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Thread: Working Apple I Computer and Steve Jobs' 1979 Atari Letter Auctioned

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  1. #1
    MMi Staff Writer Akshay Masand's Avatar
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    Default Working Apple I Computer and Steve Jobs' 1979 Atari Letter Auctioned


    The Auction House, Sotheby’s, recently sold two rare items of Apple history in a functioning 1976 version of the company’s first motherboard and an unrelated note written by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs from his time at Atari. The price of the items ended up selling over double the already high price set by Sotheby’s in the first place.

    The Apple I motherboard auction, initially estimated to sell for between $120,000 to $180,000, ended up selling for $374,500 to more than double Sotheby’s high-side sale price while Jobs’ note managed to rake in $27,500 to beat its estimate by over $12,000. An anonymous phone bidder won the lot after a heated battle with an absentee party represented by the auctioneer.



    For those of you who didn’t know, only 200 copies of the Apple I, originally called the Apple Computer I, were made and Sotheby’s believes that Friday’s lot was one of six known working models of the approximately 50 that survived. Originally built by co-founder Steve Wozniak, the Apple I was sold to company friends and through vendors for $666.66 in 1979 without a keyboard, monitor, or power supply. The lack of case prompted a multitude of homemade enclosures crafted from wood and other materials.

    The auction catalog mentioned the following:

    "The Apple Computer. A truly complete microcomputer system on a single PC board." When Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs presented the Apple I Computer to the Homebrew Computer Club in 1976, it was dismissed by everyone but Paul Terrell, the owner of a chain of stores called Byte Shop. Terrell ordered 50 computers for $500 apiece, insisting that the circuit boards come fully assembled rather than as DIY kits similar to the Altair, and Jobs and Woz managed to produce the requisite computers in 30 days. They continued production, immediately creating 50 additional Apple I's to sell to friends and an additional 100 to sell through vendors, at a retail price of $666.66, a number that garnered complaints among conservative Christians, but provided a lucrative 33% markup.

    As the first ready-made personal computer, the Apple I signaled a new age in which computing became accessible to the masses. The interface of circuitry and software that Woz created enabled users to type letters with "a humantypable keyboard instead of a stupid, cryptic front panel with a bunch of lights and switches," as he explained to the Homebrew Computer Club
    The motherboard included the Apple I Cassette Interface with manual, the computer’s Operation Manual with eight circuit diagrams and a Preliminary Apple BASIC Users Manual with warranty information.



    On the other hand, the partially-handwritten letter from Steve Jobs dates back to when he was working for Atari in 1974 and he speaks about the company’s World Cup soccer game. While most of the note is typed and contains technical improvement suggestions, Jobs stamped the bottom of the manuscript with the “All-One Farm Design” name in homage to the commune he requested at the time. He also marked it with his home address and the Buddist mantra “gate gate paragate parasangate Bodhi svahdi” which translates to “Going, going, going on beyond, always going on beyond, always becoming Buddha.”

    It’s always interesting to see a piece of history and the prices at which some of the items sell for. This isn’t the first auction to bring in more money than expected though. If more items arise, future auctions are likely to follow the trend.

    Source: Sothebys

    Twitter: @AkshayMasand

  2. #2
    iPhone? More like MyPhone
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    That's a lot of money..

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    Livin the iPhone Life
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    lol how much you wanna bet the person that won the bid was an apple executive.

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    iPhone? More like MyPhone
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrteacup View Post
    lol how much you wanna bet the person that won the bid was an apple executive.
    it'd be interesting to find out for sure if it was, lol.

  5. #5
    iPhone? More like MyPhone Alluziion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrteacup View Post
    lol how much you wanna bet the person that won the bid was an apple executive.
    Or Wozniak!

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    Livin the iPhone Life sziklassy's Avatar
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    Seeing this sort of thing selling for far more tahn say a signed document from the revolutionary war with far more historical significance is really quite sad.

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