The phone collector



August 26, 2016
The phone collector

Abraham Cook, 46, loves collecting old phones. CREDIT: Manqoba Nigidi

Parow man cashing in on vintage items.

Here’s an idea for what to do with your old and unused cellphones — keep them around for 25 years or so and then sell them on as collector’s items.

That’s exactly what Parow resident Abraham Cook, 46, is doing with his collection of vintage cellular devices.

His oldest cell is a Motorola MicroTAC 9800X which he says was the first flip phone ever manufactured in 1989.

Abraham is selling his 27-year-old phone for just R250 on Gumtree. An identical model has an asking price of R1300 on US site eBay.

Abraham also has Nokias, Samsungs and Sony Ericssons, all in mint condition, which he is selling.

Abraham is a collector and seller of fine old things, such as stamps, cameras and coins. But the cellphones, which he recently started advertising on Gumtree, have become a favourite with mense.

Abraham’s phone collection CREDIT: Manqoba Nigidi

Abraham grew up in Hanover Park and worked in Parliament, where he had to travel all over the country. He says his love for collectibles blossomed as he learnt about different cultures and the way in which people hoarded their wealth.

“I learnt that there are many treasures to be found at second-hand flea markets and the recycling plants. People just throw things away. Lately my bestseller is the Nokia 3310. The old guys love it and prefer that to the new phones,” he says.

His favourite collecting spots are the Parow Market, and the Goodwood and Parow Recycling Plants.

Pointing to a klokkie, he says: “I have made R1500 profit off one of those old goat bells. I still don’t know why the client wanted it, but I instinctively knew he wanted it desperately.”

He says people regularly accuse him of being a hoarder, like on the American TV shows.

“Hoarding is clutter, mostly a mess. I do not hoard, I collect, sell and make money,” he insists.

Claire Cobbledick, head of marketing for Gumtree, says thousands of South Africans have unused mobile phones lying around that many of them would classify as vintage: “There is quick and easy money to be made if your phone is old and in good condition.”

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