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Rare Apple-1 computer built by Jobs and Wozniak in 1976 sells for $815,000

A rare “Celebration” Apple-1 computer built by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs in 1976 sold for $815,000 this week, according to MacRumors, after a bid for $1.2 million was pulled at the last minute. This particular board was not part of a known production run, and was never sold to the public.

The Apple-1 is the very first Apple computer, the first personal computer marketed to consumers, and the first Apple product in history. To build it, Steve Jobs sold his only means of getting around, a Volkswagen Microbus, and Steve Wozniak sold his HP-65 calculator.

The auction, held on CharityBuzz, was for the computer and a variety of accessories. They include:

  • Apple-1 4K Byte RAM Expansion Memory (total of 8K).
  • Apple-1 Cassette Interface Daughter Board (4 by 2 inches).
  • Apple-1 BASIC Program Cassette Tape (4 by 2.5 inches).
  • Apple-1 Star Trek and Blackjack Program Cassette Tape (4″ by 2.5 inches).
  • All original manuals and fliers.
  • Sales receipt from previous owner to current owner.
  • Notarized condition summary report for “Celebration” Apple-1 board by Corey Cohen (31-page written and photo authentication documentation of the system).
  • Video record of Corey performing the authentication and evaluation of the “Celebration” Apple-1.
  • Professional detailed images of the “Celebration” Apple-1.

Back in 1976, the Apple-1 sold for $666.66 at The Byte Shop in Mountain View, California. This particular Apple-1 is not currently in working condition, but it could be restored with a few tweaks. Cohen recommends against making those tweaks, however, as that would change what makes this board unique.

This “Celebration” model doesn’t seem to be part of any production run, and seems likely to be an experimental build by Wozniak to test the manufacturing process. It’s heatsink is smaller than that used on other Apple-1 boards, so Wozniak may have added a bigger heatsink after testing this board. It’s unclear.

Whatever the story is, this is a rare bit of Apple history, not to mention computing history. We hope the new owners will let us check it out some time.

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Justin Pot
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