Original 1976 Apple I fetches more than half a million dollars at auction

Original 1976 Apple I fetches more than half a million dollars at auction

Palo Alto : CA : USA | Nov 27, 2012 at 8:30 PM PST
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Apple 1 computer

A 1976 original Apple I computer, designed and built by Steve Wozniak, sold at auction in Germany for more than half a million dollars to an unknown buyer by the Internet.

The total production of Apple I computers was 200 units. 44 are known to still exist and of those only two are said to be fully working. Earlier in 2012, another similar Apple 1 sold for $374,000. The prices have shot up over just the last three years. I have appended a video showing an Apple I that was for sale in 2009 and did not reach the reserve bid of $16,000.

In the mid-seventies, both Steve Jobs and Wozniak had to sell of some of their few possessions to start the Apple company. Wozniak worked for Hewlett-Packard. The first fifty units were bought by a retail chain, the Byte Shop electronics.

The Apple I was just a motherboard without any monitor, keyboard, or case. The one shown on the video, does have a case built around the motherboard. Anyone who bought the computer would have to add their own peripheral equipment.

Wozniak priced the unit at $666.66 apparently because he liked repeating digits. He says he had no idea that this was associated with the Mark or Number of the Beast. The wholesale price was $500 with a one third markup. Other computers on sale at the time came as kits but the Apple 1 was an already assembled motherboard although all other peripherals had to be added on. Later, an optional board provided for an interface with a cassette for storage, was released. It cost an extra $72. Wozniak first demonstrated the computer at the Homebrew Computer Club in Palo Alto California.

Competing computers such as the Altair 8800 had fewer features and had to be extended with separate hardware in order to be connected to a computer terminal or teletypewriter machine. The Apple II was introduced in April 1977. It soon displaced the Apple 1 which was discontinued in October 1977. Apple provided incentives to trade in the Apple I for Apple II's and all but one of those returned were destroyed apparently. As a result the original Apple I is quite rare.

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Apple I (1976)
Image: AFP
northsunm32 is based in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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