Watch YouTube star unbox a sealed iPhone 1.0 he bought for $40,000

Only six million first-generation iPhones were produced, and finding one in its original sealed box is extremely rare. Typically selling for tens of thousands of dollars, the highest recorded price for one is $63,000. In a recent YouTube video, Marques Brownlee, who has almost 17 million subscribers, purchased one for $40,000 and opened it for his audience, (potentially making much more than the purchase price in revenue).

The auction house provided X-rays of the sealed box's contents to confirm that the phone and accessories were genuine. However, who really knows whether the phone had ever been used. One piece of evidence is that when the phone's serial number was entered on Apple's website, it indicated that the phone had not yet been activated. While this confirms that the phone had never been used, it doesn't prove that the box had never been opened, the phone handled, and then re-shrink wrapped by a dishonest seller. This raises an interesting philosophical question: if no one can tell if a shrink-wrapped iPhone has never been touched before, what's the difference, and why should anyone care? "This is very much a trust exercise," says Brownlee.

The auction house shipped the iPhone to Brownlee in a large wooden crate. In the video, he unscrewed the crate's fasteners and opened a series of insulated boxes, like a Matryoshka doll, until he reached the center and found the prize. One other clue that the phone had never been used was that the shrink wrap appeared old, as expected after 16 years. This doesn't necessarily mean that someone couldn't make new shrink wrap appear old. When Brownlee removed the shrink wrap, he found the contents of the box: the phone, a charging dock, a power brick, a charging cable, and headphones.

As someone who bought the first-generation iPhone on the day it went on sale, seeing the original phone and accessories in their original sealed box brought back a flood of memories and nostalgia.

[Thumbnail image: Marques Brownlee/YouTube]