Apple-1 Computer Prototype Used by Steve Jobs Auctioned for Nearly $700,000

In context: In 1976, Steve Jobs used this prototype to demonstrate the Apple-1 computer to Paul Terrell, owner of one of the world’s first computer stores. Terrell then placed a purchase order for fifty Apple-1s. Had the prototype been in better condition, it could have set a new record amount paid for an Apple-1 computer, which currently sits at $905,000.

An anonymous San Francisco Bay Area collector just bought the only known Apple-1 prototype for $677,196 at auction. While we’ve seen Apple-1 computers sell for similar amounts at auction before, this one is particularly unique because it’s Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ prototype, used as a demo.

The Apple-1 was released in 1976 and was Apple’s very first product. It came with a MOS 6502 processor running at 1 MHz, a whopping 4 KB of RAM, and an optional cassette interface card that allowed users to store programs on audio tapes. It was originally priced at $666.66 (equivalent to around $3,460 today) as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak would have liked to repeat the numbers. Only around 200 units of the Apple-1 have been produced, of which 62 are still confirmed.

The prototype has an “Apple Computer A” engraving instead of the usual “Apple Computer 1” label and is said to have been soldered by hand by Wozniak. RR Auction said Woz’s “unusual ‘three-handed’ technique – wire in one hand, soldering iron in the other and solder held in his mouth – is evident in the tight ‘bubbles’ formed at the soldered connections “.

According to RR Auction, the prototype sat in the garage of Job’s childhood home (where he and Wozniak founded Apple) for a few years before giving it to a stranger about 30 years ago. Unfortunately the right side containing the Sprague Atom capacitors broke at some point and was lost.

At the same auction, a first-generation iPhone sealed in the original box sold for $35,414, while a 1971 high school yearbook signed by Jobs sold for $28,410.

In June, an original Apple-1 that had been refurbished to work perfectly sold for $340,100. The item is said to be unique because it is believed to be the only existing model with Wozniak’s signature on the Motorola 6502 processor.

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