Original Apple 1 Headed to Auction

Would You Like to Get Your Hands on the Original Apple 1?

Maybe you can – If you’re rich…


Original Apple 1 Headed to Auction

How much would you pay for a piece of tech history?

If you’re an Apple fanatic with deep pockets you better get your checkbook ready, because you could soon get your hands on an authentic, fully working Apple 1 computer from 1976.

The vintage computer, designed and hand-built by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, is up for auction this Saturday in Cologne, Germany.

But it won’t come cheap. Auction house Auction Team Breaker has set the starting bid at $116,000 and estimates that it will fetch anywhere from $260,000 to $400,000. If history is any indication, the Apple 1 could go for even higher.

The same German auctioneer sold one of the other six working Apple 1’s for a cool $640,000 last November, surpassing the previous record of $374,500 set months earlier by Sotheby’s in New York.

The model up for auction this Saturday is signed by Wozniak and was originally owned by former Major League Baseball player Fred Hatfield, who played from 1950 to 1958 for the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, and Cincinnati Reds (should the winning bidder wish to crunch Hatfield’s stats on the Apple I, the utility infielder hit .242 with 25 home runs and 165 RBIs for his career).

The machine comes with a letter from 1978, signed by the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, offering Hatfield a check for $400 to exchange his Apple 1 for a new Apple II. Hatfield apparently declined the offer.

There were only 200 Apple 1 computers were ever made and today there are only 46 known units in existence, with just a half-dozen in fully working condition.

In 1976, Jobs and Wozniak convinced Paul Terrell, the owner of electronics retail chain Byte Shop, to sell the home computer in his stores. Terrell ordered 50 Apple 1 motherboards at $500 each, provided Jobs and Wozniak delivered them fully assembled rather than as DIY kits, a huge departure from other hobbyist computers of the time.

Jobs and Wozniak famously invested all their money in the Apple 1. Jobs sold his VW Westphalia campervan, while Wozniak sold his HP-65 calculator to finance the project. The duo soon moved on to designing and selling other models, but the Apple 1 represents the original seed of the Macs we all know today.

Vintage Apple products and memorabilia, of course, do not come cheap. Last year, a hand-written note from Jobs’s days at Atari was sold for $27,500.

UPDATE: The Apple 1 fetched $671,000 at auction.

Article by By Angela Moscaritolo, PCMag.com