An original, working Apple-1 computer, designed and hand-built by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, was sold at an auction today in Monrovia, California for $400,000. The same computer, of which only 200 were made in the early 1970s, was sold for $666.66 in 1976.
From Japan Today:
John Moran Auctioneers said the device, which was sold with a 1986 Panasonic video monitor, has only ever had two owners.
"It was originally purchased by an electronics professor at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, California, who then sold it to his student in 1977," a listing on the auction house's website said.
The Los Angeles Times reported the student — who has not been named — paid just $650 for it at the time.
While the $400,000 hammer price represents a healthy return on investment for that former student, it is a long way short of the record for such a device.
A working Apple-1 that came to the market in 2014 was sold by Bonhams for more than $900,000.
And from NPR:
"What we have with the Apple-1 is sort of like the holy grail of vintage computer collecting," says Corey Cohen, an Apple and technology historian. …
Apple-1s came as motherboards, with cases, keyboards and monitors sold separately. The unit features a case put on by The Byte Shop in Mountain View, Calif., which was the first store to sell Apple products. …
The Apple-1 was the first Apple product to be sold. It marked the start of the personal computer industry.
It was the first personal computer that came with a warranty. "It was guaranteed to work," Cohen says. "Prior to that, there were other computers. They were kits. They mostly didn't work when you got them."
They were originally sold for $666.66. "While that sounds pretty ominous, 666, it's because Steve Wozniak likes repeating numbers," Cohen tells Morning Edition. "Even his own phone number at the time had a repeating number."
He said this specific machine not only represents the start of Apple, but the ingenuity of Wozniak and Jobs and their vision "where a computer isn't something to be afraid of, a computer is something that can be part of your life and can help improve your life."