In the summer of 1976, two young friends in Northern California agreed to sell 50 computers to a local store for $500 each.
After working for 10 days straight, they pulled it off. That computer went on to be known as the Apple-1, Apple Computer’s first product.
Those young men were Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs. And now, Apple is the most valuable public company in the world.
One of the computers they built during that time is now up for auction at Charitybuzz. It’s an early Apple-1, and the auctioneers think it might actually be a pre-production version. It’s one of perhaps 60 Apple-1 computers still in existence.
Currently, it’s going for $270,000 after three bids. But the auctioneer thinks the one-of-a-kind computer could be worth as much as $1,000,000.
Take a look:
The auction doesn't just include the computer. It also has full documentation, including an instruction manual, schematics, and tapes.
At the time the computer was built, Apple was based in the Jobs family garage. So Apple used an answering service located at 770 Welch Road, before it moved to Cupertino.
This logo was designed by the third Apple founder, Ron Wayne, and was used until 1977, when Apple adopted the logo of the apple shape with a bite taken out.
The Apple 1 used tapes with a special peripheral called the Apple 1 Cassette Interface. That doubled the Apple 1 storage capacity from 256 bytes to 512 bytes. One of these tapes contains the BASIC programming language, and the other includes a Star Trek and Blackjack program.
Let's zoom in. The introduction warns: 'Please read Section 1 thoroughly, before attempting to 'power-up' your system...' That's quite the opposite of Apple's approach today, which envisions products people can start using without ever reading the manual.
According to the auction listing, this is one of the few known Apple-1 computers to look like it started as a 'blank original-run board' instead of a board from the production runs.
Some of the components are different from the components that were eventually included in later Apple-1 computers.
It's been cleaned and cared for, and although experts think it can be powered-up, it's not advisable because of its fragility.
The Apple-1 was sold at the Byte Shop, in Mountain View, California. Paul Terrell, who owned the store, bought 50 Apple-1 computers for $500 each.
Other extant Apple-1 computers have sold for as much as $330,000, and many are in museums, like this one currently on display at the Sydney Powerhouse Museum.
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