Today in Apple history: Original Apple I sells for big bucks at auction

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Apple-1
A working Apple 1 will set you back a small fortune.
Photo: Auction Team Breker

Friday24On June 24, 2013, an Apple I — the first ever computer built by Apple Computer, Inc. — was listed for auction by international auction house Christie’s.

Thought to be one of the first 25 units to be built by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in the late 1970s, the unit featured no Apple logo, but rather a signature from Woz, who designed the machine. It sold for an impressive $390,000, ranking it among the most expensive computers ever sold.

The unit in question was put up for sale in the “First Bytes: Iconic Technology From the Twentieth Century” auction by a man named Ted Perry, who first became an Apple user in 1977 after being introduced to the company’s products in a school project.

The Apple I itself was manufactured in a small run in 1976, selling for $666.66 without a keyboard, transformer or video display — which makes the crazy prices the machine commands today even more impressive. Only around 30-50 units are thought to still exist, with the numbers decreased thanks to Apple’s suggestion at the time that customers trade in the Apple I for the significantly upgraded Apple II when it was launched the following year.

Other Apple I units have commanded massive prices in the years since — with the top price ever paid being $905,000 for a working unit in October 2014, bought by the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. On the other end of the spectrum, an unfortunate widow unwittingly threw out an an original Apple I in May 2015, following the death of her husband. The recycling firm sold it to a private collector for $200,000.