Top 15 Most Valuable Vintage Mobile Phones

Like your first car or first kiss, chances are you remember your first mobile phone! Since being released to the public nearly 40 years ago these handheld communication devices have come to dominate our daily life. Indeed, for many of us a day without our trusted phone is simply unimaginable. 

With mobile phones dominating so much of our lifestyle, it is hardly surprising that more and more people are starting to look back at the myriad of fascinating and important mobile phone designs from the past and beginning to collect them in earnest. As interest grows so too does value over the long term, so those old phones you have hidden away at home may already be worth much more than you think! 

A VERY brief overview…… 

For anyone thinking of collecting phones, it helps to understand a little about how they work and why certain models are considered desirable. While in the UK we chose to call them ‘Mobile Phones’, the US term ‘Cell Phone’ is actually a much better description for how these devices work. The leap in technology came towards the end of the 1970s when engineers worked out how to set up lots of small receiving masts in an area to create a network of interconnected cells (just like a honeycomb). This network would allow a not very powerful radio signal from a phone to be picked up by that cell and efficiently carried to a similar phone in another cell. Of course, the clever bit was as you physically moved around your connection just switched to whichever new cell you entered creating a very scalable network and giving you the ability to chat with your friend for hours on the train without the call ever dropping. 

The first handheld mobile phone coincided with the opening of the first large scale mobile networks in 1983 and was called the Motorola Dynatac 8000x. This is the phone everyone automatically thinks of when they think of old brick phones, but actually the first mobile network tests took place in Japan in 1979 followed by a larger network in the Nordic Countries in 1981. These networks used modified car phones rather than handheld devices and can also be quite desirable and valuable to collectors; we're sure they'll be considered 'Antech' before we know it.

The Technophone PC105T of 1986 was the world’s 1st pocket-sized phone.

15 of the Most Valuable Vintage Mobile Phones 

Although your battered old first phone might be highly sentimental to you, if it was a very good seller at the time chances are there are still a lot of examples around so may not be worth much money yet - perhaps save it for the Display Cabinet at home for now! As a collector it is vital to begin learning about those phones which are most prized among fellow enthusiasts and why. Sometimes they were the first, or the design was unusual, or they became associated with iconic movies, or they were made from luxury materials. Whatever the reason it is those phones which will prove to be the best financial investments over the long term. Below are 15 highly collectable Mobile phones and their current value range. This is by no means a complete list, but just a starting point for you to begin your own research. The price range given for each reflects the difference between a single slightly battered phone on its own, compared to one in very good condition complete in its box.