In 2007, a woman received a brand new iPhone from her generous friends after getting her first job. But she really liked her dumb phone and didn't want to switch phone plans, so she never even took the first generation iPhone out of its box. Cut to 16 years later, and Karen Green, thinking the relic was worth around $5,000, was stunned when she sold it at an auction for $63,356.40 – the most any vintage iPhone has ever received.
Louisiana-based auction house LCG Auctions, which specializes in pop culture collectibles, described the phone as a hot-ticket item for collectors and investors alike. It "presents magnificently, showcasing sharp corners front and back, rich color, and 'case fresh' features," it said.
Some of those notable features include the phone's 2-megapixel camera and web browser, and the "iconic" box with a life-size image of an iPhone with 12 icons on its touchscreen.
LCG Auctions founder Mark Montero told NPR over email that because original iPhones were expensive ($599 for an 8 GB model) and their future impact not yet known, virtually all were opened and used as intended.
"To discover an original first release model from 2007 still brand new with its factory seal intact is truly remarkable," he wrote. "The great story behind it is just icing on the cake!"
Bidding started at $2,500 and ratcheted up quickly during 27 rounds. Montero told CNN that there were 10 bidders competing for the phone, which ultimately went to an unnamed individual from the U.S.