One man’s astonishing collection of Apple gear is for sale on eBay right now, making an instant Mac museum just a click away for the right bidder. The auction starts at $100,000, with a Buy It Now price of $300,000 — a drop in the bucket for a certain CEO who’s on his way to the billionaire’s club.
“I would love for Tim Cook to buy it all,” said seller Steve “Mac” Abbott in an email to Cult of Mac running down his list of ideal buyers. “First it means he would want to display it, unlike Steve [Jobs], and that Apple would sponsor its own history…. Next would be a well-heeled Apple guy, and after that whoever can convince me that it can be seen. Then, ‘Show me the money.'”
Abbott’s collection is gigantic, filling two small outbuildings, a shed, and three rooms and an attic in his house in Charlotte, North Carolina, where it’s sometimes been billed as MacAbbott’s Mac Museum. With 324 Apple computers (most working), hundreds of accessories like printers and mice, an estimated 2,000 pieces of software and tons of literature, spare parts and Apple collectibles and art, it’s basically a ready-made museum in a box. Or rather a couple of giant shipping pods.
All a buyer would need would be a proper place to display the gear that shows “the history of Apple and their amazing progress in technology,” according to the eBay listing.
“A museum should be a viewing area for artifacts that display history,” Abbott said. “All the collections are too huge to display here.”
Cult of Mac contributor and vintage Mac expert Adam Rosen, who is a a friend of Abbott’s, called the haul “one of the most comprehensive private Mac collections I’ve ever seen.”
“His goal was completeness, one of each type of Macintosh model made,” Rosen said. “In many areas he succeeded, like having every variant of G3 iMac, from Bondi Blue to Flower Power. That takes dedication, patience and lots of space!”
Abbott’s collection began in 1984, when he bought his first Macintosh.
“As a Mac salesman and consultant, I had great access to all things Apple,” he said. “I began buying customers’ old equipment and as that grew, I saw I had a museum going. I didn’t quit collecting until a few years ago.”
Now Abbott, 71, says he’s getting too old to test and maintain the sprawling hoard in his Mac museum. His greatest hope, aside from recouping the life’s savings he’s got tied up in the collection, is that the gear will be shown to the public someday.
Apple rarities worthy of a Mac museum
There are some rarities but Abbott says the strength is in the completist nature of his collection.
“Absolutely striking to me and my visitors is the display of 39 G3 iMacs,” he said. “One rarity is a G3 400 Blue Dalmatian, which EveryMac does not list. I like displaying all 13 of the earliest 100 Series PowerBooks, with 42 other ‘laptops.'”
But he’s also got an Apple notebook that might have “slipped the surly bonds of Earth.”
“Another interesting item is a 2006 NASA-labeled MacBook Pro and a boxed set of Panther startup disks,” Abbott said. “But the most interesting part is a photograph of astronaut Nick Patrick aboard the space shuttle Discovery with a Panther disc floating weightlessly beside the Earth below. Were they all connected? All happened in the year 2006. Did those Panther disks fly on the shuttle? Did the MacBook? Hmmm….”
So, are you in Tim Cook, Jony Ive or some other well-to-do Apple aficionado? Abbott’s “Magnificent Macintosh Museum” awaits your bid (the auction runs through Saturday). All this can be yours for less than the price of 30 Apple Watch Editions, and surely there’s room on the new Spaceship campus for an Apple museum.