Working Apple-1 goes (kind of) cheap at auction

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Going, going, gone! Photo: Christie's

A working Apple-1 computer has sold at a Christie’s auction for $365,000: more than 600x the $600 that was paid for it back in July 1976, when it was bought from Steve Jobs.

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.

Around 200 Apple-1 units were made, of which just 50 are thought to still exist, with far fewer still believed to be in working order.

Also in the same Christie’s auction was the personal collection of third Apple co-founder Ron Wayne, including the original proofs for the Apple-1 manual, as well as unused designs for a proposed Apple II case. These went for $25,000: slightly less than the estimated $30,000-$50,000. You can read our recent interview with Wayne about the auction here.

For more info on the most fascinating Apple auctions of all time, check out gallery on the subject. If you’re dying to get your hands on an Apple-1, but don’t happen to have a spare $365,000 lying around, you can also always take a look at a guide to building your very own working model here.