Gene Roddenberry's Mac to be auctioned

Every now and then, something will pop up in an auction that sets geeks drooling. Whether it's an undiscovered Macintosh prototype or a famous movie prop, the chance to own a piece of history can drive us to extremes. But the combined fanaticism of Apple devotees and sci-fi fans will likely have more destructive potential than the Genesis device when this relic shows up on sensors: an early Macintosh Plus, given by Apple Computer Inc. to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.

Auction house Profiles in History will accept bids on this item and other Hollywood memorabilia on Oct. 9 both in California and online. Lot #626 was given to Roddenberry in 1986, two years after the first model Mac's debut and one year before the premiere of Star Trek: The Next Generation. With an original price tag of $2,599, this particular Mac is estimated at only $800 – $1200 — a sum that's accessible to serious collectors and amateur hobbyists alike. But you can count on bidding to warp past all reasonable predictions before you can say "Make it so."

Star Trek and Apple enthusiasts are some of the most rabid fans there are, and possibly the most affluent, if they can afford the expensive laptops and intricate convention costumes. Their propensity for extravagant artifacts has a history of exceeded expectations: An original Apple-1, of which 200 production models were made, can sell for $15,000 — more, if it has celebrity status associated with it, like inventor Steve Wozniak's autograph. Similarly, Christie's auction house estimated the model Enterprise used in The Next Generation (NCC-1701-D) at no more than $35,000. It ultimately sold for $576,000.

Gene Roddenberry's Mac comes with a letter of authenticity from Gene's son, Rod. No word on if the hardware has been expanded beyond its original one megabyte of RAM, or even what use its original owner had for it — though I suspect that any accessories, such as a hard drive of Star Trek script drafts, are not included. Despite such limitations, in the right hands, even a 1986 Macintosh can work miracles:

Good luck to all bidders! May your bidding be logical and prosperous.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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