Prototype Apple-1 Computer Sells for $677,196 at Auction

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A rare Apple-1 computer prototype was just auctioned off(Opens in a new window) for $677,196, or about 1,000 times more than the hardware’s original cost. 

The winning bid was placed by an unnamed collector in the San Francisco Bay Area, who wishes to remain anonymous, according to RR Auction. 

Only around 200 Apple-1 computers were produced. Originally costing $666, they have since been auctioned off for huge sums. But the model sold through RR Auction is particularly unique because it was the prototype Apple co-founder Steve Jobs used as a demo back in 1976. 

Apple-1 prototype


(Credit: RR Auction)

The prototype was shown to Paul Terrell, the owner of Byte Shop in Mountain View, California, one of the first computer stores in the world, which sold the Apple-1. The device is also engraved with the words “Apple Computer A,” instead of the standard Apple Computer 1 labeling.

RR Auction confirmed the prototype’s authenticity by comparing it to old Polaroid photos Terrell snapped of the computer in 1976, which were later published(Opens in a new window) in Time Magazine. Apple computer historian Corey Cohen(Opens in a new window) also confirmed the machine’s legitimacy through a 13-page report. 

Apple 1 computer


(Credit: RR Auction)

According to RR Auction, the prototype sat in the garage(Opens in a new window) of Jobs’ childhood home for many years before he gave it to an unnamed person, who decades later decided to auction it off. Unfortunately, a portion of the circuit board broke, resulting in missing “Sprague Atom capacitors.”

The auction for the prototype Apple-1 started last month, and initially attracted bids reaching past $200,000. However, RR Auction projected the computer would eventually fetch bids reaching at least $500,000 —a prediction that proved to be correct. 

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During the same auction, a “sealed, new in-box” Apple iPhone sold for $35,414, while a Steve Jobs signed tax-exemption card from 1976 was auctioned off for $32,619.

For more, check out 45 Years Ago, Apple Kickstarted the Personal Computer Industry about the Apple II, the first system even non-techies wanted.

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