A working Apple 1 computer built in 1976 sold for a record $671,400 at an auction in Germany on Saturday, reports the New York Times. That beats the price of a previous Apple 1 computer that sold for $640,000 at the same auction house last year.
The high prices paid for the machines seem to be explained by the combination of scarcity, a fascination with the early history of the computer age, and the mystique of Apple and its founders, Steven P. Jobs and Stephen G. Wozniak. And some irrational exuberance in the prices, for a machine that can do very little and originally sold for $666 (about $2,700 in current dollars).
“This really confirms the value of Apple-1’s,” said Uwe Breker, the German auctioneer. The buyer was a wealthy entrepreneur from the Far East and wished to remain anonymous. The seller also remains anonymous.
Here’s some details on the lot:
Original Apple 1 Computer, 1976
This is the sensational 1st product of today’s highest-valued company (approx. 600 billion US$). The Ap-ple 1 was designed and handmade by Steve Wozniak in the famous “electronics heaven” of “Silicon Valley”, USA, and was marketed in April 1976 by Wozniak and Steve Jobs through electronics retail chain, the “Byte Shop”, which bought the first 50 units.
The Apple 1 was always delivered as a motherboard only and is seen here with the very rare original “NTI” sign. The peripheral equipment such as power pack, keyboard, monitor and cassette recorder had to be obtained personally by the user. Apple never offered a housing; every user had to make his own. The Apple 1 was the 1st PC in the world with monitor and keyboard access! The peripheral items are authentic and correspond to the motherboard as recommended by Apple. Only 200 examples of the Apple 1 were ever made. According to the highly regarded “Apple 1 Registry” by Mike Wil-legal (www.willegal.net), today there are only 46 (!) sets in existence worldwide, but just 6 of these are in fully-working condition, and the example offered here is one of those!
We prepared a video demonstration which you’ll find on YouTube.com/AuctionTeamBreker. The demo shows the direct input into the WOZ-monitor: The Apple 1 did not have an operating system, just a so-called “monitor” program which provided the inter-face between keyboard entry CPU memory and monitor exit. Any more sophisticated software system like “Basic” had to be loaded on cassettes. Therefore, a cassette-interface-card, offered optionally by Apple, was required. This present set contains the original card and the original early “6502 micro processor” in rare white ceramic design! The software cassettes are authentic reproductions. “Basic” was available for the Apple 1 at the beginning of 1977 only. In February 1977 Apple changed its first logo depicting Isaac Newton under a “paradisical” apple tree to the one which is still used today. The original Apple 1 Manual included here still shows the primary logo.
To date, the only two fully-working Apple sets in comparable condition to the one here, were auctioned in 2012: by Sotheby’s New York on 15 June for US$ 374,500. and on 24 Nov. by Auction Team Breker in Cologne, Germany for US$ 640,000 (€ 491,868.). Today’s Apple 1 computer set is 100 % authentic and in fully working condition… and it is already signed personally by its inventor and manufacturer Steve Wozniak. Also enclosed is an original company letter from 1978 signed by Steve Jobs!! The Apple 1 is already a legendary milestone from the dynamic dawn of the personal computer age …. and a legendary symbol for the ‘American Dream’, too!