If you feel foolish for having spent $10,000 for an Apple Lisa-1 computer in 1983, you hopefully kept it.
A working model recently sold for more than $50,000 at auction.
One of Apple’s biggest commercial failures is now one of the most coveted pieces of vintage tech. The steep price, clunky performance, and unreliable Twiggy floppy disks led to poor sales. Apple made improvements and dropped the price on the Lisa-2, but the launch of the Apple MacIntosh pretty much ended Lisa’s life.
Auction Team Breker, which specializes in tech antiques, sold a Lisa-1 for $50,300 at an auction in Cologne, Germany on Nov. 11, according to AppleWorld.Today. It fetched the top price on the day.
What makes it rare
While this may seem like a handsome sum, it still doesn’t come close to the value of an Apple 1. Some of few units still in existence have sold for $300,000 to $900,000, depending on condition, serial number and whether the demand at the time is high. Less than 70 are known exits because parts on most of the unsold units (about 500 were made) were recycled and used to build the Apple II.
What makes the Lisa-1 in its original form so rare was Apple’s offer to provide owners with free upgrades. Lisa-1 owners could convert their machines to the improved version, Lisa-2, by swapping out front panels and the Twiggy drives. Apple destroyed the parts and Breker estimates that only 30 to 100 original Lisa-1 machines still exist.
The Lisa-1 still holds a valuable place on the tech history timeline. Marketed as a machine for businesses, it was the first personal computer with a graphical mouse-controlled user interface.
It also introduced overlapping windows and pull-down menus. The video below shows how Lisa-1 operated 34 years ago.