Apple 1 computer sold at auction
An Apple 1 computer that sold for $300,000 (£228,730) at RR Auction.

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Around 200 Apple-1s were originally produced but less than 70 are still known to exist. This example, which was restored to its original, operational state in June 2018 by Apple-1 expert Corey Cohen, had an estimate in excess of $300,000 at RR Auction of Boston.

The auction record for an Apple 1 computer remains the $750,000 ($905,000 with premium) bid at Bonhams in October 2014. That example which came with a keyboard, monitor, tape-decks and power supply was bought by the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan.

Another fetched €516,000 ($668,000) at Auction Team Breker in Cologne in May 2013, while a further example made $815,000 at a charity auction in 2016.

Early hobbyists

The ground-breaking Apple-1 was Steve Jobs’ and Steve Wozniak’s first fully assembled computer and aimed to take their invention beyond the bare circuit board kit for assembly by hobbyists.

It was initially marketed at Palo Alto’s Homebrew Computer Club but, seeking a larger audience, Jobs approached Paul Terrell, owner of The Byte Shop in Mountain View, California – one of the first personal computer stores in the world. In late 1976 and early 1977, they produced about 200 Apple-1s for Paul Terrell, owner of The Byte Shop

The computer offered at RR Auction on September 25 was acquired by an early enthusiast who, having attended the Homebrew Computer Club to see what it was all about, purchased this Apple 1 second hand from a co-worker for $300 a year or so later.

It was marked: Apple Computer 1, Palo Alto, Ca. Copyright 1976.

Realising it would eventually become a piece of computing history, the vendor held on to it and kept it in a clean state. Unlike many of the known Apple-1 boards, this unit had not undergone any modifications to the physical board, and the prototype area was seemingly unused.

According to the auction catalogue, Corey Cohen had evaluated the current condition of the unit as 8.5/10.

As well as the original Apple-1 board, the lot came with an original cassette interface, original manuals and an original power supply, as well as a period keyboard and monitor.

The buyer’s premium at the sale was 25%.

£1 = $1.3116