Wooden keyboard, no access to app store: the Apple-1, yours for £250,000

The sale of one of the 46 surviving Steve Jobs computers is tipped to break new records

Berlin

The computer is 37 years old, has a keyboard set in wood and it is being offered for sale along with a batch of ancient typewriters and a 1905 toy battleship.

Yet Apple’s pioneering Apple-1 computer could fetch well in excess of £250,000 when it is put up for auction in Germany today.

The Apple -1 caused a sensation last November when one of the 46 examples of the 1976 computer still in existence, was sold for a staggering $640,000 (£420,000) at Cologne’s Breker auction house. The sum surpassed a previous record of $374,000 set at Sotheby’s in New York five months earlier.

Uwe Breker, who runs the German auction house which specialises in vintage toys and office equipment, conservatively estimated yesterday that the latest Apple -1 to be put on the market would fetch anything from $260,000 to $400,000. However he did not rule out the possibility of another record. “We will see,” he said.

Mr Breker did not disclose the seller, only revealing that it was a young American who works for a software company who brought in the computer wrapped in a blanket.

Computer industry experts struggle to explain the growing demand and corresponding astronomical rise in the price of original Apple-1s. They point out that they were fetching around $2,000 at computer fairs in Silicon Valley’s heartland just a decade ago.Earlier this week, The New York Times attributed the cause to the “economics of scarcity and techno-fetishism, magnified by the mystique surrounding Apple – one of the largest and most profitable corporations in the world”.

Computer historians stress that the Apple-1 was a pioneering device which helped computing make the transition from being a nerd’s hobby into the huge commercial enterprise it is today. “It is Apple’s creation story,” said Dag Spicer, the curator of the Computer History Museum in California, “It is the physical artefact that traces this incredible success to its origins.”

The Apple-1 was first shown to the public at California’s Homebrew Computer Club in 1977. An estimated 175 to 200 of the rudimentary computers were produced in the family garage of the late Apple founder and visionary Steve Jobs who died in 2011.

The computer was designed by Stephen G Wozniak, Apple’s hardware-hacking engineer.  All that the Apple-1 offered was a computer motherboard and clusters of chips. The device could be used to run primitive computer games and write basic programmes. It had a mere 4 kilobytes of memory compared to today’s MacBook Air which has over 4 million.

Working examples in top condition and with original documentation are the Apple-1’s which have so far fetched the best prices at auction. It is also important that the device has a story. The computer on offer to bidders in Cologne today would appear to fit all the necessary criteria. It was first owned by a major league baseball player called Fred Hatfield.

Mr Breker said the documents included a letter to Mr Hatfield signed by Jobs, offering an Apple II and a $400 cheque for his Apple-1. For some undisclosed reason Mr Hatfield declined.

News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Sport
world cup 2014A history of the third-place play-offs
News
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Sport
The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
arts + entsReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

    C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

    £60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

    PHP Web Developer (HTML5, CSS3, Jenkins, Vagrant, MySQL)

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: PHP Web Develo...

    JavaScript Developer (Angular, Web Forms, HTML5, Ext JS,CSS3)

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: JavaScript Dev...

    Day In a Page

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice