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Apple I auctioned at Sotheby’s for a record $374,500

- June 17th, 2012

Apple 1 Computer board

 If your basement is like mine, cluttered with computers, parts and accessories you might want to look and see if perhaps you have a motherboard labeled, “Apple Computer 1”. If you do, you could just be sitting on a very valuable piece of history.

The first Apple Computer, also referred to as the Apple-1, Apple 1 & Apple I, was the first product of the two Steve’s – Jobs and Wozniak.  Incredibly, one just sold at auction at Sotheby’s for a record breaking $374,500 USD, over 560 times its original 1976 retail price of $666.66 (assembled with 4K RAM). The final price of $374.5K (hammer price  + buyer’s premium), was more than double the $120K- $180K that this 1MHz geek’s dream was expected to fetch.

For the price of a condominium, of course depending on where you live, it’s not even a whole computer – there’s no monitor, keyboard, power supply or case.

 Apple 1 doc pic

According to Sotheby’s catalogue notes, the Apple 1 package, referred to as “Lot 57 – Apple I Computer”, included the motherboard with a MOS technologies 6502 processor and 8K of RAM, a cassette board connector, some advertising and manuals with specific mention to some tears and staining on the pages.

Apple I Cassette IF

 

 

The catalogue notes refer to this package as “an exceptionally rare, working example with original Apple Cassette interface, operations manual and a rare BASIC User’s Manual.”

 

 

It was suggested that fewer than 50 Apple I’s are still around and that only 6 are known to actually be functional. According to Wikipedia, a few others have sold in the past decade with prices ranging from $17,000 (on eBay) to $210,000.  The last one and the highest price until now, bore serial #82 and sold at an auction at Christies in the UK, in November 2010.

Just for the record, the oldest computer I have in my basement is the first generation MacPlus, (8MHz 68000 processor and 1MB RAM) circa 1986. I’m confident that in no way would it be worth a six figure value, let alone five or four – but one day, who knows, especially with people opting to get their old electronics recycled.

photo credits: Sotheby’s.

Greg Gazin is the Real Canadian Gadget Guy.

Follow me on Twitter @gadgetgreg or Empire Avenue (e)GADGET1.

 

 

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2 comments

  1. Evan | June 18, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Companies name is apple
    Company starts to sell first pc for $666 interesting hahahah no wonder they never went out of business

  2. Tulsiani | June 20, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Some people just like to collect junk

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