Apple collectibles are a seller’s market

Bids for this Apple I started at $370,000.
Bids for this Apple I started at $370,000.
Photo: Christie's

Cult of Mac 2.0 bugStarting a collection of Apple’s past is relatively easy and often affordable. But once you get started and a pricey, rare object presents itself, will you be able to control yourself?

Here’s a list that will test whether you have the fever and an intense desire to hold personal computing history in your hands. It may also test your fiscal fitness.

Detroit museum displaying an original Apple-1 this month only

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One of the rarest computers ever assembled.
Photo: Bonhams

If you’ve ever wanted to lay your eyes on an original ultra-rare Apple-1 computer — and don’t happen to have a spare six-figures of disposable income lying around — now’s your chance.

That’s because Detroit’s Henry Ford Museum is showing off one of a handful of fully-operation Apple-1 mainboards as a celebration of how far computing (and Apple) has come over the past few decades. You’ll have to be quick, though, as the breakthrough computer is only on display from now until the end of the month.

Bay Area woman accidentally junks $200,000 Apple-1 computer

A working Apple-1 is worth a small fortune these days.
A previous Apple-1 which went up for auction.
Photo: Auction Team Breker

Have you ever thrown away something you regretted later on? If so, you have something in common with the San Francisco Bay Area woman who recently junked a vintage Apple-1 computer — one of just 200 surviving machines created by Steve Jobs and the Woz way back in 1976.

Fortunately the ultra-rare desktop was recognized by a member of the recycling firm she left it at. They sold it to a private collector for $200,000, and now want to track down the unwitting donor to give her the 50 percent they say the company owes.

Read the first ever article written about Apple

Woz and Jobs in their early days at Apple.
Woz and Jobs in their early days at Apple.
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Apple’s not exactly hurting for press coverage these days. There was a time, though, when the company was desperate for any bit of publicity it could drum up. That time was February 1977, when The Apple Computer Company spoke to Kilobaud magazine for a multi-page feature article.

I don’t know whether my favorite bit of the resulting article is the crowing about 10 Apple computers selling in three weeks (the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sold 10 million in their opening weekend) or Steve Jobs not yet mastering the art of selling by admitting the machine “is not for everybody,” but it makes for fun reading nonetheless.

Buy it now? Rare original Apple-1 shows up on eBay

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Yep, this could belong to you. Photo: eBay/auctioncause2

If you think an Apple Watch Edition is rare, you should try getting your hands on an Apple-1 computer.

Only 63 are known to exist, but you can nab one now — provided you cough up the necessary cash. A working Apple-1, owned by its original purchaser and his family for more than 36 years, has appeared on eBay and is currently carrying a bid of $20,600.