If you ever wanted to own a piece of computer history, now is your chance. There is currently what’s billed as a working Apple-1, a model from the first line of computers launched by the company in 1976, up for sale on eBay. It’s not exactly cheap though, and will set you back a good $US1.5 ($2) million.
The Apple-1 is a highly sought-after rare piece of memorabilia for Apple fans. Even the origin story draws you in. According to Cult of Mac, the computers were designed and hand-built by Steve Wozniak, and were sold wholesale by Steve Jobs. In order to pay the manufacturing costs, Wozniak sold his HP-65 calculator and Jobs sold his Volkswagen van.
The Apple-1 is the very first product from the minds of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, and when one of the 50 or so boards known to still exist sells at auction it’s a big deal. These fragile pieces of computing history regularly fetch upwards of $US300,000 ($392,580) ($US382,321 ($500,305)).Read more
The Apple-1 up for sale on eBay, which the seller claims has a certificate of authenticity from the Apple-1 Registry, is special because it is reportedly one of the 50 sold to Byte Shop, one of the first personal computer stores. The product listing states that the Apple-1 is in its original Byte Shop KOA wood case and also includes its original power supply and Datanetics Version D keyboard.
The seller, who goes by krishmiti, states that the Apple-1 is an unmodified NTI board in almost perfect condition. The bundle also includes a period Sony TV-115 and a video modulator. (Per Cult of Mac, users had to add their own keyboard and monitor, or use a TV set for the latter).
Now, let’s talk about this technological dinosaur’s specs. It had an 8-bit MOS 6502 microprocessor that ran at 1 MHz. In terms of memory, it included 4KB by default, but that could be increased to 8KB or 48KB using expansion cards. Only 200 Apple-1 computers, as well as a few pre-production boards, were made. Their starting price was $US666.66 ($872).
Decades later, these devices fetch far higher prices. In 2010, an Apple-1 computer in its original packaging with a letter signed by Jobs sold for $US210,000 ($274,806). Meanwhile, in 2014, an Apple-1 computer sold at auction for $US905,000 ($1,184,283), which is the highest known price anyone has paid for a vintage Apple computer to date, although this seller obviously wants to break that record.
In October of 2014, a rare Apple 1 motherboard, thought to be one of the first 50 built by Steve Wozniak in Steve Jobs’ family home, was sold by Bohnams at auction for $US905,000 ($1,184,283) ($US1,203,922 ($1,575,452)). Today, you can own a small piece of that Silicon Valley artefact, but it comes...Read more
There is only a small amount of Apple-1s in existence today, partially due to age, according to Cult of Mac. Apple also let buyers trade in their Apple-1s for the Apple II, which became the company’s first mass-market computer.
This isn’t the first time krishmiti has tried to sell his Apple-1. He tried to sell it for $US1.75 ($2) million in 2019, but presumably didn’t get any takers since he took the price down a notch. Is an Apple-1 worth $US1.5 ($2) million? We may find out soon.