One of the more iconic machines in computing history is headed for the auction block soon. On October 9th, 2012 Christie's will be including an Apple 1 in its sale. Only around 200 Apple 1's were designed and hand built by Steve Wozniak, partner of Steve Jobs at Apple, and probably fewer than fifty are still known to exist. Built in 1976, it is basically just a circuit board and does not look much like the computers of today.
However, whereas other computers of the time were sold as kits which required soldering skills, the Apple 1 was sold pre-assembled and ready to use. This opened up the computing market to people other than electronics fanatics and by adding a keyboard, TV (as a monitor) and power supply you could have your own personal computer for $666.66. It was the dawn of the personal computer revolution and pushed computing into the realm we are familiar with today. It was also the precursor to the Apple II which sold nearly 6 million units from 1977 up until 1993.
This particular Apple 1 is a first run unit owned by the estate of Joe Copson, a one time employee of both Apple and Atari, and has the serial number 22. As you can see it has a hard plastic case that is unique to this machine. Here are some of the other specs from Christie's:
- Built in Palo Alto in 1976
- Motherboard numbered on the reverse 01-0022 in black ink
- Printed circuit board marked Apple Computer 1 Palo Alto, Ca 1976 with 4 rows A-D and columns 1-18
- Three capacitors
- Cassette board connector
- Keyboard interface
- Firmware in PROMS
- White 6502 microprocessor
- Apple cassette interface card lettered G within triangle in black ink
This particular Apple 1 has been up for sale before. It was listed on eBay in late 2011 for $175,000 but did not receive a bid.
The previous sale of an Apple 1 by Sotheby's on June 15 of 2012 resulted in a winning bid of $374,500. It was part of the second run of Apple 1 production. Another sold in November of 2010 for $212,000.
So, if you're a vintage computer buff get ready to break open your wallet. A chance like this doesn't come up often and I would guess that values for existing Apple 1's will only increase over time as the retro computing collector's market grows larger. You can check out other Apple 1's at the Apple 1 registry site.