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Original APPLE I sold for $374,500 !

An original Apple I computer was sold, with its cassette interface and its BASIC programming original manuals, for $374,500 at a rare auction organized by Sotheby’s last week. It is more than double the estimated price of $180,000.

This computer is one of the world’s last functioning Apple 1 still in working conditions. Sotheby’s estimated that only 50 Apple I survive today, and on those 50, only 6 are in real good operating conditions.

Apple company only build about 200 of those first computers, which were sold in 1976 for $666.66. Steve Jobs originally wanted to sell it for $777.77, but Wozniak insisted that this price was to high, so they agreed on $666.66.

Apple I was developped, not in a garage as one may thought, but in the bedroom of Steve Wozniak’s home in Los Altos.  Ron Wayne wrote the Apple-1 Operation Manual at his home. and Steve Jobs advertised the Apple I to friends and family. Each of the devices was then assembled by hand by Steve Wozniak, and his handful of original employees, and didn’t include a monitor or a keyboard.

The Apple 1 came with 4KB of RAM (expandable to 8k, 65k with clever hack), and a MOS Technology 6502 processor running at 1.023 MHz. Any standard ASCII keyboard could be installed (as shown below), and any monitor.


According to the BBC,  “Sotheby’s said there was a battle between two parties for the item which also included the original manuals. A set of bids were executed by the auctioneer on behalf of an absentee collector, but a telephone bidder proved more persistent and eventually clinched the sale.

Sotheby’s has not revealed the identities of the winners of either auction, but we know that the hand-built piece of computing history from 1976 was sold to the lucky phone bidder.

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