Original Apple Computer Sells for $374,500 at Auction
Sotheby’s received more than double the expected price
Sotheby’s sold an original Apple computer motherboard on Friday morning for a whopping $374,500 at a rare auction, more than double the expected price.
There are less than 50 ‘Apple 1’ computers in existence today, with reportedly only 6 in working condition, this being one of them. Although the green motherboard does not look like much in today’s market, the computer was built by Apple co-founder’s Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, and became the foundation for the first personal computer in 1976.
Both the seller and buyer’s names have been withheld from the public, but Sotheby’s did note that the owner will help assemble the computer to ensure it’s up and running.
Sotheby’s were anticipating the Apple 1 to sell for between $120-$180k and are astounded by the final bid. In 1976, when the Apple 1 was first made available to the public, the purchase price was $666.66.
The Sotheby’s catalogue provides some interesting background information about the Apple 1:
“When Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs presented the Apple 1 Computer to the Homebrew Computer Club in 1976, it was dismissed by everyone but Paul Terrell, the owner of a chain of stores called Byte Shop. Terrell ordered 50 computers for $500 a piece, insisting that the circuit boards come fully assembled rather than as DIY kits similar to the Altair, and Jobs and Woz managed to produce the requisite computers in 30 days. They continued production, immediately creating 50 additional Apple 1′s[sic] to sell to friends and an additional 100 to sell through vendors, at a retail price of $666.66, a number that garnered complaints among conservative Christians, but provided a lucrative 33% markup.
As the first ready-made personal computer, the Apple 1 signaled a new age in which computing became accessible to the masses. The interface of circuitry and software that Woz created enabled users to type letters with “a human-typable keyboard instead of a stupid, cryptic front panel with a bunch of lights and switches,” as he explained to the Homebrew Computer Club. Even so, it was sold without a keyboard, monitor, case, or power supply. An exceptionally rare, working example with original Apple cassette interface, operation manuals and a rare BASIC Users’ Manual. It is thought that fewer than 50 Apple 1 Computers survive, with only 6 known to be in working condition.”