Twiggy Mac Update: World’s Oldest Working Macintosh Goes to Auction

Twiggy Mac

The Twiggy Macintosh running early MacPaint software (photo: Auction Team Breker)

Auctions for rare Apple equipment have attracted a lot of attention the past few years, with prices for the Apple 1 going as high as an astounding $671,000! Another Apple 1 is going up for auction in Germany next month on November 16, but in addition a very different rare Apple item will be on the same auction block. One of only two known working Twiggy Macs in the world is going up for sale.

Twiggy Macs were prototype versions of the original Macintosh and used a proprietary 5.25-inch floppy disk drive, instead of the 3.5-inch disk which ultimately shipped with the system in 1984. All Twiggy prototypes were ordered destroyed by Steve Jobs – and long thought lost – but the last couple of years have seen an eventful rediscovery of this piece of Macintosh history. Now one can be yours – if the price is right.

The Twiggy Mac story has been nearly a two year odyssey: from one prototype resurfacing online in early 2012, through the amazing resurrection of two Twiggy prototypes at the hands of vintage Mac collector Adam Goolevitch and former Mac software engineer Gabreal Franklin, to an original Mac team reunion in September 2013 which resulted from that achievement. For a dead, forgotten format that Twiggy disk has spurred a lot of recent activity!

Now Goolevitch is putting his system up for sale. Along with the working prototype, the auction includes several Twiggy diskettes with early versions of MacPaint and MacAuthor (the predecessor to MacWrite), and pre-release versions of the Macintosh operating system. Also included is a letter of authenticity by Dan Kottke, one of the original Mac team members, and a keyboard tray with slide-out instruction card (like the Lisa used) which never made it into production.

The “Steve sez…” dialog boxes are an added bonus!

Steve Sez Dialog Box

Twiggy Macintosh running pre-release Mac System Software (photo: Adam Goolevitch)

The auction will be held on November 16, 2013, 10AM CET in Godorf, Germany by Auction Team Brecker. More info on the entire is lot on the Breker website, and Artfact is handling online bids.

Several people I have spoken with have thought that the Twiggy Mac could well exceed the Apple 1 on the auction block.

The starting bid is €24,000 ($33,000), with the expected sale price ranging from €40,000 to €70,000 (between $55,000 to $96,000). In an email to Cult of Mac, Goolevitch said these prices are considered conservative due to the extreme rarity of the machine:

“Several people I have spoken with have thought that the Twiggy Mac could well exceed the Apple 1 on the auction block, including [one of] Woz’s close friends,” said Goolevitch. “The low reserve price and auction estimate is due to the fact that Breker was confident of its realistic value, as no Twiggy Mac prototype computer like it has ever sold before.”

Could the Twiggy Mac actually top an Apple 1 in price? Tune in on November 16 to find out!

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About the author

Adam RosenAdam Rosen is an Apple certified IT consultant specializing in Macintosh systems new and old. He lives in Boston with two cats and too many possessions. In addition to membership in the Cult of Mac, Adam has written for Low End Mac and is curator of the Vintage Mac Museum. He also enjoys a good libation.

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