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Uber-Rare Prototype ‘Apple Computer A’ Owned by Steve Jobs Goes Up For Auction

Uber-Rare Prototype ‘Apple Computer A’ Owned by Steve Jobs Goes Up For Auction

A prototype “Apple Computer A” Apple-1 computer that was owned by Steve Jobs has gone up for auction and is expected to fetch north of $500,000.

The hand-soldered printed circuit board was assembled by Steve Wozniak and was used by Steve Jobs to demonstrate the Apple-1 to Paul Terrell, who was the owner of The Byte Shop in Mountain View, California. The Byte Shop was the first retailer of the Apple-1 computer. Terrell originally ordered 50 fully assembled Apple-1 machines and sold them for $666.66 each.

The machine is listed as the number two machine on the Apple-1 Registry and was considered “lost” until it was authenticated by Apple-1 expert Corey Cohen.

As described by RR Auctions,  there is some damage to the board.

This prototype resided on the ‘Apple Garage’ property for many years before being given by Steve Jobs to its current owner approximately 30 years ago. At that time, Jobs had been ousted from Apple and was looking forward to the promise of NeXT and Pixar. The board’s present condition lends some insight into Jobs’s judgment of it: he saw the prototype not as something to be enshrined, but as something to be repurposed. Several of the ICs have been plucked from their sockets, as have the microprocessor and other components, presumably for use on early production Apple-1 Computers.

The board appears to have been damaged by pressure on the upper right, resulting in a crack that runs from adjacent to the power supply area above D12 down through the bottom of the board to the right of A15. The missing piece is presumed to have been discarded, but can be reimagined thanks to Paul Terrell’s photographs of the complete board. One of the distinguishing features of the “Apple Computer A” prototype was its use of three orange Sprague Atom capacitors, rather than the familiar ‘Big Blue’ capacitors used on the production Apple Computer 1.

The prototype has wording that reads “Apple Computer A,” is powered by a different processor, and it lacks the green protective coating on comparable Apple-1 computers.