The general malaise in the collectibles industry continued last week when one of only six known working Apple I computers sold for just US$355,000. Whilst this may seem a lot for a 40-year-old computer, it is the cheapest working Apple I computer to have sold in recent times, with working models having previously fetched $626,967 (€492,000), $664,261 (€513,660) and $905,000, which is the current world record.
At the dawn of the age of the personal computer, Apple Computer led the way, and its first product was the Apple I, which was demonstrated to the Homebrew Computer Club in Palo Alto, California in July 1976.
Apple founder Steve Wozniak attended the first meeting of the Homebrew Computer Club in 1975 and in his autobiography iWoz, he wrote, "After my first meeting, I started designing the computer that would later be known as the Apple I. It was that inspiring."
Apple was started the next year on April 1, 1976, with the first batch of these rudimentary computers assembled in Steve Jobs' garage. Following that demonstration in July, 1976, 50 units were sold to the Byte Shop (owned by Paul Terrell, one of the founders of the club), for US$500 each and retailing for $666.66. Apple went on to become the most valuable company in history.
Mike Willegald's Apple-1 Registry currently lists 66 extant Apple I computers, of which only six are known to be operational. This is one of them.
The Most Expensive Apple I computers ever sold
$905,000 | Sold by Bonhams New York | October 22, 2014
$664,261 (€513,660) | Sold by Auction Team Breker in Koln, Germany | May 25, 2013
Note: this computer was widely reported to have sold for $671,400
$626,967 (€492,000) | Sold by Auction Team Breker | November 2012
$389,000 (€246,000) | Sold by Auction Team Breker | November 16, 2013
$374,500 | Sold by Sotheby's in New York | June 15, 2012
$365,000 | Sold by Christies New York | July 9, 2013
$210,864 (GBP133,250) | Sold by Christies in London | November 23, 2010.