Apple fanatics around the world will soon have a chance to bid on one of the original Apple computers.
The Apple I is being put up for sale by David Larson, a former Virginia Tech professor who bought the computer from Adam Schoolsky in 1994 for $US3500. Schoolsky was a friend of Apple cofounders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, who gave him the computer as a gift.
The computer, built by Wozniak in 1976, will be auctioned off by online auction house Charitybuzz starting on September 12. All proceeds will go to FAIRS, a Virginia-based non-profit that helps groups in developing countries put together emergency radio systems.
The computer’s auction lot will also include the original letter Larson received from Schoolsky in 1994; a promotional brochure for the Apple I and Apple II computers; and the first issue of the “Silicon Gulch Gazette,” an early PC industry publication, that was published in 1977.
The lot also includes a drawing by Ron Wayne, Apple’s little-known third cofounder. Wayne designed the original Apple logo, wrote the Apple I manual, and drew the Apple I schematic diagrams.
And it includes something that’s rarer than even the computer itself, an Apple I cassette interface card. Early PC’s often stored programs and data on cassette tapes; the card allowed an owner to connect a cassette recorder to the Apple I. The majority of original Apple owners never purchased the card, and many of the remaining Apple I in existence lack one.
Last but not least, the lot comes with a copy of a flyer from what’s known as the Zaltair hoax. The flyer dates back to the 1977 West Coast Computer Faire, where Wozniak, who loved pranks, and Schoolsky printed up a couple thousand brochures advertising a non-existent “Zaltair” computer that was supposed to be cheaper and better than any other on the market. No one could figure out who was behind the brochure, and the duo made quite the commotion among all of the computer enthusiasts at the event.
Dubbed the Schoolsky Apple-I, the computer that’s up for auction still technically works, but it needs a serious computer fiend just to turn it on. Like most of the earliest computers, it requires an external power source and a separate keyboard.
Apple made about 175 Apple I computers before discontinuing the model in 1977 in favour of its successor, the Apple II. Only a few dozen Apple I’s are known to be in existence and only a handful remain in working condition.
The computers go up for auction from time-to-time and frequently sell for premium prices. One sold at a German auction in May for $US130,000.
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