A piece of Apple history is going on sale at Bonhams auction house this week, with the offer of a first iteration Blue Box circuit board made by the co-founders of Apple themselves, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, in the 1970s.
The auction house says the Blue Box was purchased directly from Steve Wozniak in 1972. “Blue Box, 1972. An original first iteration ‘blue box’ populated circuit board made by Steve Wozniak and marketed by Steve Jobs and Wozniak, 51 x 72 mm, with speaker wire and 9volt battery connector,” the item’s description reads. “Provenance: Purchased directly from Steve Wozniak by the consignor in Autumn 1972 during a drive together from Sunnyvale to Los Angeles.”
Blue boxes were devices used primarily in the 1960s and 1970s as some of the earliest hacking tools. These devices generated tones that were used by phone operators, so by holding the blue box’s speaker up to a phone receiver, the user could trick the phone operators into providing things like free long-distance calls.
These devices were an early interest of Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, who worked on and with the devices throughout the early 1970s. The pair said that working on blue boxes helped teach them codes and tricks for working with computers, and were a direct influence on their work that would become the Apple company. In fact, Steve Jobs famously told his biographer Walter Isaacson that without Wozniak and his blue boxes, “there wouldn’t have been an Apple.”
The legend goes that Wozniak designed the boxes and Jobs came up with the idea to sell them after the pair became interested in not only using the devices but also building them. After a close call with the police, they gave up on the blue box project and moved onto other projects, including the eventual formation of Apple.
Bonhams is currently accepting bids on the item for between $4,000 and $6,000, but it’s sure to generate considerable interest among Apple fans and historians so the price may well escalate rapidly. The auction closes on Thursday, November 5 at 10:00 PT, so if you want to grab this piece of Apple history then you can head to the bid page.
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