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Working Apple I fetches $671,400 in German auction

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Apple's computers are known for their premium price points, but one could probably buy out half of an Apple store for the price one buyer just paid for a functioning Apple I signed by company cofounder Steve Wozniak.

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Emmanuel Dunand/Agence France-Presse ? Getty Images


Saturday saw an anonymous buyer from the Far East paying a record $671,400 for an Apple I, beating the $640,000 record set last year and nearly doubling the record prior to that, according to The New York Times. When the early Apple computer was first released in 1976, it sold for $666 (about $2,700 in current dollars).

The unit sold on Saturday had had only one owner from the time it was bought in 1976 until very recently. That owner, a retired electrical engineer living in New Orleans, sold the device to an interested party earlier this year for $40,000.

The computer was not in working condition when its original owner sold it. The buyer swapped in new components and wiring, making the nearly 40-year-old computer functional again. The buyer then took the Apple I to California, where he arranged a meeting with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and got Wozniak to sign the device.

Informed of the price the device eventually fetched, the original owner said, "My God," before adding, "Best to him. He's the one who fixed it up and figured the best way to sell it for all that money. Evidently, he's very good at this."

The Apple I was Apple's first computer, and the number of functioning units is thought to be in the single digits. Functioning and non-functioning units that go up for auction regularly sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. A working Apple I motherboard sold last year for $375,000.
post #2 of 16

Apple products continue to dominate on gross margin ...

post #3 of 16
My god, it's full of stars...

Oh wait, those are $'s -- my mistake.
post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ankleskater View Post

Apple products continue to dominate on gross margin ...

Add holding value and resale price.
post #5 of 16
This seems unprecedented.

Is there anything remotely comparable in the history of tech? IBM? HP? Xerox? Kodak? Microsoft?
post #6 of 16
It occurs to me that Apple should be putting some of its cash to use to buy up its own history, to archive for a museum that it might consider opening, say, in 2050.
post #7 of 16
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post
It occurs to me that Apple should be putting some of its cash to use to buy up its own history, to archive for a museum that it might consider opening, say, in 2050.

 

The Smithsonian can handle that.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply
post #8 of 16
Anonymous buyer from the Far East...hmmm secret admirer/closet dweller from Samsung perhaps... Mwahahaha
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

This seems unprecedented.

Is there anything remotely comparable in the history of tech? IBM? HP? Xerox? Kodak? Microsoft?

Microsoft? That company only brought aggravation, lost work and time spent useless to its customers.
I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
Reply
I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
Reply
post #10 of 16

I wonder if he knew it was repaired?

post #11 of 16

I'd pay a considerable sum for an original Windows Vista install CD with genuine sweat from Steve Ballmer on it.

 

Apple managed the astonishing feat of getting the equivalent of a personal computer into the hands of everybody from eight to eighty year olds, and did so while providing absolutely no instructions...
Reply
Apple managed the astonishing feat of getting the equivalent of a personal computer into the hands of everybody from eight to eighty year olds, and did so while providing absolutely no instructions...
Reply
post #12 of 16

Imagine if Apple sold more of this? 

post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

It occurs to me that Apple should be putting some of its cash to use to buy up its own history, to archive for a museum that it might consider opening, say, in 2050.

 

Didn't Steve Jobs famously cancel plans for an Apple museum when he returned as CEO?    He felt that people should look forward, not back.

 

That said, a lot of people agree with you.

post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

This seems unprecedented.

Is there anything remotely comparable in the history of tech? IBM? HP? Xerox? Kodak? Microsoft?

 

What? An original copy of Excel still in the box? A Zune? Have we been so bombarded with FUD from the haters that we forgot how important the founding of Apple was and still is to the history of technology? Have we forgotten that Wozniak and Jobs, along with the company the founded and the people they hired, really did put a dent in the universe? 

 

The iPhone and the iPad will be in the Smithsonian someday. The Samsung Galaxy S4 will not. And you can take that to the bank.

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by StruckPaper View Post

Imagine if Apple sold more of this?

It is odd how recently old items depreciate and very old, useless items appreciate but it's because of rarity and significance. Only about 200 of them were made and of course were the building blocks of the personal computing revolution. If Apple made more of them, they'd be less valuable, possibly even worthless.

It was a pretty smart business move buying an old one for $40k, getting it working from likely inexpensive parts and getting Woz to sign it, then pocket the $630k+ profit.

The person who owns it now might even sell it in future for more. This happened with Nicolas Cage and his comic:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/nicolas-cage-superman-comic-record-2-million-sale-267770

He bought it in 1997 for $150k ($217k inflation adjusted), it got stolen but recovered it and sold it in 2011 for $2.1m.

You might of course think buying a Microsoft Surface tablet now would be rare in 50 years time given that no one is buying them but it has to be something important that people will want to own in the future. For all the effort people have put in over the years to dismiss Apple as a pioneer in personal computing, this is enough evidence they have their place in history.

It's unlikely that any other technology product today will get such a price because the volumes are too high. Even the original iPhone has over 6 million units.
post #16 of 16
Stanford University holds a collection of Apple memorabilia but is yet to built a museum I believe.

http://mashable.com/2011/12/29/apple-stanford-archive/
http://news.stanford.edu/pr/97/971119apple.html
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