Yellowed Apple retail sign from 1978 might pull in $20,000

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apple retail sign up for auction
Pre-Apple Store retail efforts.
Photo: Nate D. Sanders Auctions

Apple’s retail origins were far less glossy than today’s glass shrines known as Apple Stores. If a dealer wanted to sell an Apple II in 1978, the fledgling computer company provided a 4-foot-by-5-foot acrylic sign in a metal frame. On the face was a rainbow Apple logo over the words “apple computer.” No capital letters.

Bidding on one of those original signs starts at $20,000 in an online auction that ends in three days.

The rare Apple sign is being auctioned by Nate D. Sanders Auctions. The owner was a computer dealer who learned about Apple after attending a conference in 1976, according to the auction house.

It is the only piece of Apple memorabilia in an auction featuring mostly autographs from dead presidents, Hollywood stars and sports legends.

It’s an unremarkable, yellowing sign. However, because of Apple’s revolutionary impact on the world, any piece of Cupertino’s history can fetch great sums of money.

Autographs by the late, legendary Apple co-founder Steve Jobs rarely come up for auction. When they do, they sell for tens of thousands of dollars. Rare examples of Apple’s first computer, the Apple I, typically fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction.