With auction sites like eBay and retro game stores operating online, it’s never been easier to get hold of any issues of Commodore Format missing from your collection. But the prices vary as wildly as the condition. So what should you be paying and how should you be safeguarding yourself? The Commodore Format Archive asked a group of fans, all of whom have entire collections and have spent years in the process. Here’s what they told us.
If you’re looking at buying back issues of CF, here are the need-to-know basics:
- ISSUES 3 TO 58 without Power Pack in good condition are worth £2/3. With a covertape including box, pay up to £4.
- ISSUES 1 AND 2 aren’t “collectors” editions. Over 50,000 were printed. Pay the same rates as above for these in good condition, except where you find a copy with the card and cassette still attached to the front. Very, very few of these exist. Pay up to £10, but make sure it’s pristine.
- ISSUES 59, 60 and 61 had a more limited run. In great condition with tape, these are worth paying a little more for, but never more than a fiver. Remember that they’re just 24 pages long and printed on poor quality paper.
- A FULL SET in great condition, with tapes, can go for anything between £40 (if the seller doesn’t know what they’ve got) and £90 including postage. If it’s a complete set with binders, go for £100 and don’t budge. BINDERS ARE, IN FAIRNESS, VERY RARE. Read about them here.
Some issues of CF came with a freebie in addition to the covertape. Add an extra 50p to £1 if these are present, and another few pounds if still stuck to the front (make sure the buyer hasn’t just reattached them!). The same goes if it is a copy of the magazine bought via subscription and comes with the subs newsletter. These freebies are:
CF4 (Corker/UBI Soft badge on lucky dip basis), CF7 (tips book), CF13 (Imageworks stickers), CF15 (Heroquest hologram stickers), CF19 (Space Crusade / Addams Family badge on lucky dip basis), CF20 (Indiana Jones door hanger), CF21 (Steg hi-score card), CF38 (Alien 3 stickers). Check what all of these freebies look like here.
SOME OTHER REALLY IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER
- Back issues of Commodore Format are not rare. Don’t be fooled by “rare” or “limited edition” in listings. That includes the first and last issues. Each is available on eBay multiple times a year.
- Does the magazine include the centrefold poster? Most issues of CF (2 to 33, and 61) had one. If it’s missing, remember that you’ll be missing out on the articles from the other side of the poster, too. Insist the buyer checks.
- Make sure there are no other missing pages or writing / damage to the magazine. Some people’s idea of “good condition” may not be yours.
- Don’t be ripped off by postage. The old auction site scam! Check before you bid or agree a sale. If you’re paying £3 for the mag and the postage is £13, shut it down.
- Consider buying in bulk. It often works out cheaper to buy the sets of 20 or 30 that come up now and then. If you’ve already got some of the issues, no worries. Put them back up for sale or trade.
- Be wary of sellers on forums. Unlike auction sites, you’re not protected if you buy privately by messaging people on forums or social media. Only send money if you are 100% sure you trust the buyer. Sales of CF are banned on our social media sites for our community’s protection. If you go elsewhere, be sure you know the risks.
- Online retro stores can be expensive. Sure, they’ll have your “elusive” last issue of CF. But usually for around £20. We bought one recently on eBay for just £3.
Bide your time. Every issue of CF comes up multiple times a year. It’s exciting to see an issue you haven’t got, especially if it’s the only one you need to complete your collection. But anyone charging upwards of £10 for any issue of CF is ripping you off. Don’t bite – another copy will be along soon.
BUT I’VE GOT £20 AND I WANT TO SPEND IT ON CF61. I CAN AFFORD IT. WHY SHOULDN’T I?
Nobody’s stopping you. It’s all about what you’re prepared to pay, really. But paying sky-high rates pushes the price of Commodore Format up for everyone across the board, and keeps them out of the hands of people who’d really enjoy them. By paying sensibly, the entire C64 community benefits. CF