All over the world today, geeks will be yelling at their partners: ‘I told you it’d be worth money someday!’. Yes, that old mess of circuitry that your spouse forced you to get rid of all those years ago, the Apple 1, might have been worth over two hundred thousand bucks.
Christie’s is selling what it calls a ‘superb example’ of the machine, the first ever Apple, and the first personal computer with a fully-assembed motherboard. That’s about all it did have, though: the 1976 machine came without a casing, keyboard, monitor or even a power supply.
Rather wonderfully, the machine is still in its original packaging – with Steve Jobs’ parents’ house as the return address.It comes with the original manuals, cassette interface and basic tape, early documentation and provenance, and what’s described as a ‘commercially rare’ letter from Jobs.
The machine hasn’t been left completely untouched, having been upgraded by the addition of a 6502 microprocessor and various other changes including ‘later soldering, wires and electrical tape to reverse’.
Only around 200 of the $666.66 machines were ever produced, and fewer than a quarter of these are believed to be still in existence. However, in light of what the things now appear to be worth, we can perhaps hope to see one or two more borne triumphantly from dusty attics this weekend.
The $161,600 to $242,400 estimate of the thing shows just how obsessive Christies realizes Apple fans to be. In the same auction, for example, appears one of the Enigma machines used to code-break German messages during the Second World War – and valued at just $48,480 to $80,800.