Ultra-rare Apple-1 computer sells at auction for $500,000

The machine was described as the "holy grail" of electronics and computer tech collectors.

What you need to know

  • A very rare Apple-1 computer sold at auction this week.
  • The "Chaffey College" Apple-1 scored a whopping $500,000 at auction.

If you thought Apple's best MacBook, the new MacBook Pro (2021) was expensive with a starting price of $1,999, wait until you hear about a very rare Apple-1 computer built by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, that has just sold at an auction in California for $500,000.

The "Chaffey College" Apple-1 went under the hammer on Tuesday at California auctioneer John Moran's Postwar & Contemporary Art + Design auction. Whilst the sale price has been reported elsewhere at just $400,000, the preview page for the lot (above) and the lot's webpage both list the sale price as $500,000.

As we reported last week, the estimate for the device was between $400,000 and $600,000 dollars. From our report:

The "Chaffey College" Apple-1 lot is part of John Moran Auctioneers' 'Postwar & Contemporary Art + Design' auction scheduled to take place on November 9. The Apple-1 is so-called because it was bought by a professor of electronics at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, in 1976, who sold it on to his student in 1977. The lot reportedly includes the original NTI motherboard marked Apple Computer 1 / Palo Alto, CA Copyright 1976, original capacitors and regulators, an Apple Cassette Adapter, and the original ByteShop Apple-1 koa wood case with Datanetics Keyboard Rev D. It also comes with a 1986 Panasonic video monitor, and the Apple-1 Basic Manual, Operations Guide, and original MOS 6502 programming manual, as well as two Apple-1 software cassette tapes with period hand-written index card featuring the memory locations for the loading software.

Only 200 Apple-1 computers, designed by Steve Wozniak and assembled by Steve Jobs, were ever made. They were sold at the notorious price of $666.66 because of Woz's love of repeating numbers. This particular model was bought by a professor at Chaffey College who sold it to his student a year later. There are only six known examples of the coveted Koa wood case the Apple-1 is housed in, making this an ultra-rare collector's item.

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