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.
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.
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.
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.
While the figure is certainly sizeable, however, it’s also a bit of a disappointment when you consider that just two months ago, a similar machine fetched an eye-watering $905,000, when it was acquired by the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Michigan, to be part of its ongoing collection. “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 shortly after that auction had concluded.
Yesterday’s Christie’s auction in New York had expected the Apple-1 to sell for between $400,000 and $600,000, although there had been some speculation it could break the $1 million mark.
The Apple-1 came complete with a mounted cancelled check for his purchase, made out to Apple Computer by original owner Charles Ricketts.