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A friend recently purchased a lot of Atari computer carts. My knowledge of these is zero. One of the carts is called Pronto the home information system. He knows I am a big Atari guy but when it comes to Atari computers I couldn’t help him. He believes it to be rare and possibly valuable. Can any one help with identifying and valuing this thing ? Can’t find anything online.

thank you.

50168C56-4A5B-47FD-A249-F1BD726C922A.png

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http://www.atarimania.com/utility-atari-400-800-xl-xe-pronto_13693.html

 

There's a dump of it at Atarimania.  Looks to be 1.8 like yours but the other number (serial?) is different.

Without documentation (and possibly supporting disks?) it's usefullness might be limited.

 

OK - it seems to want to dial into some external service, maybe a bulletin board or server.

So yeah, I think it might be special interest value only and not a usable product.

Edited by Rybags
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Yes, it looks like it is some sort of banking service and requires a modem. Of course, it would be absolutely useless today, modem or not. Strictly valuable to a collector, and I'd say pretty questionable value even then. I really don't know why everyone always seems to think that something they've come across is valuable. Still, I guess you never know.

 

I did find this text from ANTIC Volume 1, Number 6, February 1983.

 

I also found a video that talks about it and another similar cartridge. The video says that they are rare, and potentially valuable, maybe $100 or a little more to a collector. Of course, that's the opinion of the person making the video.

 

There was also a post on here about ten years ago talking about a seller asking an insane price for one on ebay.

 

Who knows? He may have a gold mine on his hands, or at least, if he sells to the right person, he may get reimbursed for his original purchase by selling that one. I wish him luck!

 

 

Edited by bfollowell
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6 hours ago, Professor Falken said:

A friend recently purchased a lot of Atari computer carts. My knowledge of these is zero. One of the carts is called Pronto the home information system. He knows I am a big Atari guy but when it comes to Atari computers I couldn’t help him. He believes it to be rare and possibly valuable. Can any one help with identifying and valuing this thing ? Can’t find anything online.

thank you.

50168C56-4A5B-47FD-A249-F1BD726C922A.png

You could easily get $100 for that on ebay. 

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Pronto was a home banking solution for Chemical Bank, they rolled out the service in 1983 and discontinued in 1989 due to lack of subscribers. I guess the carts may be relatively rare but you can't actually do anything with it any more so it's not generally very useful for anyone other than completionists.

 

This is excerpted from a NY Times article from Jan 1989

 

Quote

 

Janet Winter, a New York lawyer, is another fan. But she uses Pronto, which dies at the end of this month. ''I find this a more pleasant and efficient way to manage my finances,'' she said. ''But I'm sure I'll adjust to writing checks again.''

 

What went wrong? Pronto's history provides part of the answer: low customer acceptance, caused in part by the fact that, even with a computer, the customer must still go to the bank to get cash and to deposit cash and checks from other banks.

 

The Pronto system was created in the mid-1980's by a Jericho, L.I., company called Covidea, founded by Chemical, American Telephone and Telegraph, and Time Inc. (Time dropped out later). Its goal, as with most other systems, was to handle transactions electronically, like the payment of bills to creditors who participated in the system. Depositors could also transfer funds between accounts, reconcile checking records and get account balances.

 

Barbara A. Sullivan, a senior vice president of Chemical, told Pronto subscribers in announcing the end of the system that ''the market for videotex services simply has not grown as rapidly as expected.'' The bank offered to give $25 to subscribers who had bought a special A.T.&T. terminal for $49.95 and to add half a percentage point to the interest rate on some certificates of deposit. Computer experts said the terminal was not very useful for other functions.

 

Home banking's problems have persisted even though some 15 million homes now have personal computers, with millions already connected to telephone lines by a modem. After a customer purchases the introductory banking software - or gets it free as an incentive - the service typically costs $5 to $15 a month.

 

Nevertheless, market penetration - even in New York City and in northern California, where most subscribers live - has remained minimal, as customers stayed away in droves. They stuck to written checks, while others used ''voice mail'' to verify balances. Some customers complained that connections took too long, and many did not like having to go to banks or automated teller machines for some financial chores.

 

Although about 50 banks are involved with video banking, most of the business is at five banks: Chemical Bank, Citibank, Chase Manhattan Bank and Manufacturers Hanover Trust - all in New York - and the Bank of America, whose headquarters are in San Francisco.

 

Aside from Chemical, those banks say they are still generally positive toward home banking. As one bank officer - Anne Slattery, a vice president of Citibank - put it: ''The folks who tend to use it do almost all of their banking with us. It sounds silly, but it's a very personal relationship.''

 

 

 

This pic is from a Pronto advert from around that time with the slogan All you need is a TV set and a personal computer and you're ready for PRONTO, Chemical Banks home information system.

 

islandora_2106501_JPG.thumb.jpg.3f82ca1097edb1cd85d7f07bf1c6f947.jpg

 

And this article was from the Economic Review July 1984 where they were talking about their plans for the service.

66703_1980-1984.pdf

 

 

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Reasons I'm not a collector #2 (#1 is lack of space)

 

6 hours ago, a6502 said:

Also $4.50 shipping and no returns.

 

ebay should charge 10% of the buy it now price as a listing fee instead of 10% of the final price, re-payable every time you relist it.

 

 

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I wonder how quickly it will be relisted, as there's very, very little chance it will sell.

 

Nice idea @Mr Robot, would put a clamp on the fantasy prices....If they truly believe (unlikely) that it's worth that much,then they prepare to take the risk.

Edited by Mclaneinc
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8 hours ago, a6502 said:

 

Yes, this is an insane price!

 

From the admittedly limited research I was able to do, it looks like maybe $100 at the outside, but nowhere near that ridiculous asking price. Obviously, this is another one of those crazy ebay auctions that will not get even one bid. Definitely nothing even remotely close to that crazy price.

 

Go look at the seller's other auctions. Lot's of rare and super-rare items. It's funny how sellers think that, if they add those words to the auction title, it'll add lots of money to the sale price. Let's see, if I add rare to the description I should make another $100, so it stands to reason that if I add super-rare, that should bring in another $250!

 

Edited by bfollowell

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Thankfully the ebay users are a lot more clued-up these days, so the magic words, "Super Rare"  don't have the same cash unlocking ability now. Now we have people who know the worth of items to a high degree. People who have a lot of spare money normally have it because they are NOT gullible and don't buy stuff at what looks like an inflated price. In fact, seeing "Super Rare" in an auction title normally makes any readers instantly "Oh, another super rare item, Lol" and they go to the next item.

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It would be nice if Fujinet (or some other SIO device, I don't want to put all the pressure on @tschak909 for all these stupid ideas I have!) simulated the banking systems behind these videotex carts so you could at least run them and cycle through the functionality and show people how it used to be. Create an imaginary person called Mr A. Tari or something and allow you to view fictional accounts and transfer money around etc. Would be great for shows like VCF as an historical artifact. If the original banking software isn't available it would be a lot of work to figure out the right information to send to the card when asked.

 

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4 hours ago, atari-passion said:

here is what i have

 

pronto.thumb.jpg.b0f07ca04d9ab1a27ab70b091a2bf77d.jpg

 

 

 

Still wouldn't be worth $900, in my humble opinion, but at least its's a fairly complete looking package. That auction mentioned earlier appears to be just the cartridge. No packaging, no documentation, nothing. Still a very insane BIN price, in my opinion.

 

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5 hours ago, atari-passion said:

here is what i have

 

pronto.thumb.jpg.b0f07ca04d9ab1a27ab70b091a2bf77d.jpg

 

 

Very nice collection. I have Pronto and Target carts and I believe a Citibank cart but not those direct access carts. Never saw those before. Are they all the same or different versions?

 

John

 

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15 minutes ago, a6502 said:

And now there is another listing for the same cart (serials are identical) selling for only $700 !

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Atari-400-800-mint-Condition-PRONTO-Super-Rare-/124898419846

 

and the $900 listing is still up

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Super-Rare-atari-400-800-pronto-program-cart-/124893648540

 

same seller
 

pfffft....

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1 hour ago, a6502 said:

And now there is another listing for the same cart (serials are identical) selling for only $700 !

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Atari-400-800-mint-Condition-PRONTO-Super-Rare-/124898419846

 

and the $900 listing is still up

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Super-Rare-atari-400-800-pronto-program-cart-/124893648540

 

same seller
 

And this is why all posts that are from people with less than 100 posts that start with something like "I just got this load of xxxxx and don't know nuffink about it, what can you tell me bout it", should all just be moved straight to the marketplace forum. They are always by someone who isn't an Atari user, just a seller of retro stuff, trying to raise awareness of their stupidly overpriced ebay listing and never someone actually looking for information. 

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23 minutes ago, Mr Robot said:

And this is why all posts that are from people with less than 100 posts that start with something like "I just got this load of xxxxx and don't know nuffink about it, what can you tell me bout it", should all just be moved straight to the marketplace forum. They are always by someone who isn't an Atari user, just a seller of retro stuff, trying to raise awareness of their stupidly overpriced ebay listing and never someone actually looking for information. 

fully agree the forum is replete with marketing, info fishers looking to sell their stuff. They all should be hunted down and moved to the market place.

AA isn't the sales pitch research and advertising arm of auctioneers but we are sure looking like it.

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I believe I saw a list of known fishers, scammers, or something like that somewhere in the forum. I don’t recall if it was here in the Atari section or the Marketplace.
 

Probably a good place to include this one.

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I don't think that list is actively maintained and anyway, I'm not sure having a list of people that others have accused of being a scammer is such a good thing. I remember just a couple of years ago someone came here and accused Nir Dary of being a scammer because he was selling a custom cart on ebay! People who are new here and don't know who's who yet, people that are well meaning but aren't used to (or are very sensitive to) the real life delays that people hit when sending stuff, people who are nervous about giving money to people from a forum and panic when the person doesn't act like a business, all these things can end up in an entry in that kind of list and there's no fair way to have an entry removed.

 

It's probably best to just move obvious marketing threads to the marketplace and Caveat Emptor. If a seller isn't a long standing regular here, use caution.

 

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