Rare Apple-1 computer going under the hammer could fetch $600,000

You thought the new MacBook Pro was expensive...

What you need to know

  • A rare Apple-1 computer is going up for auction next week.
  • The 'Chaffey College' computer was bought by a professor at the school in 1976 before selling it on to a student.
  • The bidding starts at $200,000 and could go a lot higher.

An ultra-rare Apple-1 computer is going to auction in California next week and could fetch up to $600,000.

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.

As noted by the listing, the Apple-1 was designed by Steve Wozniak and assembled and tested by Steve Jobs. Only 200 were ever made, 175 at the price of $666.66. The Koa wood case is now very rare and expensive, and this lot is only one of six known examples in existence. The Apple-1 lot has gone under "an extensive authentication, restoration, and evaluation process by one of the foremost experts in the field, who inspected all components and generated a full condition report for the Apple-1."

A touch higher than the original asking price, the bidding starts at $200,000, with an estimate putting the value between $400,000 and $600,000. Thanks to the starting price, bidding will be done in increments of $25,000. Should the price pass $500,000, that jumps to $50k.

Vintage Apple hardware is always a hot seller at auction. An Apple II manual signed by Steve Jobs was bought earlier this year by Colts owner Jim Irsay for an eye-watering $787k. An Apple-I sits on eBay listed at $1.5 million, where it has remained since it was first listed in 2019.

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