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.
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.
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.
It was an impromptu family reunion whose RSVP list grew rapidly. In celebration of the recent rebirth of two prototype Twiggy Macs, many legends of Cupertino relived memories and reconnected with old friends in a private party held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA.
Attendees, many of whom held Apple badge numbers in the single or double digits, included (among others) Steve Wozniak, Andy Hertzfeld, Daniel Kottke, Chris Espinosa, Guy Kawasaki, Jerry Manock, Terry Oyama, Larry and Patti Kenyon, Rod Holt, Randy Wigginton and Wendell Sander. The soiree was arranged by longtime Apple employee Dan Kottke and Gabreal Franklin, former president of Encore systems and owner of one of the resurrected Twiggy Macs.
Apple’s venerable alumni laughed and reminisced with each other while playing with the rare prototype, commenting on early aspects of the design and who did what. “It’s got an hourglass cursor,” Andy Hertzfeld said. “I don’t remember that. Hey, I wrote that. It seems slow to me.”
It stands shorter than a Steve Jobs doll. It can be held in the palm of your hand. It runs System 6, and elicits squeals of delight from vintage Mac fans.
It is the Smallest Mac in the World.
Hot on the heels of the news of the world’s oldest working Macintosh comes a breakthrough of much more modest proportions. John Leake, co-host of the RetroMacCast, has created what may be the world’s smallest working Macintosh using a Raspberry Pi computer, PVC, some off-the shelf parts and a Mac emulator running under Linux. He calls it “Mini Mac.”
Why? As Leake writes on his blog, “this is one those ‘because I can’ projects with no practical use – my favorite kind!”
A love of all things Apple and an encyclopedic knowledge of the many successful, unsuccessful and downright notorious products Cupertino has released over the years are a given. But the job can be more perilous than you’d imagine.
But collecting these Macs isn’t always easy. From almost losing a finger to a PowerMac G4 Cube to mistakenly being investigated by the police under the suspicion of dealing drugs instead of Macs, Googlevitch has some wild stories to tell that prove that being a vintage Mac collector isn’t necessarily for the faint of heart.
Cult of Mac sat down with Adam to hear some of his adventures and also get the scoop on the rarest machines in his collection.
2012 has been a good year for vintage Macs surfacing from obscurity. Earlier this year we brought you news about an original 128k Mac with 5.25″ Twiggy floppy disk for sale on eBay. This same owner contacted Cult of Mac recently to share some photos of his latest rare find: a prototype Macintosh SE with a clear plastic outer case, used for engineering air flow studies.
Breaking fake news site Scoopertino is reporting that Apple has decided to take a retro approach with their new product offering, a re-release of the venerable Apple II microcomputer. An Apple press release (apparently) notes:
The Apple II gave birth to the computer industry. Now it’s pregnant again — this time with unlimited possibilities.
Old computers never really die, they just get passed on to grandkids and collectors. Likewise old computer users never die, they just don’t get out as much as they used to. The internet is an unfriendly place for 8 bit processors and dialup modems.
To help relive old memories and make new ones, several festivals dedicated to computers with no commercial value make the rounds each year. This year for our vintage geek pleasures: the perennial Apple II bash called KansasFest, and the Vintage Computer Festival East.
A rare and interesting Apple prototype surfaced on eBay recently, and although the auction has since ended we thought it notable enough to merit mention. A 1993 prototype called a WALT – Wizzy Active Lifestyle Telephone – combined a telephone, fax, personal address book and more with a HyperCard user interface. It never shipped, but this vaporware breakthrough netted the seller a cool $8000 on eBay.