Apple 1 Could Fetch $500,000 or More at Auction

NEW YORK (AP) -- It's the kind of electronic junk that piles up in basements and garages -- an old computer motherboard with wires sticking out.

But because it was designed and sold by two college dropouts named Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, it could be worth more than half a million dollars.

An Apple 1 from 1976, one of the first Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) computers ever built and forerunner of today's MacBooks, iPads and iPhones, goes on the auction block at Christie's next week. The bidding starts at $300,000, with a pre-sale estimated value of up to $500,000.

"This is a piece of history that made a difference in the world, it's where the computer revolution started," said Ted Perry, a retired school psychologist who owns the old Apple and has kept it stashed away in a cardboard box at his home outside Sacramento, Calif.

The 11-by-14 green piece of plastic covered with a grid of memory chips above a labyrinth of wires was one of the first 25 such computer elements, and sold for $666.66.

About 200 were made but most have disappeared or been discarded. Various estimates put the number known to still exist from about 30 to 50. They came with eight kilobytes of memory -- a million times less than the average computer today.

Vintage Apple products have become an especially hot item since Jobs' death in October 2011, surrounding the mystique attached to this entrepreneur who joined forces with Wozniak to build computer prototypes in a California garage.

Another Apple 1 was sold last month for a record $671,400 by a German auction house, breaking a previous record of $640,000 set in November. Sotheby's sold one last year for $374,500.

"This is the seed from which the entire orchard grew, and without this, there would be no Apple," said Stephen A. Edwards, professor of computer science at Columbia University. "I've been shocked auction prices got into the six digits. The market has just gone crazy."

The latest auction at Christie's, "First Bytes: Iconic Technology from the Twentieth Century," is being conducted online only from June 24 to July 9. The Apple 1 is to be displayed starting Monday at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, south of San Francisco.

Perry, 70, acquired his Apple 1 in either 1979 or 1980, as a secondhand item he saw advertised.

He paid nothing for it; it was a swap with the owner.

"I traded some other computer equipment I had for the Apple 1," he said.

At the time, he was working as a psychologist in a school in Carmichael, a town near Sacramento. While observing special needs children, he noticed that a teletype machine "made a huge difference" in how a deaf boy using it responded and learned.

As the first computers came on the market, Perry learned to program them. Then he approached Wozniak, who agreed to provide what the psychologist calls Apple's "internal code" so he could create interactive lessons for his students using the new technology.

An expert hired by Christie's recently came to Perry's home to examine the old Apple and try to turn it on. Only the Apple motherboard is original. A keyboard, monitor and a storage device -- in this case a portable cassette tape deck -- were added later.

"I was a little afraid to run it, but it still works, with the original chips!" he says.

link


Read/Post Comments (1) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 22, 2013, at 8:57 AM, BrettArnold wrote:

    What is a difference between Apple model 1976 and AAPL 2013?

    Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak are sinonum for innovation.

    Tim Cook is different, he icares more about AAPL shares problem, now Tim Cook's stock compensation package to tie it to the performance of Apple shares.

    Good move?

    May be, but APPL problem is with new innovative products,

    I wrote about it about 2 years ago: http://bit.ly/15bxL42

Add your comment.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2503478, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 8/21/2014 10:35:10 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Apple's next smart device (warning, it may shock you

Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to guarantee its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out. In fact, ABI Research predicts 485 million of this type of device will be sold per year. But one small company makes Apple's gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early-in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!


Advertisement