A RARE Apple I computer is set to go up for auction this week at Christie's with a starting bid of $300,000.
Early speculation suggests that the vintage system could bring up to $500,000 or more, like another Apple I did recently in a German auction.
Built in 1976, the Apple I was the first system built by the startup co-founded by the late Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Operating out of a garage in Silicon Valley, the pair hand built the systems and sold the units as a motherboard to hobbyist users at a starting price of $666.66 due to the co-founders' affinity for repeating digits. Users had to provide their own casing and components for the system, including the power supply and display hardware.
"This is a piece of history that made a difference in the world, it's where the computer revolution started," the computer's owner Ted Perry told the Associated Press. He has kept it stashed away in a cardboard box at his home outside Sacramento, California since the late '70s when he acquired it.
Perry said he obtained his Apple I in 1979 as a secondhand item he saw advertised. He paid nothing for it, as it was a swap with the owner. "I traded some other computer equipment I had for the Apple I," he said.
At the time of its launch, Apple sold an estimated 200 Apple I computers. Selling modestly, the proceeds and experience gained from the project helped to set the foundation for the Apple II, the personal computer that helped kick off the home computing revolution and made Apple a household name. Over time, the first Apple computer became a collector's item as Apple built itself into one of the most successful companies of all time.
Earlier auctions of Apple I computers have reached six figures as collectors sought to obtain what is now considered a piece of computing history.
An Apple I computer was sold last month for a record $671,400 by a German auction house, breaking a previous record of $640,000 set in November. Auction house Sotheby's also sold one last year for $374,500. µ