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Do we hear a million? Apple-1 computer sold by Steve Jobs could break auction records

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Image used with permission by copyright holder
Apple’s devices are often subject to overpricing accusations, and the Cupertino-based tech giant is known for thriving due to possibly the heftiest profit margins in the business. But the cash that’s earned off every iPhone, iPad, and Mac is nothing compared to how much a collector is expected to reap after auctioning off an original Apple-1 computer.

This isn’t just any Apple-1 unit. This is the only known Apple-1 still around that has been sold by none other than former Apple CEO Steve Jobs himself. According to Christie’s, the organizing auction house, Jobs cut a deal with a Charles Ricketts on July 27, 1976, and got a $600 check in exchange for the computer.

The cancelled check will be part of the package at the auction as well, alongside the fully working 4KB memory-boasting machine. Yes, that’s 4KB, as in kilobytes. Not MB, and definitely not GB.

The contraption has no real-life purpose anymore, other than to possibly decorate the living room of some eccentric Apple-loving high-roller. We can’t help but wonder whether a museum or tech-focused art foundation will get the winning bid at Christie’s inaugural “Exceptional Sale” in New York’s Rockefeller Center on December 11.

The last time a functional Apple-1 was auctioned off, The Henry Ford organization snatched it just a couple of weeks ago for the record-setting sum of $905,000. As unbelievable as that may sound, we have every reason to expect a new milestone to be crossed.

Christie’s might choose to be cautious, and appraise the Jobs-sold computer somewhere between $400,000 and $600,000. Hence, it’s extremely likely that we’ll see someone cough up one million dollars at the event. It’s possible that it will go for even more, since the touch of Apple’s now-deceased founding father is sure to add some value to the device.

The history of this particular Apple-1 model is quite interesting. The original buyer apparently hawked it in 1999 to a rich entrepreneur named Bruce Waldack. Five years later, it was auctioned off again at a sheriff’s sale of Waldack’s possessions, where it was acquired by collector Bob Luther.

In case you’re wondering, the Apple-1 computer was tested by expert Corey Cohen last month, and it was found to run Microsoft Basic without a hitch, as well as an original Apple-1 Star Trek game.

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Adrian Diaconescu
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