A working motherboard for the Apple I, one of the rarest personal computers ever made. Photo: Bonhams
An ultra-rare working 1976 Apple-1 computer — thought to be one of the first 50 ever produced — has sold at auction for an incredible $750,000, around twice the expected asking price.
The computer was part of Bonhams History of Science auction in New York City. It sold to the Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan, a museum dedicated to showcasing the ingenuity and innovation that helped shape America.
“It’s very rare to be able to collect the beginning of something, but the Apple-1 is exactly that,” Henry Ford curator Kristen Gallerneaux told Cult of Mac, speaking after being onsite at the auction earlier today.
In addition to all the new products of 2013, the past year was a whir of activity in the vintage Apple space. Apple may be content to only move forward and deny existence of any products older than seven years – what do you mean my first generation MacBook Pro is vintage??? – but the public has not forgotten them.
The biggest retro news of the year was probably the ascendancy of the Apple 1 on the auction block. In May, an Apple 1 fetched a record price of $671,000 at an auction in Germany – until just recently the highest price ever paid for a personal computer. Other Apple 1s sold this year in the $300,000 range, so if you are lucky enough to have one of these oldies-but-goodies in your attic, dig it out now!
Working Apple 1 from the November 2013 Breker auction.
On Saturday Cult of Mac reported that a working Apple 1 failed to sell at auction in Germany, a notable result in the growing market for vintage Apple collectibles. It turns out that result was premature: the Apple 1 did sell for €246,000 ($330,000), after bidding on the item had closed.
Another Apple 1 and a Twiggy Macintosh were recently up for auction
UPDATE: Cult of Mac has learned that the Apple 1 did sell after the auction closed. Read more here. —–
Markets rise and markets fall – that’s true for stocks, real estate, tulips, etc. That’s also true with vintage computers – though even in a down market there’s still some money to be made.
At an auction in Germany held on Saturday November 16, a working Apple 1 – from the first batch of 50 units made – did not receive any bids. Nor did a restored Lisa 1, with dual Twiggy floppy disk drives. But a prototype Twiggy Mac, one of only two known working units, sold for €25,000 ($33,725), quite possibly the highest price ever paid for a vintage Macintosh.
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.
Here’s something pretty incredible. This newly surfaced photo shows the original batch of Apple I computers as they are about to be sent out to customers. The photo is believed to have been taken by Steve Jobs himself, in his bedroom.
There’s a couple of things I really love about this photo. For one, note how similar the packaging on the original Apple I is to the white box packaging of, say, a MacBook Air. Things haven’t changed much, have they? Second, with Apple I’s now going for over $676,000 at auction, that’s quite the nest egg Steve is sitting on back in 1976, isn’t it?
Speculating in vintage computers isn’t exactly the same as putting money into a blue chip. Here’s the proof: a rare Apple I being sold at auction at Christie’s has just failed to make its minimum bid of 50,000 British pounds (or about $80,000), despite the fact that a similar machine sold for $374,500 in June.
Project Genesis offers a new take on the silicon Story of Creation
Word is spreading of a new independent film, Project Genesis, involving a world populated only by old Apple computers. Italian director and filmmaker Alessio Fava has posted an enigmatic teaser of Macs shuffling around in a drab soulless environment, with hints of better existence:
We computers have always looked at our world from a single point of view: with resignation, limiting ourselves to survive. We were wrong! From this moment on, everything changes: new unexpected ways open up in front of us, the world we knew now becomes more accessible, simple, within everyone’s range.
Last fall we reported on the sale of Apple 1 system #82, which sold at a Christie’s auction for over $213,000. A rare piece of computing history, many wondered what the buyer, Italian businessman Marco Boglione, planned to do with his prize purchase.
Turns out like many collectors of old tech, Boglione wanted to fire that puppy up and relive the past! The system was brought to Politecnico di Torino University in Turin, Italy. After a careful power-up sequence designed to gracefully coax 35-year-old transistors back to life, the Apple 1 ran a simple BASIC program displaying the words “Hello Polito” on an old NTSC monitor – to honor the university and (presumably) the famous “Hello, World” program many students of programming are familiar with.
In a fitting meeting of old and new, a MacBook Pro was used to send control instructions to the Apple 1.