Buyer snags Apple I at a ‘discount’ price because of its memory modifications

apple i sale 335500 auction apple01
Jordiipa/Wikimedia
A working Apple I is rare and worth a lot of money. While a recently auctioned system was sold for $355,500, that is actually a rather low price tag for an Apple I in that condition. The buyer was able to get such a deal because the system had been modified to perform better than the original design.

While today Apple is focusing its efforts on future tech like augmented reality, in 1976 it was developing the original Apple I. Sold with a price tag of $666.66, the Apple I was Apple’s very first product and all 200 of the original machines were built by hand, many by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak himself. Around 63 of the classic systems are accounted for with only a handful confirmed to be working, so anytime one goes on sale, it is quite a big event. This one though did not sell for as much as some of its peers because it featured some modifications from the original design.

Described in its listing as a “Working Apple-1 Personal Computer, Palo Alto, 1976,” it featured the original MOS Technologies 6502 microprocessor and 12KB of RAM. The original Apple I design came with 8KB of memory, which is where one of the modifications was made to this model, to add an additional 4KB.

That modification and the addition of EPROM was conducted by the original owner, Andrew Zacharias in the mid-1970s. The auction listing claims he later sold the system in 1978 for $300.

While the $335,500 this model ultimately sold for is quite a markup on the original purchase and resale prices, it is not quite as strong as some of its fellow Apple Is have sold for. Several have been sold over the past half-decade, with one reaching as much as $905,000. 9to5Mac reports that a further ‘Celebration’ model was sold in August 2016 for $815,000.

Much of that particular time period in computer development is considered extremely valuable now. The hardware itself is rare, but for those tempted to dig through their attics and basements in search of something valuable, even paperwork from that era can fetch thousands. A personal archive of Apple co-founder Ronald Wayne that included proof sheets from the Apple-1 Operation Manual and some blueprint drawings of the Apple II, fetched $25,000 in 2014.

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