Sotheby’s to Auction Rare Working Apple-1 Computer and Handwritten Steve Jobs Memo

Apple-1 ComputerIf your lifelong dream has always been to own a piece of Apple history then get your life savings in order because your chance is closer than you might think. Sotheby’s is planning on putting a piece of Apple, and computer, history up for sale next month, which includes one of only six working Apple-1 personal computers. The auction house has also estimated that the motherboard alone will sell for nearly $180,000.

In addition to the working Apple-1, a memo handwritten and signed by Steve Jobs during his time at Atari is also up for auction. The Apple-1 consists of a circuit board hand-built by Steve Wozniak and was first on sale in July 1976 for $666.66. Only around 200 units were actually produced and, according to Sotheby’s catalog listing, there are only about 50 that still exist today with only 6 of those 50 still working.

According to Engineer Mike Willegal, “That’s probably a pretty good estimate of original Apple-1s that have been operated in the last four or five years. If a unit hasn’t been powered up in more than five or 10 years, it probably shouldn’t be counted as currently working. These old computers tend to fail over time, even if they are just sitting on a shelf.”

The Apple-1 could also be considered the birth of the custom computer due to the fact that the Apple-1 was only a fully-assembled circuit board and didn’t come with a case, power supply, keyboard or monitor. Users had to provide all of that themselves, naturally leading to some pretty interesting setups.

Sotheby’s has estimated that the motherboard will sell between $120,000 and $180,000 when it goes up for auction. The lot will also include a cassette interface and a plethora of manuals, including a rare BASIC user’s manual. In addition to the circuit board, Steve Jobs’ memo on game design will also go up for auction.

The memo includes a one-page addendum hand-written by jobs. The memo “was meant to improve the functionality and fun of World Cup, a coin arcade game with four simple buttons and an evolution from Atari’s Pong game,” according to Sotheby’s. The memo will also feature three original circuit diagrams that Jobs drew by hand in pencil.

Source: PC World – Rare Working Apple-1 Computer to Be Auctioned by Sotheby’s

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