California woman sends rare Apple I computer to recycling centre

The machine was one of only about 200 first-generation Apple computers, individually assembled by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ron Wayne in 1976

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The Independent Tech

A US recycling centre is looking for a woman who dropped off an old Apple computer that turned out to be worth $200,000 (£136,000).

The Apple I computer was in a box of electronics the woman had cleaned out of her garage after her husband died, according to Victor Gichun, a vice-president of Clean Bay Area, in California’s Silicon Valley. She did not leave her contact information and it was not until a few weeks later that workers opened the boxes to discover the highly collectible computer inside.

The machine was one of only about 200 first-generation Apple computers, individually assembled by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ron Wayne in 1976, and is regarded by technology experts as a collector’s item. In December, a fully functioning Apple I was sold by the auction house Christie’s for $365,000. “We really couldn’t believe our eyes. We thought it was fake,” Mr Gichun told the television station KNTV-TV.

The recycling company sold the Apple I for $200,000 to a private collector, and because the company gives 50 per cent of the revenue from items sold back to the original owner, Mr Gichun said he wanted to split the proceeds with the mystery donor, whom he said he will recognise. “I remember her. To prove who she is, I just need to look at her,” he said.

 

Clean Bay Area deals primarily with computers, lab equipment, testing kit and semiconductors. Although most of the hardware that comes through its doors is from local businesses, individuals do occasionally make donations – and this is by far the most valuable one they have seen.

The Apple I computer originally sold for $666, without a case, keyboard or screen, and had just 4KB of RAM compared to the modern Macbook’s 8GB – two million times more.

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