Auction of Apple's first computer expected to top $160k

in General Discussion edited January 2014
A rare piece of Apple history will go on sale later this month when Christie's auctions Apple's first product, the Apple I personal computer, for an estimated $160,000-$240,000 on Nov. 23.

The Apple I, acknowledged by many as the first "personal computer," was Apple's first product offering. Approximately 200 units were hand-built by Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak and priced at $666.66. With a completely pre-assembled motherboard, the computer helped to spark the home computer revolution when it was released in July 1976.

High-end auction house Christie's is selling a "superb example" of the Apple I, with an estimate ranging from $160,000-$240,000. Even at the low end of the estimate, the computer will sell for over 60 times its original cost, approximately $2,500 after adjusting for inflation.

Apple I units have become quite the collector's item, with an estimated 30 to 50 still in existence. In 1999, an Apple I reportedly sold for $50,000.

Source: Christie's

The auction includes the Apple I in its original shipping box and the Apple I cassette interface, as well as a signed letter from Apple cofounder Steve Jobs. The return address on the original packaging shows that the unit shipped from Jobs' parents' house.

Christie's will sell the Apple I as part of a larger Nov. 23 London auction including a cypher machine, a first edition presentation copy of a publication by Charles Babbage, and a variety of other "valuable printed books and manuscripts.

Apple's unique role in the history of computing and the loyal following it has acquired have driven sales of pieces of Apple history before. In October, the owner of The Mac Museum of New Jersey sold a large collection of vintage Macs on eBay for $10,000. In 2008, an early engineering worker at Apple auctioned off the company's original trade show sign and Wozniak's toolbox.


  • Reply 1 of 31
    feynmanfeynman Posts: 1,087member
    [SARCASM]Can't wait till it's jailbroken to run iOS 4.2[/SARCASM]
  • Reply 2 of 31
    Way more. At least a half million. I can see it going for a million. Too many nerds with big money...

    EDIT: Maybe not - I thought it was the first one they ever built...
  • Reply 3 of 31
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    Typical overpriced Apple, you can get a netbook for $300 without paying the Apple tax.

    P.S. I wish I'd kept my Mac Plus, my wife threw it away, the mouse was held together with Bluetac and string and it worked (well sort of if you hit the side, ju-ust right you could get the monitor to go from a small dot in the centre of the screen to displaying a desktop).
  • Reply 4 of 31
    ...I'd buy that for a dollar!

    Name that movie! (no cheating!)

  • Reply 5 of 31
    sandausandau Posts: 1,230member
    It's still pretty snappy!
  • Reply 6 of 31
    Originally Posted by Matthias03 View Post

    ...I'd buy that for a dollar!

    Name that movie! (no cheating!)

  • Reply 7 of 31
    yeah this will go for wayyy more.
  • Reply 8 of 31
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,167member
    No HDMI and USB ports.. FAIL!
  • Reply 9 of 31
    Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

    No HDMI and USB ports.. FAIL!

    Fair call, but what about Blu-ray.
  • Reply 10 of 31
    aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,605member
    No resolution independence. Not cool.
  • Reply 11 of 31
    That's awesome! There's one in The Smithsonian. I'd bid on it, if I had the coin.
  • Reply 12 of 31
    Yeah, but can it run Crysis?
  • Reply 13 of 31
    "Steve Wozniak and priced at $666.66"

    More proof that the two Steves made a deal with Satan.
  • Reply 14 of 31
    Google is coming up with a competitor that will sell for much more! Just wait!
  • Reply 15 of 31
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Ended up using many lesser computers until the Mac Pluses came out. I absolutely loved that Mac Plus but out grew it after a bit, now my iPhone 3G runs circles around that machine. I took a side trip away from Apple when the company offerings really got out of whack with reality. A few months with NT and I was forced to Linux. OS/X brought me back to the Mac on my laptop.

    Given that history I've always wanted an Apple and frankly would bid on the machine if I had the coin. Those years of my life where often spent reading Byte or Dr. Dobbs or grabing whatever job I could while still in school. Worst the economy tanked early in the 80's so even after high school new computers didn't come early. I never took my eye off the stuff coming out of Apple though and when buying that Mac Plus it was a true feeling of a revolution at hand. Followed by the story we all know.
  • Reply 16 of 31
    Microsoft plans to copy it.
  • Reply 17 of 31
    What, no floppy drive? PASS!

    In all seriousness, that's a nice piece of history right there. It's amazing how far technology has come. My first computer was a used Macintosh IIcx, running at a whopping 16 Mhz, with a 40 megabyte hard drive and 1 megabyte of ram. When I upgraded it to 4 megs of ram, it cost me $200 (four 1 megabyte modules at $50 each).

    Ah, nostalgia...
  • Reply 18 of 31
    Originally Posted by Mister Snitch View Post

    "Steve Wozniak and priced at $666.66"

    More proof that the two Steves made a deal with Satan.

  • Reply 19 of 31
    I sold the first and original iPod from 2001 for virtually what I paid for it new. Wish I'd kept it now.
  • Reply 20 of 31
    ftsfts Posts: 3member
    When I first saw these pictures, I thought everything looked familiar, and I remember watching the actual eBay auction. These items were listed on eBay less than a year ago, and sold for only $50,000 (still a bit out of my league). That was the starting bid, and there was surprisingly only one bidder, that won the computer at the very end of the auction. I recall there was a lot of press at the time, and searching on google, here are some links on the story:

    It'll be interesting to see what the item will bring in less than a year's time.
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