Soemtron Calculator Market Trends

Updated October 2023

Over the years we have seen Soemtron calculators appear for sale in various places but mostly on Ebay.  This page lists some we have found and managed to keep a track of.  Some of the more higher values asked for have not met the sellers expectations as there is obviousely a percieved current market value that buyers place upon the Soemtron ETRxxx range of machines in spite of the sellers claims of their somewhat exalted "rarity" !.

Spare parts E.G. keyboards, displays, key switches and some circuit boards do seem to sell without too much trouble and at a reasonable cost.  Complete ETR's were reasonably priced some years ago (below 100 £/€), with ETR222's commanding slightly higher prices with one in 2008 reaching €145 after a lot of bids, whilst in 2022 one was prospectively offered at €399 !.  The ETR222 is however a rare machine as only 3,203 were manufactured.

For ETR220's, 2022 has seen speculative offers of €444 and €549, these would again seem rather optimistic as for this model over 155,000 units were built, and they do come up in the markets quite regularly (2-3 a year).

In late 2021 an 8601a Prüfgerät appeared online and was offered for €1000 which did not sell.  Sometime later it was offered to us at the Soemtron website for a more reasonable figure and has now been refurbished to full operation and functionality,  see Tester 8601A.  The 8601a Prüfgerät is a very rare beast indeed as they were manufactured for factory and field service use with possibly less than 100 manufactured.

Date Unit Source Sold Offers
November 2023 ETR220 Ebay UK (unsold) shipping €45 €250 (£215)
"This rare Soemtron ETR220 desktop calculator is a real highlight for collectors and technology lovers.  The special Nixie tube display ensures a retro-futuristic look and gives the calculator a unique charm.  The used computer is in age-appropriate condition, has scratches, is uncleaned and not functional.  Still definitely something for collectors and lovers of old computers to decorate or use as decoration.  A suitable power cable is not available."

Unsold at 27/11/2023
Although on EBay UK this ETR220 appears to be located in Germany.  The text above is translated from German.
October 2023 ETR222 Ebay Kleinanzeigen DE €190 shipping from €4.50  
"Soemtron ETR222 desktop calculator, successor to the ETR220".
"The Soemtron ETR222, recognizable by its blue keys, is still extremely rare to find. It is estimated that there are fewer than 10 examples worldwide. A total of 3,203 ETR222s were built in the VEB Robotron Soemerda factory. This one bears the number 74013. The calculation logic used here, mainly consisting of diodes and transistors, is considered a masterpiece in its class. The ETR222 offered is expressly declared as DEFECTIVE. Nixi tubes stay dark! This is often caused by contact errors in the microswitches on the keyboard. A suitable power cable is included!."

The text above is translated from German.  Located in Poel, an island off Northwest Mecklenburg in Germany, this unit is a rare ETR222 in seemingly very good physical condition but an unknown electrical operational state, listed as "Defective Nixie tubes stay dark".  It is not known if this ETR22 actually sold as it is now showing as either "Deleted" or "Out of Stock".
October 2023 ETR220 Ebay UK (unsold) shipping $190 $600 (£495)
"Have changed power supply capacitor on new, its turn on, but keyboard in very bad condition - it stucks, its don't hold on and no reaction on keyboard to work.  It's a common problem that described by link 2:) (3 links were removed by EBay however they seem to have pointed to the website of Wolfgang Robel, here).  "Soemtron 220 is a calculator produced by the Ernst Thälmann office machine factory (Büromaschinenwerk "Ernst Thälmann") in the city of Sömmerda (the company was called Rheinmetall before the war) in 1969 it became part of the Zentronik Combine, and after the end of production this calculator became part of the Robotron Combine in 1979.  The calculator was used in the GDR, Bulgaria, and the USSR.  Produced from 1966 to 1977.  Based on discrete transistor logic and gas-discharge indicators, built on a cast aluminum frame with external body panels.  Uses normal arithmetic notation and has a fixed, switch-selectable decimal point.  Has a memory with two registers."

Unsold at 20/11/2023
Although on EBay UK this ETR220 appears to be located in the Ukraine.  There are several problems with this calculator as seen in the accompanying photo.  The unit is partially working as it does show zeros in the display so the main display counter multiplexing system is working, however it will not accept keyboard entries.  The display assembly, parts of the keyboard and main card cage show signs of localised extreem overheating serious enough to melt the plastic.  The display has sagged, the decimal point lamp holders and many of the keys are deformed and one is missing.  The cause might be a displaced insulator panel seen behind the display in the photo, this should be between boards 1 and 2 it the card cage not where it is currently.  The description also incorrectly states that the calculator has two registers.
May 2022 ETRxxx 15 digit display Ebay DE €93,80  
15 pieces of red digit display tube ZM1080 from Soemtron ETR220.
This was a complete 15 digit display assembly inculding the wiring and connectors.
May 2022 ETR220 keyboard Ebay DE €16,79  
Soemtron ETR220 - original keyboard - working.
May 2022 ETR222 Ebay DE   €399
Soemtron ETR222 Desktop Calculator, Calculator, Nixie Tubes.
May 2022 ETR220 Ebay DE   €444
#SE423# Soemtron ETR220 desktop calculator, calculating machine tube Nixie PC classic.
January 2022 EFA381 Prüfgerät Ebay DE €150 €1000
Tester for the Fakturiermaschine (Invoice machine) EFA381 from VEB Robotron.
Soemtron EFA381 Prüfgerät 8601a, the offer price listed was apparently "symbolic".  See Tester 8601A
August 2021 ETR220 Ebay DE Classifieds   €549
Electrical desktop calculator Soemtron ETR220.
November 2021 ETR220 Ebay DE Classifieds   €400
Offering a rare Soemtron ETR200 desktop calculator.
An ETR200 does not exist but the picture shown was for an ETR220.
June 2020 ETRxxx switches Ebay DE €16  
Input circuit board with 8 microswitches and cable (Keyboard switches)
2 boards, not for an ETRxxx caculator but contained the same switches.
May 2020 31 pin backplane connectors Ebay DE €80  
Socket header connector frame assembly, gold-plated contacts RFT DDR.  QTY 50, 31 pin plug and socket sets for backplane and circuit cards.
December 2016 ETRxxx keyboard switches Ebay DE €2.00  
DDR micro switch C3 in orange - 220 V - 4A alternating current.
December 2016 ETRxxx
keyboard switches
Ebay DE €11.50  
Robotron Sömmerda "Soemtron ETR220" keyboard for desktop calculator.
October 2015 ETR222 Ebay DE Unknown  
Electronic desktop calculator ETR222 Daro Soemtron calculating machine.
Listed as an ETR222 but actually an ETR220.
June 2015 ETR220   £1,500
Soemtron ETR220 Made in GDR old calculator rarity.
August 2008 ETR222 Ebay DE €145  
GDR VEB Soemtron Robotron calculating machine Leipzig Luwi.
December 2007 ETR220 Ebay DE €53  
Calculator Soemtron ETR220 VEB office machines Sömmerda.

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