Rare Apple-1 with original documentation goes up for auction

By

Apple-1 auction
It's your opportunity to own one of Apple's original computers.
Photo: Christie's

Want to own one of the very first computers Apple ever launched? You very well could, thanks to a Christie’s auction selling an Apple-1 personal computer, circa 1976.

This model comes complete with original instruction manuals, supporting hardware, and “additional ephemera.” However, with an asking price of up to $630,000, you may have to get a second mortgage or sell a vital organ to get hold of it!

A short Apple-1 history lesson

The Apple-1 launched one year before the vastly superior Apple II. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak started working on it as a hobby, with no plans to turn it into a business. Originally, he just wanted to show it off to members of his local Homebrew Computer Club.

Steve Jobs was the one who convinced Woz that they should sell the computers. Jobs approached Paul Terrell, owner of the nearby Byte Shop, one of the first personal computer stores. Jobs sold Terrell on buying 50 Apple-1 computers for $500 each. Terrell then marked up the computers to $666.66, the equivalent of around $2,800 today.

Approximately 200 Apple-1s were built. Of these, just 80 are thought to still exist, which are held by a combination of private collectors and institutions like the Smithsonian Museum of Art.

Accompanying this model are photocopies of Apple founder Ronald G. Wayne’s Partnership Agreement with Jobs and Wozniak, an amendment to this agreement, his withdrawal statement after dropping out as an Apple founder, and business cards belonging to the founders.

It’s going to be interesting to see what price the Apple-1 winds up selling for. Over the last few years, a number of Apple-1 computers have gone up for auction. The most ever paid for one was $905,000 in 2014. This was when interest in Apple memorabilia was at a high after the death of Steve Jobs. By comparison, in September last year a working Apple-1 sold for just $375,000 at auction.

The Apple-1 lot will start on May 16 at 9am EST. You can find more information here.