First-gen iPhone with rare 'Lucky you' sticker could (not) break auction record [Updated] | Cult of Mac

First-gen iPhone with rare ‘Lucky you’ sticker could (not) break auction record [Updated]


The packaging's not perfect, but the rare
The packaging's not perfect, but the rare "Lucky you" sticker could add value.
Photo: Wright

Last week we asked if you were lucky enough to have about $65,000 to spend on an iPhone that can’t connect to anything. Now we know you didn’t need that much money after all.

The original, sealed iPhone (1st generation) that went up for auction Thursday sported a rare “Lucky you” sticker on the box. But that wasn’t enough to vault the handset into the record books ($63,356). Bidding started at $32,000.

Update: And … bidding ended at $40,320, the low end of the projected range of $40,000 – $60,000. Too many old iPhones up for auction lately? Maybe.

Bids on first-gen iPhone with rare ‘Lucky you’ sticker start at $32K, could hit or top $60K

Here’s the rest of our original post with a little background:

The iPhone 1 that brought $63,356 a few weeks ago was, of course, factory-sealed and unused. It was expected to go for a bid of around $50,000 but it went for considerably more, obviously.

Could that happen again with Thursday’s auction? Maybe. But maybe not. The auction estimate is $40,000 to $60,000.

The new auction from Wright in Chicago features a similar handset, model A1203 from 2007. Time magazine named it Invention of the Year after it came out, the auction house points out in its listing.

The article with the listing goes into plenty of historical detail, too, like this:

In 2005, Apple forged a high-profile-but-secret partnership with Cingular Wireless to build the iPhone, operating under the project code name Project Purple 2. Impossibly sleek, stylus-free, and virtually button-less, the original iPhone was, as Jobs put it, “an iPod, a phone, and an internet communicator” to be held in the palm of one’s hand: “These are not three separate devices,” Jobs told a charged crowd, “This is one device…and we are calling it iPhone.”

Imperfect packaging but rare ‘Lucky you’ sticker

Don't worry. X-rays show that everything what was in the box in 2007 is still there.
Don’t worry. X-rays show that everything what was in the box in 2007 is still there.
Photo: Wright

This new handset breaking the auction record (or not) comes down to a balance of factors. On the one hand, this iPhone is more special than the record-holder because of the “Lucky you” sticker on it, which appears upside-down on the box. Apple affixed it to only some products, not all. But on the other hand, the shrink wrap is not in perfect condition.

Still, X-rays showed the contents of the box are complete and un-messed with. It’s not quite new on the outside, but it’s all good on the inside.

Sticker is like a Willy Wonka Golden Ticket

Here’s what Wright’s description said about the rareness of the “Lucky you” sticker:

This rare, factory-sealed first-generation iPhone comes to Wright via Donald Gajadhar of Fox-White Art & Antique Appraisals. “[It] slowly dawned on me when I held [this] boxed Apple cellphone,” says Gajadhar, “my client not only had an unopened cellphone, but a truly unique version. A Willy Wonka, ‘24 karat’ Golden Ticket.” Indeed, the present lot features an upside-down Apple logo sticker bearing the words “lucky you.”

Feeling rich lucky? Don’t place your bid. The auction’s over.

Ed Hardy contributed to this post. 

Cult of Mac published this post on March 30, 2023, and updated it with the auction result on April 3, 2023.


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