(Photo: Goldin)Another piece of Silicon Valley history is up on the auction block. People are currently submitting bids for an original Apple-1 PC, and this one has a serial number signed by Steve Jobs himself. As expected, it’ll fetch a king’s ransom, as the current bid is $270,000. It’s expected to go for much more than that when bidding ends on May 21st.
There are only a handful of Apple-1 PCs still floating around out there, so it’s not often they are up for auction. As noted by Macrumors, this model in particular is extremely rare. It’s been labeled a “first batch” machine. It’s ranked as the seventh machine built according to the Apple-1 registry. The auction site notes this is the only “first batch” computer that’s been up for auction in quite some time. Also, it’s the first Apple-1 ever sold with a serial number authenticated to have been written by Steve Jobs. The computer has been verified to be in working condition by Daniel Kottke. He was one of the first Apple employees, and was around when they were being built. The auction also includes a reproduction of the manual that’s signed by Apple co-founders Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. Naturally Woz wrote, “Think different!”
In addition to the motherboard, which comes without a case (those were the days), it includes all the original components. It includes a period-correct power supply made by Brittany McGannon. There’s also a Sanyo VM-4509 monitor, which is a 9″ diagonal monochromatic display. There’s a Datanetics keyboard, and a cassette interface. The auction site also says it includes a Prom A1, which we think is a diagnostic card that plugs into the motherboard and can run some utilities. Though the auction site notes this is a working computer, it sounds like it would be something of an adventure to actually get it up and running. It’s kind of like a well-heeled Apple hobbyist’s dream come true.
One of the reasons these Apple-1 computers are so rare is many of them were destroyed by Jobs and Wozniak themselves. They discontinued the Apple-1 after the Apple-II was released, and tried to get all the Apple-1 computers to be returned. They even offered special trade-in deals and discounts to entice previous buyers. The ones that were returned were destroyed, and there were only about 200 total ever made, and all were sold for the price of $666.66. It’s now thought that only about half of those still exist.
The last Apple-1 computer to go up for auction was the “Choffey college” model. It went up for auction in November of last year. It was named after being sold to a professor at said college, who sold it to a student. That particular PC was only one of six known to include a Koa Wood case for the motherboard. It ended up selling for $500,000 when the dust settled.