Rare working Apple-1 computer to hit auction block this month
German auctioneer pegs likely price at between $261K and $392K
Computerworld - A German auctioneer will put a working Apple-1 computer on the block later this month, and expects the handmade computer to fetch between $261,000 and $392,000 at Thursday's exchange rate.
The record price for an Apple-1 was $640,000, paid last year in an auction also run by Breker, of Cologne, Germany.
On May 25, Breker will try to sell a different Apple-1, one of only six in working condition, the auctioneer said.
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 an estimate last year by British auction house Sotheby's, only 50 survive.
Included in the May 25 lot is the original manual and a Jan. 19, 1978 letter signed by co-founder Steve Jobs. In the letter, written to the Apple-1's original owner, Fred Hatfield, Jobs offered to exchange Hatfield's Apple-1 for an Apple II 4K motherboard if Hatfield ponied up another $400.
The 4K -- as in "kilobytes" -- Apple II went on sale in June 1977 for $1,298.
An Apple-1 expert believed that the machine would sell in the estimated range.
"That is the Fred Hatfield machine listed in my registry," said Mike Willegal, an engineer with a major technology company who has identified and indexed 41 Apple-1 computers. In that list, Willegal tagged the Hatfield Apple-1 as "#37."
"It's been cleaned up and brought into operating condition," said Willegal in an email Thursday. "I have no clue about what will win it, but it seems like the European auctions seem to be gathering the highest bids, so it may well reach its estimated value."
Willegal was referring to the sale last November by Breker of another Apple-1. That computer went for approximately $640,000. The Apple-1 was also in working order, according to Willegal.
The Apple-1 sold late last year came from the stockpile of Austrian vintage computer collector Rudolf Brandstotter, who at the time owned at least four of the 37-year-old systems, as well as a host of other machines, including 18 Lisa computers, the 1983 precursor to the Macintosh.
Breker's latest Apple-1, listed as Lot 14, also sports a signature that reads "Woz," Wozniak's nickname.
The same Apple-1 was posted on Breker's website last November, apparently for the auction that resulted in the $640,000 sale of Brandstoetter's antique, but with a much lower estimated auction range of $156,000 to $260,000. It was unclear why it did not sell last year.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.
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 Hardware in Computerworld's Hardware Topic Center.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- 4 Customers who never have to refresh their PCs again This paper illustrates a common theme: the combination of desktop virtualization and thin client computing helps organizations deliver an up-to-date user experience more...
- Mobile Devices: The New Thin Clients Get essential guidance for understanding the role thin clients plus virtual desktops play in the enterprise today.
- Taking Windows Mobile on Any Device Taking Windows applications mobile has many advantages, but the process of identifying a solution is complex. Learn how to solve this complex problem...
- PaaS - Powering a New Era of Business IT Why PaaS has suddenly become relevant and irresistible to many organizations. Dive into the opportunities and considerations associated with using PaaS from an...
- Redefine Your IT Operations: Remote Office IT Has Never Been Simpler Join us to see why PC Pro named Dell PowerEdge VRTX the "2013 Server of the Year." PowerEdge VRTX may be just what...
- Four Myths of High-Productivity App Dev Debunked Debunk the main myths surrounding high-productivity application development and how both platforms have overcome them. All Hardware White Papers | Webcasts