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Apple-1 goes for US$213K in Christie's auction

Ken Gagne | Nov. 24, 2010
It was No. 82 of about 200 Apple-1s made.

FRAMINGHAM, MA, USA, NOVEMBER 24, 2010 Christie's auction house in London on Wednesday sold an Apple-1 computer for US$133,250 or US$213,600.

The lot, which went up for auction at 9:30 a.m. US Eastern Time on Wednesday, had an estimated value of between US$160,300 and US$240,450.

The Apple-1 sold on Wednesday came with the original packaging, manuals, cassette interface and basic tape, early documentation and provenance, and a commercially rare letter from Steve Jobs.

Two hundred Apple-1 computers are estimated to have been created and sold for US$666.66 before Apple Computer Inc. was founded in 1977. Once the Apple II, the company's first official product, was released, many of the Apple-1 models were reclaimed as trade-ins. Only about 50 are still known to exist, many of them indexed by hardware developer Mike Willegal.

Of those 200 machines, Christie's Apple-1 is No. 82. This same Apple-1 is thought to be the same one that was sold on eBay in November 2009 by a user named "apple1sale" to "julescw72". At the time, it sold for a winning bid of US$50,000.

The winner of the Christie's auction was Marco Boglione, an Italian collector.

The original Apple-1 was sold as a fully assembled circuit board with 4KB of memory but no case, power supply, keyboard or monitor. Christie's Apple-1 included the machine's original packaging, manuals, cassette interface and basic tape, documentation and a letter from Steve Jobs, but some parts may not have been original, said computer hobbyist and retrocomputing expert Eric Rucker.

"The CPU is a Rockwell plastic part, not a MOS [6502] white ceramic part," he noted, identifying what Christie's item description called "a few slightly later additions."

Apple-1 inventor and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was on hand for the auction, according to the Wall Street Journal.


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