Rare working Apple-1 computer sells for record $374,500
Sotheby's also auctions four-page Steve Jobs-penned memo from 1974 for $28K
Computerworld - A 36-year-old Apple-1 personal computer, one of just six thought to be in working condition, sold for a record $374,500 at a New York auction today.
Also sold by Sotheby's Friday: A memo written by former Apple CEO Steve Jobs during his time at video game maker Atari.
The gavel price for the Apple-1, which included the buyer's premium -- the commission owed to auctioneer Sotheby's -- was nearly twice the top estimate of $180,000 and triple the low-ball prediction of $120,000.
It was a record for an Apple-1, the first computer from the company co-founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. The previous record of $213,000 was set in late 2010 at an auction conducted by Christie's in London.
Friday's price was 76% higher than the 2010 Apple-1 sale.
Sotheby's did not reveal the name of the buyer of either the Apple-1 or the memo, and did not reply to questions Friday. The BBC, however, reported that a telephone bidder won the auction for the Apple-1.
The Apple-1, a circuit board hand-built by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, was made in 1976, and sold at the time for $666.66. About 200 units were produced, but by Sotheby's estimate, only 50 survive. Six, including the one sold today, are known to be in working condition.
Included with the Apple-1 lot was an original cassette interface -- cassette tapes were used to store programs and data -- and several manuals, including a rare BASIC user's manual.
The four-page Jobs-authored memo sold for $27,500, also significantly higher than the auction house's preliminary estimate of $10,000 to $15,000.
That memorandum and an accompanying one-page addendum were written by Jobs in 1974 during a short stint with game-maker Atari, and included his suggestions for improvements on World Cup, a coin arcade game of the time. The lot featured three original circuit diagrams drawn by Jobs in pencil and the one-page hand-written addendum.
Although both the Apple-1 and the memo sold for well above their estimates, neither came close to the $1.6 million paid by a Miami executive last year for the original contract that marked Apple's founding. Jobs, who died in October 2011, Wozniak and the lesser-known Ron Wayne drew up the contract in April 1976.
Sotheby's also handled the sale of the Apple contract.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Apple Retro Watch
- Sold! Antique Apple-1 brings a record $671K
- Rare working Apple-1 computer to hit auction block this month
- Inoperable Apple-1 may fetch $126K at Christie's auction
- Rare working Apple-1 computer sells for record $374,500
- Hands on: Building an MP3 player for an Apple II computer
- Visual tour: Apple's greatest hits under Steve Jobs
- Apple-1 goes for $213K in Christie's auction
- Christie's hopes to snare $242K for 34-year-old Apple computer
- Wozniak recalls role of memory in Apple's early days
- Face-off: 1979 Apple Graphics Tablet vs. 2010 Apple iPad
Read more about Macintosh in Computerworld's Macintosh Topic Center.
- Mission Critical: Managing Mobile Applications & Content Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices have become embedded in enterprise processes, thanks to the consumerization of IT and a new generation of...
- Securing Mobility, From Device to Network At one time, the process of managing and securing mobile devices and applications was fairly straightforward. Most organizations worried about one application (email)...
- Planning for Mobile Success Many organizations are seeing clear and quantifiable benefits from the deployment of mobile technologies that provide access to data and applications any time,...
- The Challenges and Opportunities of Mobile Application Development Nearly all business users now demand mobile devices--their own or company-owned--along with anywhere access to corporate applications and data. What turns mobile devices...
- Keep Servers Up and Running and Attackers in the Dark An SSL/TLS handshake requires at least 10 times more processing power on a server than on the client. SSL renegotiation attacks can readily...
- On Demand: Mastering the Art of Mobile Content Management Mobile device usage in the enterprise has skyrocketed, and it continues to escalate. IT must answer to users who demand access to their... All Macintosh White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!