Photo courtesy Auction Team Breker.
by Richard de Thuin
An original Apple 1 computer, one of six prototypes in fully working condition from a total of 200 Apple 1s that were ever made, sold for $640,000 at Auction Team Breker, specialists in technical antiques and fine toys, on November 24, 2012, in Köln, Germany. Bidding opened at $70,000, against a $156,000/260,000 estimate, to a packed salesroom.
Designed and built by Steve Wozniak in Silicon Valley in California, the Apple 1 was offered for sale in April 1976 by Wozniak and Steve Jobs through the Byte Shop, an electronics retail chain that purchased the first 50 units of this computer. The Apple 1 was delivered as a motherboard only, and this model had the original NTI logo.
The Apple 1 was the first personal computer in the world with monitor and keyboard access, but any peripheral equipment such as the power pack, Datanetics ASCII keyboard, monitor, and cassette recorder had to be acquired by the user, who also had to make his own housing, as Apple did not offer one.
This example had authentic peripheral items that correspond to the motherboard; the power pack has the same transformer recommended by Apple that was on the market in 1976. The monitor is a black-and-white video control set by Sanyo that Apple 1 owners normally used, and the cassette recorder is an original Panasonic 2101 recorder.
According to the on-line Apple 1 Registry by Mike Willegal, there are only 46 sets in existence throughout the world.
Prior to this auction, a fully working Apple 1 set in similar condition was auctioned in June 2012 by Sotheby's in New York City for $374,500.
Originally published in the January 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2012 Maine Antique Digest