional advice and consider auctioning for the best prices.

Oldest Golden… Brick Size

The first cell phones were brick-sized, heavy, and had short battery life. Today they are defunct, but they are creative and collectible.

Motorola 8000x £800 – £3,500

The original ancestor of mobile phones. It was released in 1983 and was heavy, massive and had a battery life of 30 minutes.

Withdrawal of Senator NMT £800 – £2000

Technically, this phone was the first handheld mobile phone and was on sale in 1981.


Teknophone PC105T 600 GBP – 1500 GBP

The 1986 Technophone was the first phone designed to fit in a shirt pocket. It was priced at £1,990 – the equivalent of £6,481 in today’s money. She won the Prince of Wales Award in 1988.

Claim a fortune with a luxury phone

Over the years, phone companies have released limited-edition, deluxe versions of phones designed to express as much texting or making calls as possible. Some of them are valuable today.

Vertu Signature M £50 – £20,000 or more

Nokia launched the Vertu Signature range in 2003. Regular Vertu phones now sell for around £50, but some luxury versions are worth the thousands. The diamond-set model in 18k white gold is valued at over £20,000, as long as you have the original packaging and papers to prove its authenticity.

Nokia Sapphire 8800 500 GBP – 2000 GBP

Released in 2005, there are versions that sport leather covers, titanium, carbon fiber and even real sapphire instead of a navigation button. Also available in 18k gold plated.

Not for sale…but still wanted

Models that have not reached the market are often the most valuable and in demand due to their rarity. There are a lot of fakes knocking at you, so only buy from a reputable seller or auction house.

Pre-production model of the iPhone 1 £ 10000 +

The Apple iPhone released in 2007 was a turning point in mobile technology. If you had one of your first 2G phones, it would probably be worth around £2000 if it was still in the box. But prototypes can fetch tens of thousands of pounds. Prices vary widely, but have fetched up to £30,000 in online auctions, according to Love Antiques.

Nokia 7700 1000 GBP – 2000 GBP

Another prototype, this one is not actually sold, so cell phones are a rarity. It dates back to 2003 and would have overtaken the iPhone as the world’s first smartphone…if it had ever been on the shelves.

Make a fortune: from left, Motorola 8000x phone;  diamond-encrusted vertu, £20,000;  technophone.  Nokia Sapphire iPhone 1 Model;  The Nokia 7700 which has never been sold

Make a fortune: from left, Motorola 8000x phone; diamond-encrusted vertu, £20,000; technophone. Nokia Sapphire iPhone 1 Model; The Nokia 7700 which has never been sold

Criticism is a common form

There are a number of tech resellers who will buy phones even if they are old or damaged. These include magpie, buy any phone, compare and recycle, Mazuma and Envirophone. You might only gain a few pounds, but that’s better than letting them build up dust.

A Samsung Galaxy Note 4 in good condition will earn you £20, says Antonia Hristof, expert at tech-comparison and recycling. An Apple iPhone 6, also in good condition, can earn you up to £14; The Motorola Moto G4 is between £14-16 depending on internal storage; And the first-generation Google Pixel is still up to £20.

“The best-selling phone is the iPhone 11 and it’s worth £317,” says Hristof. “The oldest mobile phones in the top 20 list are the original iPhone SE and iPhone 6s, both of which are over five years old.”

eBay, online shopping Gumtree, and other Facebook or online community groups let you list your old phone and set your asking price. You may get more in return than you would get from a tech reseller, but it’s more hassle.

Before selling or passing on any old devices, be sure to delete all your information from them, remove the SIM card and restore it to factory settings.

Remember… all old phones have value

Even if you can’t sell your old phone, it may still have value to someone else. They can be refurbished and donated to people who can’t afford to buy their own parts, or strip them and reuse their parts.

You can donate old phones to the Great British Tech Appeal from Vodafone or O2’s Community Calling. Compare, Recycle, Sell My Mobile Phone and compare My Mobile offers bundled from dozens of services that will buy, redistribute or recycle your old phones for you.

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