Apple-1 offered in £100,000 auction

November 12, 2010 // 2:23 p.m.

Tags: #apple #apple-1 #apple-1-auction #auction #christies #microcomputer #mits-altair-8800 #retro #steve-jobs #steven-jobs #steve-wozniak

If you think that Apple's hardware commands a hefty price premium, you'll probably want to look away: an Apple-1 is expected to sell at auction for more than £100,000.

The machine, one of of a very small number of surviving machines hand-built by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and friends to meet initial demand for the $666.66 microcomputer, doesn't exactly stand up to a comparison with a Mac Pro - or even an iPad - featuring just 8KB of RAM and a somewhat dated 6502 microprocessor.

The fairly basic specifications are forgivable, however, when you take a look at the markings on the rear of the gadget: this Apple was built in 1976.

The retro machine is expected to sell for between £100,000 and £150,000 when the auction opens on the 23 November at Christie's King Street auction house in London. But a buyer will get a lot of extras if they choose to shell out on the device that started Apple's computing business.

As well as the machine itself, the auction includes a cassette interface card, a C-60 cassette containing a copy of the BASIC programming language, various manuals, circuit diagrams, and the original printed wrappers that the machine came in, along with the original receipt, made out to a salesman called Steven.

Perhaps more impressively for the true Apple aficionado, the auction includes a typed letter signed 'Steven Jobs,' addressed to the original owner of the machine.

Even if you're no particular Apple fan, the Apple-1 machine has an important place in the history of personal computing: it was the first machine sold with a fully assembled motherboard and it represented the first Plug-and-Play machine for enthusiasts wanting to enter the world of computing. This was despite the fact that buyers were still expected to supply their own keyboard, monitor, power supply, and case. Despite the bare-bones nature of the Apple-1, it was a significant step forward from the market leader at the time, the MITS Altair 8800 self-assembly microcomputer.

More information, and the option to place a bid if you're feeling flush this close to Christmas, is available over on the Christie's Lot Finder.

Are you pleased to see such a well-preserved piece of computing history come up for sale, or flabbergasted at the incredibly high estimate Christie's has placed on the lot? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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