Rare Apple-1 Computer Up for Auction at Christie's

Rare Apple-1 Computer Up for Auction at Christie’s

A piece of computing history, an Apple-1 personal computer, has recently been put up for auction by Christie’s, sparking interest among collectors and technology enthusiasts alike. The Apple-1, known for kickstarting the journey of the now tech giant Apple, is a rare find, with this particular auction expected to fetch between £300,000 and £500,000 — equivalent to between $463,000 and $772,000. This valuation far exceeds the prices other Apple-1 computers have fetched in recent sales, highlighting the unique allure of this vintage device.

The Apple-1 was initially sold in 1976 for $666.66, which is approximately $2,788 in today’s currency. Designed as a standalone circuit board, it came without a case, keyboard, monitor, or power supply, requiring computer hobbyists of the time to supply these components themselves. The original model featured a mere 4 kilobytes of memory, which was considered groundbreaking at the time. This particular model up for auction was upgraded by its first owner to 8KB of memory and was last known to be operational in 2005, although its current working condition is unverified.

Approximately 200 units of the Apple-1 were originally produced, with about 60 known to exist today. Some of these units are preserved in prestigious institutions like the Smithsonian Museum of Art and the Henry Ford Museum, underscoring their significance in the annals of computing history. The Apple-1 being auctioned was purchased in 1977 by Joe Torzewski and has since been encased in a white housing with an integrated keyboard, reminiscent of its successor, the Apple II.

Included in the auction lot are several data cassettes and original manuals, which Christie’s has highlighted as particularly rare. These manuals were penned by Ron Wayne, the lesser-known third co-founder of Apple alongside Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Wayne, who sold his 10% stake in Apple for just $800 shortly after the company’s founding, played a crucial role in its early days. His contributions, though less celebrated, are an integral part of Apple’s history, adding a layer of intrigue and value to the auctioned Apple-1.

This auction not only offers a rare opportunity to own a piece of technological history but also serves as a reminder of the humble beginnings from which today’s tech giants emerged. The Apple-1’s journey from a rudimentary circuit board to a coveted collector’s item mirrors the meteoric rise of Apple itself, making this auction a significant event for collectors and tech enthusiasts around the globe.