A still-working Apple-1 computer originally sold by Steve Jobs out of his Palo Alto garage way back in 1976 for the princely sum of $600 has just fetched $365,000 at a Christie’s auction in New York City.
For sure, that’s a lot of cash to hand over for a computer, but the fact is it fell some way short of the estimated selling price of $400,000 to $600,000 and was way below the $905,000 that the Henry Ford organization paid for another Apple-1 at an auction in October.
Prior to Thursday’s sale there had been speculation that the machine might even break the million-dollar mark, with the expectation that excited bidders would be motivated by the fact that this is the only known surviving machine to have been sold directly by the late Apple co-founder out of his home to an individual.
That guy was Charles Ricketts, and his check was part of the package auctioned by Christie’s. The machine has had several owners since then, though has been treated with enough care to ensure it still lights up when you plug it in.
However, with only 4KB of memory – that’s right, four kilobytes – you can’t do a great deal with it, though no doubt the unidentified new owner will be happy to shove it in a glass box and simply stare in awe at this piece of computing history.
The Apple-1, as its name cleverly suggests, was the tech firm’s very first computer, with co-founder Steve Wozniak building it by hand at Steve Jobs’ parents’ home some 38 years ago.
Around 200 units were made, each one consisting of a circuit board and little else. Of these, around 50 are thought to still exist, though only a few are believed to be in working condition.