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“It’s an incredibly rare commodity,” said Tim Bajarin, chairman of Creative Strategies, a technology research firm with deep knowledge of the industry. “You can trace the growth of the PC industry to the Apple-1.”
The computer, which originally sold for about $666, is expected to sell for about $200,000 at an auction that runs through Aug. 24. An Apple-1 prototype sold last year for nearly $700,000.
“Before this, the idea of having a personal computer was totally outrageous,” Bajarin said.
About 200 were manufactured in Steve Jobs’ garage in Los Altos, California, in 1976 and 1977 and about 175 of them were sold, RR’s Executive Vice President Bobby Livingston said.
“It is the legendary computer that launched Apple,” he said.
Jobs approached Paul Terrell, owner of The Byte Shop in Mountain View, California, and he agreed to buy 50 Apple-1 computers, but only if they were fully assembled, according to RR Auction. The Apple-1 thus became one of the first personal computers that did not require soldering by the purchaser, RR said, although it did not come with a power supply, case, keyboard or monitor.
It was followed by the introduction of the Apple-2 in 1977, which revolutionized the personal computing industry.
The Apple-1 up for auction was signed “Woz” by Wozniak at an event at Bryant University in 2017. The signature “adds to the desirability,” Livingston said.
It was acquired used by the owner in 1980 at a computer hobbyist show in Framingham, Massachusetts, and was used throughout the 1980s. It was brought to an operational state earlier this year by Apple expert Corey Cohen, the auction house said.
The auction also includes Apple company check No. 2 signed by Jobs and Wozniak and dated March 19, 1976.