Pristine Apple I computer sold for $630,000 to anonymous buyer

By on December 14, 2012, 12:30 PM

One of the first Apple computers ever built recently sold at auction for a staggering €491,868 (~$630,000). The Apple I machine in question, one of around 200 or so that was hand-built by Steve Wozniak, now belongs to an anonymous Internet bidder.

As was the norm in Apple’s early days, some of the components used in the system were even signed by Wozniak himself. Unlike some of the other Apple I systems that have made it to auction, this unit was fully functional and reportedly in great condition. But even still, systems of this caliber aren’t particularly rare which makes it even more surprising that someone was willing to pay so much for it.

In fact, some collectors even own multiple Apple I computers, like Lonnie Mimms from Roswell, Georgia. Mimms owns two of Apple’s first production computers; one that still works (albeit with replacement components) and another with all-original parts that’s no longer functional. It is believed that only six Apple I systems are still in working condition today.

Experts believed the computer would probably sell for between €120,000 and €200,000 ($150,000 to $250,000) but nobody expected it to top the previous record price of $374,500 paid for a similar system at a Sotheby’s auction in New York earlier this year.

The Apple I was released in 1976 and sold for $666.66, sans keyboard, housing, display and power supply. Factoring in inflation, that figure equates to roughly $2,700 today – enough to buy a serious custom gaming system.




User Comments: 23

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Littleczr Littleczr said:

6 gran? why not. Although I would much rather have a working Altair, the true first PC ever built.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

(shrug) It's the ole' supply and demand argument. If there's enough demand for it, people will pay it.

Being a 100% computer geek if I had that kind of disposable income, I'd probably be interested at that price too. Be quite the item to have on display in your home.

1 person liked this | Amigosdefox said:

But will it run Cr...

killeriii said:

6 gran? why not. Although I would much rather have a working Altair, the true first PC ever built.

um...that's 6 hund-gran!

And I agree with Tom. If I had that kind of disposable income, I would buy one too! (...maybe after I bought a ferrari)

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

The terms, "collectable"and "disposable income", coalesce at a certain point. That locus generates its own terminology. It becomes known as, "more money than brains".

The time tested tradition of collecting "etchings", is still likely a more certain path to getting you laid.

The pickup line the goes along with the Apple I is more likely to get you slapped or arrested. "Do you want to come over to my place and see two used up pieces of hardware, and one of them is a vintage computer".....?

Although, I suppose turnabout is fair play. It might be high time Adam invited Eve over to see his apple....(Bah, dum, dump)

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'd have to think real hard, before spending $6.30 (from fear of being able to sell it later for $6.00) for such show and tell (aka: dust collector).

Ohhh wait, thats 630,000.00 not 6.30. Never-mind, there no need in even thinking about it.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

But will it run Cr...
No, it won't run either of the "C" words, Chrome or Crysis. What warrants the 630 grand price tag, could be that it makes people look so dumb when they ask if it will....

Well that, and the fact you can't get jacked up with Chrome as your default browser, by way of a Google's drive by download.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

On the subject of "C"'s

How many cassettes required to load Steve's stored consciousness into it ?

I'm guessing with a read/write rate of five or so seconds per kB, Apples answer to M.A.R.K.13 might not be too snappy a conversationalist

On a semi-related note; the Apple-1 owners manual

Guest said:

"But will it run Cr..."

yes, it can, if you replace this computer with new gaming rig :D

2 people like this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

"But will it run Cr..."

yes, it can, if you replace this computer with new gaming rig

My, my, how witty, full of insight, timely, and clever this is...! You should have posted this under your real name, "Sherlock Trolmes"........:oops:

misor misor said:

So steve jobs buy the ancient apple computer from beyond the grave, eh?

how about donating to sandy victims?

*dang, I'm so jealous I don't have the money to buy "display" items.

"But will it run Cr..."

nah, crysis will run from it.

TJGeezer said:

"how about donating to sandy victims?"

That's why it's called conspicuous consumption. It's conspicuous, and it consumes resources that could be used to save lives or feed starving people or donate books to budget-starved schools. Like driving your Hummer down to the supermarket to pick up something trivial. It's a way to flip off the rest of the world, strut like a rooster and show off your chicken-level IQ. The new owner must be very proud.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The new owner must be very proud.
Ohh my, what an insinuation. You know what else, I completely agree with you.

However you never know, the money could have gone to a good cause and the PC could have been buried to signify Apples downfall (ahhhhh wellllll, if only dreams came true).

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

....[ ]...... Like driving your Hummer down to the supermarket to pick up something trivial. It's a way to flip off the rest of the world, strut like a rooster and show off your chicken-level IQ. The new owner must be very proud.
That's what pisses me off most about this whole sordid affair! I could have bought a half dozen Hummers with the money this guy pissed away on that stinking old computer......(wait for it)....ROFLMAO

killeriii said:

"how about donating to sandy victims?"

That's why it's called conspicuous consumption. It's conspicuous, and it consumes resources that could be used to save lives or feed starving people or donate books to budget-starved schools. Like driving your Hummer down to the supermarket to pick up something trivial. It's a way to flip off the rest of the world, strut like a rooster and show off your chicken-level IQ. The new owner must be very proud.

Maybe the person who sold it donated the money to Sandy. :s

People have right to strut their stuff...it's theirs.

I'm more concerned about people that intentionally harm others (criminals), there's enough of them in our world.

emmzo said:

Well, I've never said Apple products are overpriced, but... hmm, I wonder how much the first iphone would sell in about 36 years, I'd better hold on to it.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Well, I've never said Apple products are overpriced, but... hmm, I wonder how much the first iphone would sell in about 36 years, I'd better hold on to it.
It's people like you that give Ebay a bad name....

Guest said:

"But even still, systems of this caliber aren't particularly rare which makes it even more surprising that someone was willing to pay so much for it."

I'm not surprised. Look at the iPhone. There are plenty of people out there willing to overpay for outdated tech.

fimbles fimbles said:

Not a big surprise really, Apple owners are still paying a fortune for underspecced and outdated tech today.

emmzo said:

Well, I've never said Apple products are overpriced, but... hmm, I wonder how much the first iphone would sell in about 36 years, I'd better hold on to it.
It's people like you that give Ebay a bad name....

No, you got me wrong, buddy, selling overpriced junk is not my thing, but in this case I'd make an exception.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Well, I've never said Apple products are overpriced, but... hmm, I wonder how much the first iphone would sell in about 36 years, I'd better hold on to it.

It's people like you that give Ebay a bad name....

No, you got me wrong, buddy, selling overpriced junk is not my thing, but in this case I'd make an exception.

OK, the Apple I computer which sold for 630K, is allegedly one of 200, hand built by Steve Jobs.

I'm going to say, (and it's a guess, admittedly), that your "original iPhone", is only an "original iPhone >MODEL. And correct me if I'm wrong, there were thousands upon thousands built.

So, unless you have the one numbered, "001", (and possibly even, "hand built by Steve Jobs" , it isn't worth squat now, nor is it ever likely to be.

To continue, if anyone tried to sell merely an original model of the iPhone on Ebay, for some exorbitant price, taking advantage of another's naivety, that person would be exactly the type of person that gives Ebay a bad name.

To further make a rash prediction, I predict that 34 years from now, people will have picked Chinese landfills clean of the original iPhone, shined them up, and be trying to sell them on Ebay for big money, thereby further contributing to Ebay's bad name....:eek:

emmzo said:

Well, I've never said Apple products are overpriced, but... hmm, I wonder how much the first iphone would sell in about 36 years, I'd better hold on to it.

It's people like you that give Ebay a bad name....

No, you got me wrong, buddy, selling overpriced junk is not my thing, but in this case I'd make an exception.

OK, the Apple I computer which sold for 630K, is allegedly one of 200, hand built by Steve Jobs.

I'm going to say, (and it's a guess, admittedly), that your "original iPhone", is only an "original iPhone >MODEL. And correct me if I'm wrong, there were thousands upon thousands built.

So, unless you have the one numbered, "001", (and possibly even, "hand built by Steve Jobs" , it isn't worth squat now, nor is it ever likely to be.

To continue, if anyone tried to sell merely an original model of the iPhone on Ebay, for some exorbitant price, taking advantage of another's naivety, that person would be exactly the type of person that gives Ebay a bad name.

To further make a rash prediction, I predict that 34 years from now, people will have picked Chinese landfills clean of the original iPhone, shined them up, and be trying to sell them on Ebay for big money, thereby further contributing to Ebay's bad name....:eek:

Man, arent' you pissed on Ebay? I could only guess why. It's obvious only limited numbers and famous dead people add consistent value to a thing. But what if the things you predicted will happen earlier and by 30 to 40 years time there may be only a few originals left. Did you consider that? Not likely, but who the heck knows? I just thought about it out loud, I don't want to sell you anything.

PinothyJ said:

"how about donating to sandy victims?"

That's why it's called conspicuous consumption. It's conspicuous, and it consumes resources that could be used to save lives or feed starving people or donate books to budget-starved schools. Like driving your Hummer down to the supermarket to pick up something trivial. It's a way to flip off the rest of the world, strut like a rooster and show off your chicken-level IQ. The new owner must be very proud.

But you have no idea what the seller is going to do with that money, now do you?

Assuming away like a madman...

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