Later this month, one of the rarest specimens of hardware history will go up for auction: A working Apple-1. While most will people will never be able to afford to bid on it, this is a great opportunity to look at this beautifully ragtag machine before it disappears into someone's collection.
Few of us have the $US905,000 ($1,176,503) needed to purchase one of the remaining original Apple-1 computers that Steve Wozniak built in Steve Jobs's garage, but modder-extraordinaire Ben Heck has the next best thing. a new three-part series of tutorial videos showing you how to build a fully functional Apple-1 replica from scratch.
The Apple-1 that German auctioneer Brecker will bring to the block on May 20 is believed to be one of only eight original kits that are still in working condition. In July 1976, Jobs and Wozniak built around 200 units and sold 175 of them. It was just the beginning of what would become the most valuable company in the world. Just getting a working model is rare enough, but this one comes with some solid records of its provenance, including the original manual and documentation, the receipt for the motherboard and cassette recorder, and even a record of telephone conversations with Steve Jobs and Wozniak.
Originally sold as a motherboard kit, Apple-1 owners had to make their own housing and pickup peripheral equipment themselves. This is what the Smithsonian's model looks like:
Those who purchased a kit back in '76 paid the religious-conspiracy-theory-inducing price of $US666.66, but today, it will cost quite a bit more. A similar model in working condition sold in 2013 for $US671,400 ($872,822). The seller got a tremendous deal in that case. They had just purchased it months earlier in non-working condition for $US40,000 ($51,860), fixed it up, got a signature from Woz, and pulled off quite a markup.
Get a detailed look at the unit that will go on auction in the video below.