17 Things That Were Expensive 20 Years Ago, but Are Now Cheap (Or Worthless)

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Remember that top-of-the-line 3D television you paid a small fortune for in the 2000s? As technology continues its relentless march, what was once a luxury becomes today’s obsolete artifact. In the rapidly evolving tech landscape, yesterday’s premium devices often find themselves in today’s bargain bin. Here are a few of those painfully expensive, now woefully worthless reminders.

1. 3D Televisions

3D TV - DP

Once the pièce de résistance of any tech-savvy household, these are now cheaper than the popcorn you’d munch on while watching them.

Fun Fact: Did you know that the first 3D TV was launched by Samsung in 2010, sparking a ‘3D craze’ in the entertainment industry?

2. HD-DVD Players

HD-DVD Players- DP
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At the height of their fame, they represented the future of home entertainment, but Blu-Ray’s dominance sent them to the tech graveyard.

Fun Fact: Despite their short-lived success, HD-DVDs actually had a lower production cost than Blu-Rays due to their similarities with traditional DVDs.

3. PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants)

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These were once the cutting edge of convenience. Today, they’re just retro reminders of a pre-smartphone era.

Did you know? The term “PDA” was first used by Apple’s then-CEO John Sculley in 1992 when he introduced the Apple Newton.

4. Navigation Systems

Navigation Systems- DP
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These were once as essential as the steering wheel. Today, they’re about as valuable as an outdated road atlas.

Fun Fact: The first GPS devices for commercial use were bulky and incredibly expensive, with the original Magellan NAV 1000 priced at $2,900 in 1989!

5. Early Digital Cameras

Early Digital Cameras- DP
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They changed the face of photography forever, but now they’re outclassed by the cameras in our pockets.

Did you know? The first consumer digital cameras entered the market in the late ’90s, with resolutions of just around 1 megapixel.

6. Physical Media (CDs, DVDs, etc.)

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Once a symbol of the digital age, now they’re just fancy coasters for your coffee table.

Fun Fact: The first CD was pressed in 1982, and it was a recording of Claudio Arrau performing Chopin waltzes.

7. BlackBerry Phones

BlackBerry Phones- DP
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These were the quintessential business accessory. Now, they’re a charming piece of tech nostalgia.

Did you know? The BlackBerry was so named because the keyboard’s tiny round keys resembled the drupelets of a blackberry fruit.

8. Memory Sticks

Memory Sticks - DP
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These were a digital lifeline, a means of transferring data. Today, they’re more likely to be used as keychains.

Fun Fact: Sony’s original memory stick launched in 1998 could only hold up to 128MB of data. Today, flash drives can hold up to 2TB!

9. Early Plasma TVs

Early TV - DP
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Once the titans of the television market, they’re now just space-hogging dinosaurs.

Did you know? Plasma TVs function by illuminating tiny, charged gas cells, also known as plasmas, hence their name.

10. Ringtones

Physical Media- DP
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We all had that favorite tune we’d play on our Nokia 3310s. But now? They’re as free as the air we breathe.

Fun Fact: The first ever mobile ringtone was simply a replication of a traditional telephone ring, and it debuted on the Nokia 2110 back in 1994.

11. Fax Machines

Fax Machines - DP
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The once indispensable fax machine is now as archaic as a horse-drawn carriage.

Did you know? Although largely unused in homes today, fax machines remain surprisingly popular in Japan due to their cultural emphasis on handwritten correspondence.

12. iPod Classic

iPod Classic - DP
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This device redefined the way we listen to music, but with today’s streaming services, it’s little more than a collector’s item.

Fun Fact: The iPod classic’s iconic scroll wheel was initially mechanical in the first generation and then became touch-sensitive in subsequent versions.

13. Landline Phones

Landlines - DP
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Once a hallmark of every household, they’re now about as valuable as a souvenir postcard.

Did you know? Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, initially wanted people to answer the phone by saying “Ahoy!”

14. Early Tablets

Early Tablets - DP
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They were once the future of portable computing. Now, they’re relics of a bygone era.

Fun Fact: The first tablet computer concept is attributed to Alan Kay, a researcher at Xerox PARC, who designed the “Dynabook” concept in 1968, long before tablets became a reality.

15. Satellite Phones

Satellite Phones - DP
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Once the only means of communication in the remotest parts of the world, these devices are now a niche product in an era of global cellular coverage.

Fun Fact: Did you know? The first satellite phone, the Motorola Iridium, was launched in 1998. Despite the handset’s price tag of $3,000 and per-minute charges of up to $7, Iridium filed for bankruptcy just nine months after launching, making it one of the costliest corporate failures in history.

16. Concorde Tickets

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These tickets were once the golden ticket to an era of supersonic transatlantic travel, but now they are just valuable memories.

Fun Fact: The Concorde, which was capable of speeds over twice the speed of sound, could complete the journey from London to New York in just under 3.5 hours. This is less than half the time it takes a conventional commercial flight today. At its peak speed, the Concorde could actually make this transatlantic flight faster than the Earth’s rotation, allowing passengers to arrive at their destination at a local time earlier than when they had departed!

17. High-End Luxury Watches

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Some high-end luxury watches that were once seen as solid investments have not stood the test of time, and their value has depreciated significantly.

Did you know? Franck Muller, known for its distinctive Cintreé Curvex case and complex movements, is often credited with reviving the art of the “complication” in watches during the 1990s and early 2000s.

31 Vintage Items Worth Money: Do You Have Any of These?

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There’s a hot market for antique and vintage items in good, working condition. Remember that Singer sewing machine Grandma held on to all those years, only to pass it on to you? It could sell for as much as $1000 today.

31 Vintage Items Worth Money: Do You Have Any of These?

Popular Travel Souvenirs That Are Now Worth Money: Did You Keep Any?

travel souvenirs
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Are you the type of person who gets a little teary-eyed when you stumble across an old, dusty souvenir from a bygone era? (It’s OK, we won’t tell.) Many travelers collect vintage souvenirs as a fun way to preserve the history and nostalgia of days gone by. And if you’re lucky enough to have a rare find, that dusty trinket you bought all those years ago could be worth a decent chunk of change.

Popular Travel Souvenirs That Are Now Worth Money: Did You Keep Any?

Boomer vs Gen Z Housewives: A Whimsical Comparison of Two Generations, United by Oven Mitts

smiling woman on pink background
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Once upon a time, the role of a housewife was as clearly defined as the grooves in a vinyl record. Fast forward to the 2020s, and the concept of a housewife has evolved into a multi-faceted, dynamic occupation.

Boomer vs Gen Z Housewives: A Whimsical Comparison of Two Generations, United by Oven Mitts

Here’s What It Was Really Like to Drive a Model T Ford

Model T Ford
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Tired of driving down easy-street in your super comfy modern car? Well, have no fear because the Model T is here! Let’s take a ride down memory lane with a humorous look at what traveling in a Model T was like when it first came out.

Here’s What it Was Really Like to Drive a Model T Ford

Facts About the Oregon Trail That Prove Most of Us Would Have Never Made It

blue and red covered wagon
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Imagine embarking on a journey spanning 2,000 grueling miles, filled with treacherous river crossings, food rationing, relentless weather, and the constant threat of disease. Welcome to the life of a pioneer on the Oregon Trail!

Facts About the Oregon Trail That Prove Most of Us Would Have Never Made It

This post was produced and syndicated by Our Woven Journey.

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Demi Michele is a seasoned traveler, turned freelance writer. Having explored most states and ventured internationally, her love for outdoor cafes, new cuisines, and cultural immersion shines through her wide range of articles. Based in Texas with her family and two Scottish Terriers, Demi turns her adventures into captivating travel narratives to share with readers.