Sold: Apple's first computer fetches $355K

By Allen Cone  |  Updated June 20, 2017 at 7:29 PM
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June 20 (UPI) -- Apple's first computer -- the Apple-1 Personal Computer built in 1976 -- was auctioned off for $355,000 last week.

Christie's New York sold the computer to an unidentified buyer.

The computer was built by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs in Jobs' garage in the Silicon Valley in Los Altos, Calif.

It launched Apple into the personal computer industry and led to desktops, laptops, tablets, cellphones and watches. Forty-one years later, Apple is the world's most valuable brand at $170 billion, according to Forbes in May.

This auctioned computer was first acquired by Frank VanGilluwe III and sold to Andrew "Zack" Zacharias for $300 on May 1978.

The computer model was originally priced at $666.66. It was advertised a "truly complete microcomputer system on a single PC board... an extremely powerful computer system that can be used for anything from developing programs to playing games or running BASIC. .. Since the Apple comes fully assembled, tested & burned-in and has a complete power supply on-board, initial set-up is essentially 'hassle-free' and you can be running within minutes."

Jobs and Wozniak secured an order for 50 computers from Paul Terrell, owner of the Byte Shop, a small local retail outlet in Palo Alto, Calif.

The Apple-1 systems were sold without casing, power supply, keyboard or monitor, but offered a pre-assembled motherboard, something its competitors did not offer.

Approximately 200 Apple-1s were built, but only a quarter of those still exist, as recorded in Mike Willegald's online Apple-1 Registry. It offered 8K bytes of RAM in 16-pin 4K memory chips.

Jobs and Wozniak officially discontinued the Apple-1 in October 1977. They offered discounts and trade-ins to encourage the owners to return their machines. These were destroyed and only a few Apple-1s survived. Fifteen are in public collections, including the Smithsonian Museum of Art and other museums of technology or science worldwide.

In previous auctions they fetched $671,400 in 2013 and for $905,000 to The Henry Ford Museum in 2014.

Jobs and Wozniak developed the far more advanced Apple-II that first sold on June 10, 1977, with production of more advanced versions sold until 1993. The mass-marked Mactinosh was introduced on1984 with an integral graphical user interface and mouse

A 1944 Four-Rotor Enigma Machine, which was used to decrypt German messages in World War II, sold for $547,500 in a Christy's New York auction that ended earlier this month.

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