Money to burn? Buy an original iPhone for $20,000 | Cult of Mac

Money to burn? Buy an original iPhone for $20,000


2G iPhone on eBay
A 2G iPhone never opened and under glass. How much would you pay?
Photo: Discount Depot/eBay

iPhone-turns-10 When the iPhone launched in 2007, the tech world went into conniptions about the device’s price tag. At a time when carriers offered most cellphones for free, the iPhone’s $500 starting price seemed downright crazy.

Well, guess how much an original iPhone costs now?

The price of a working first generation iPhone can be yours for a mere $19,500.

With no Blue Book for vintage tech and Apple fans being uniquely crazy, sellers can pretty much ask any price, especially if the item is first generation and still factory sealed.

Such is the case with the $19,500 iPhone from a seller called Discount Depot.

If $20K is too rich for you, there are a few others for sale at $8,000 or so. An eBay search of “first gen iPhone” early this week listed 236 first-gen iPhones for a range of prices and conditions.

These eBay items all claim to be first-gen iPhones still in factory wrapped boxes looking like they had just been purchased in June of 2007. For $19,500, you get a glass case with a mirrored bottom.

Serious collectors are willing to pay a pretty penny for never-before-opened items, but say the higher listings are outrageous with sellers taking advantage of the upcoming anniversary with hopes of desperate, irrational offers.

While some collectors may want to have a complete set, the iPhone is not seen as a hot collectible. Except for a few first-generation phones that remain sealed in the box, iPhones are not rare. Users upgrade them often and Apple has not released any limited edition model iPhones as it did with the iPod.

“I don’t know any hardcore iPhone collectors,” said Alex Jason, a teenager from Maine, who recently sold off an impressive Apple collection he built up to cover his college tuition.

“(Apple) released them too quickly for people to keep up. Even the prototypes look very similar to the actual devices so if there are collectors, it would be a small group.”

So what the kid is saying is your eBay investment may not have much of a return.

2G iPhone on eBay
A two-fer! One gently used and one factory sealed. Yours for just $12,999.
Photo: dawg1555/eBay

But if your heart is absolutely set on having one, just take a breath every time you come across one still in the box with hyped messaging like, “The smartphone that changed the world.”

The seller dawg1555 has two first-gen iPhones under a mahogany- glass case, one that is gently used while the other is factory sealed. “This is an opportunity to display a piece of history that changed the way we do EVERYTHING,” the seller writes. “This phone is the star of making our life easier and faster in every way.”

Yours for $12,999, but act quickly because 49 people are actually watching.

The seller jdinman1 added a piece of provenance few sellers are including, an AT&T receipt that includes the date June 29, 2007, the day the first iPhones sold. There are 37 people watching the item, perhaps trying to decide if having the receipt is worth paying $10,500 for the still-sealed iPhone.

2G iPhone on eBay
Comes with a receipt with the date, June 29, 2007.
Photo: jdinman1/eBay

The same phone, virginal package and all, can also be found for prices of $8,100, 5,999.99 and $4,500, though no glass case or interesting documentation.

Gently used but still with a box and all the accessories, the price comes way down, to a couple of hundred dollars though there is still a huckster or two trying to cash in on the birthday with prices above a grand.

There are also some bargains for budget-minded collectors or techies looking for parts.

One seller has a $29.99 iPhone, smartsalesusa, is honest about the merchandise but clearly, sees the glass half full. “It’s great for personal use! The smartphone is cracked and has some dead pixels, making small gray lines on the phone. Otherwise in excellent condition.”

2G iPhone on eBay
Cracked with dead pixels. Otherwise, works great.
Photo: smartsalesusa/eBay


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