Apple-1 Not Cheap, Even When It Doesn’t Work

An Apple-1 personal computer is expected to sell for anywhere between $79,000 to $126,500 at a Christie’s auction on October 9th. It is one of only 200 Apple-1s that were ever made and sold for $666.66 in 1976.



The Apple-1 was the first computer sold with a preassembled motherboard . However, it did not include a keyboard, monitor, power supply or case.

The computer is missing some of its DRAM (dynamic random-access memory) and is not in working condition, according to Mike Willegal, an engineer with a major technology company who has identified and indexed 43 Apple-1 computers.  Even if it is sold for $79,000, you would realize an annual return of more than 14%.  A pretty great investment.

While the price might seem like a whole lot of money for something that doesn’t even work, you have to compare it to the prices of recently auctioned working Apple-1s. On June 15th, an Apple-1 sold for a record $374,500, nearly twice the top estimate of $180,000 and more than triple the low-ball prediction of $120,000. It is one of just six thought to still be in working condition. That shattered the previous record of $213,000 was set in November  2010 at an auction conducted by Christie’s in London.

The highest price paid for a piece of Apple history is $1.6 million paid by a Miami executive last year for the original contract that marked Apple’s founding. Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and the lesser-known Ron Wayne drew up the contract in April 1976.

Image: Christie’s Images Ltd.

About the Author

Judy Novotny

Judy is a computer veteran with 30 years of experience. She has owned everything from a TRS-80, Apple IIe and various Windows-based PCs. She is currently living in her Apple ecosystem at home consisting of an iPhone, iPad, iMac, MacBook, Apple TV, iPod nano and two Time Capsules. She is a fan of all things mobile since she got her first Palm Pilot in 1999. Check out her iPad app, Number Wizard, in the App Store. Follow her on Twitter @junovotech or at