Collectors’ love affair with the surviving models of the Apple 1 computer might be cooling, if last week’s German auction of a working Apple 1 is any indication. The fully-working model went for $101,325 – quite a bit lower than expected.
German auction house Team Breker, which specializes in technical antiques, noted the Apple-1 was being consigned by its original owner, an unidentified computer engineer from Berkeley, California. Said to be the “best-preserved example of an Apple-1 computer to have appeared on the market,” the computer was sold in full working condition, and is believed to be one of only eight remaining working units left in existence.
The unit is said to be 14th on Mike Willegal’s Apple 1 registry, with serial number 01-0073 bearing the original NTI sign.
The auction also included the original manual, circuit diagrams, and a receipt for the purchase of the motherboard and cassette interface. An original letter from Apple customer care is also included, which advised the original customer that they could not upgrade to the Apple II.
The paperwork also includes a collection of notes taken during phone calls with Apple co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1977.
The computer was expected to auction for between $190,000 and $320,000. Instead, the winning bid was $101,325. The buyer will pay out a total of $149,390 for the package, including fees.
Owner John Dryden, a Californian software engineer, admitted that letting go of a piece of computer history was difficult. “(The Apple 1) was one of the first opportunities for someone to possess a real computer,” he said. “I’d been working with computers for a while but they were huge.”
Originally selling for $666 over 40 years ago, the computer is one of just eight still in working order. It is believed there are only around 50 to 60 Apple-1 computers still in existence.