A vintage, still working Apple I computer designed by founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak fetched a staggering £238869 at Sotheby’s auction house on June 15, 2012, over 500 times the original retail value.
A vintage, still working Apple I computer designed by founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak fetched a staggering £238,869 at Sotheby's auction house on 15 June, 2012, over 500 times the original retail value.
The 1976 computer is in full working condition and was previously estimated to fetch around £114,810. The computer includes the original cassette interface, operating instructions and BASIC computer language user's manual. However, it did not have a monitor or power like just other Apple 1s.
According to Sotheby's, the Apple founders created the personal computer in 1976 and presented it at a Palo Alto computer club, but there were few takers at the time. Paul Terrell, owner of a retail chain called Byte Shop, placed an order for 50 of the machines and sold them for £666.66 retail - once Wozniak and Jobs agreed to assemble the circuit boards rather than offer them as kits.
The Apple I was Apple's first product, and to finance its creation, Jobs sold his only means of transportation, a VW van and Wozniak sold his HP-65 calculator for £318.9.
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Although they produced around 150 models, only six computers are known to be in working condition.
The Daily Mail reported that two bidders competed for the machine, the first compact computer to allow casual users to type on a keyboard and operate basic programs. An anonymous telephone bidder prevailed for a final cost of just under £239,188 including commission.
"This was an unusual event. The bidding took off quickly between a couple of people. The winning bidder was placing bids almost before the competitor had finished theirs," Selby Kiffer of Sotheby's told the Daily Mail.
Other highlights of the sale included an unpublished F Scott Fitzgerald story, The I O U, which sold to an unidentified US institution for £124,059, far above the £47837 pre-sale estimate, and an autographed letter from Oscar Wilde calling his work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, his swan song. It fetched £85789, or more than three times the estimate.
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