An original Apple 1 computer has come up for auction, and the starting bid is almost a quarter of a million pounds.
The Register reports that high-end auction London house Christie’s is selling off the vintage device, which was launched in 1976. Just 200 were ever made, and they were hand-built by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, “but only a quarter of those still exist,” says the auction house in the listing.
The starting bid is £240,000 ($US370,000), with 13 days left — but is expected to go for considerably more than that. Christie’s estimates the final price will be between £300,000 ($US464,000) and £500,000 ($US773,000). It’s part of Christie’s “Seven Centuries of Science” auction, which is “a curated group of scientific instruments that span the centuries from 1300-1976. These artefacts tell the story of the history of calculating and computing, beginning with from the newly discovered ‘Chetwode’ horary Quadrant from the 14th century through to the iconic Apple-1 that heralded the revolution in home computing.”
Buyer beware, however: The machine hasn’t actually been turned on since 2005. “Neither of the electrics nor electronics have been tested,” Christie’s warns. “We assume it could be brought up to working order again,” but cautions: “We recommend a certified engineer attempt this.”
As an added bonus, the device comes “with the extremely rare first manual issued by the Apple computer company.” It was written by Ronald Wayne, who also designed Apple’s original logo.
Here’s a shot of the motherboard:
And a close-up of the branding:
The machine, with casing:
And finally, the instruction manuals:
Here’s the full listing description:
AN APPLE-1 PERSONAL COMPUTER
PALO ALTO, 1976
an Apple-1 motherboard: labelled Apple Computer 1 Palo Alto Ca. Copyright 1976 on obverse with four rows A-D, and columns 1-18, white ceramic MOS Technologies 6502 microprocessor, labelled MCS 6502 1576, 8K bytes RAM in 16-pin 4K memory chips, original 3 “Big-Blue” power supply capacitors, firmware in PROMS (A1, A2), low-profile sockets on all integrated circuits, fitted with original Apple cassette interface card lettered with ‘G’ within triangle; mounted in grey and black painted fibreglass casing with keyboard; three cassettes with printed labels apple computer inc. one with labelled in manuscript HAMURABI 4A/00FFR 400.FFFR 10-6-77, another labelled in manuscript NEW MONITOR 800.FFFR Run F3D 10-6, the third with applied printed label A1t001 BASIC LOAD:E000.EFFFR RUN:E000R.
Original manuals: Apple-1 Operation Manual. Palo Alto: Apple Computer Company, (n.d., but 1976). 4° (280 x 215mm.) 12pp., Apple-1 Cassette Interface. Palo Alto: Apple Computer Company, (n.d., but 1976). 2 bifolia to form oblong 8° (140 x 216mm.) [8pp.], PRELIMINARY APPLE BASIC USERS MANUAL. Palo Alto: Apple Computer Company (October 1976). A4 with green paper title (280 x 215mm.) 14pp. Apple-1TM Operation Manual. Palo Alto: Apple Computer Company (1977). A4 with brown paper title (280 x 215mm.) 12pp., Preliminary Apple BASIC User’s Manual. Palo Alto: Apple Computer Company (n.d., but 1977). A4 with brown paper title (280 x 215mm.) 14pp.; a postcard stamped 18 Jul 1977 to Joe Torzewksi, signed ‘Steve Wozniak APPLE COMPUTER’ with a note stating ‘We are getting a floating point BASIC for the APPLE-II but not the APPLE-I’; with a copy of Interface Age vol.1 no.11 October 1976 featuring a double-page advertisement for Apple.
22 x 19 x 6in. (55 x48 x15cm.)