Given enough time and a solid providence, even a broken prototype computer gains value. Recently, the prototype Apple-1 used by company co-founder Steve Jobs to kickstart the budding company sold at auction for $677,196.
RR Auctions conducted the auction of items owned by Charles Mann on August 18. This prototype of the computer that started Apple on the way to tech dominance was expected to draw more than $500,000. Why was this particular prototype so important? The auction description notes:
Historic early prototype example of the computer that started it all—Steve Jobs’s own Apple-1 Computer prototype, hand-soldered by Steve Wozniak on a unique “Apple Computer A” printed circuit board. In 1976, Jobs used this prototype to demonstrate the Apple-1 to Paul Terrell, owner of The Byte Shop in Mountain View, California, one of the first personal computer stores in the world. The demo resulted in Apple Computer’s first big order and changed the course of the company—what Jobs and Woz had conceived as part of a $40 do-it-yourself kit for hobbyists became, at Terrell’s request, a fully assembled personal computer to be sold at $666.66. Wozniak later placed Terrell’s purchase order for fifty Apple-1s in perspective: ‘That was the biggest single episode in all of the company’s history. Nothing in subsequent years was so great and so unexpected.’Auction Lot Description for item #5006, RRAuction.com
While it gathered the most attention and money, the Apple-1 prototype wasn’t the only item sold at auction. Five documents signed by Steve Jobs brought in a lot of moolah. A signed Apple Computer check sold for $31,285, a 1971 yearbook page went for $28,410, and a 1976 autographed document fetched $32,619.
Sealed Original iPhone and iPod
Want to make some big money in another 20 years or so? When the “next big thing” comes from Apple, like the Reality headset, buy one and leave it sealed up. You should be able to sell it at auction for quite a bit more than what you paid! As an example, two items were auctioned that both brought in a lot more money than they were originally purchased for.
An unused, unopened original iPhone circa 2007 sold for $35,414 — quite a bit more than its original $499 (8GB model). An original iPod from 2001 — including those now-iconic white earbuds — sold at auction for $25,000 in its sealed package.