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back to article Mystery buyer scoops working Apple 1 at auction

A working Apple 1 computer has broken records at auction, with a mystery buyer shelling out $374,500 for the system, with a handwritten memo from Steve Jobs also selling for well over the guide price. The items were auctioned off by Sotheby's and nearly doubled the expected guide price for the items. The Apple 1, one of only a …

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Paris Hilton

HOORAY

APPLE FINALLY SELLING COMPUTERS WITHOUT THAT UGLY ASSED CASE SIGN ME UP FOR ONE

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not sure about the case

But, the Apple I was the unit that when you look at the engineering drawings looked just like an HP 2640A Communications Terminal, from HP of course.

Gee, wonder how those boys got those ideas?

Of course, the valley was all about sharing at the time and HP was not much interested in toy computers. But, they did put out some of the best communications terminals. They even had an early Intel chip. The 8008 as I recall.

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Devil

Re: not sure about the case

Quote: But, the Apple I was the unit that when you look at the engineering drawings looked just like an HP 2640A Communications Terminal, from HP of course.

Rubbish. Apple was mentioned in the bible before electricity was harnessed. Therefore Apple own everything electrical and everything that is mentioned after Genesis. That tree grew from Apples fore-runner you know. Not long before Apple plant a copyright infringement notice on everything in existence with an option to pay royalties. About time you paid for that oxygen that Apple trees develop you know!

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<Obligatory ridiculously expensive Apple product comment>

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What a fucking ridiculous...

...purchase price paid by a member of the 1% for something that has no real value.

He (I rather doubt it was a she) would have been better dropping all that dosh into some legitimate charity somewhere.

I despair of the greedy bastards in this world who understand the value of money but not the definition of "enough".

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Re: What a fucking ridiculous...

Many people don't like giving to charity, whether they are rich or poor.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What a fucking ridiculous...

Whereas I dispair all the people who know the value of hard work, but think everyone else should be doing it for them.

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Happy

Re: What a fucking ridiculous...

Well, money has a very variable value according to how much you have, just accept that fact.

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Mushroom

Re: What a fucking ridiculous...

Does all your disposable income go toward "some legitimate charity", or does unreasonable salary and unfair leisure expenditure happen to begin precisely at the line of your own income and own frivolous fun?

The $2k you might spend on a computer is more than many people in India will make in half a lifetime - significantly more, relatively speaking, then the 1%er-in-question's expenditure on... well, a computer.

If I were an Indian making $300/year or so (a great many make less), would it be unreasonable of me to ask why it's OK for you to blow seven years' income on a piece of electronics, rather than spending it on some legitimate charity?

That 1% number is useful for comparing within the United States, and broadly in the rich world in general, probably.

But what if you're counting the other five billion people on the planet? Well, in that case, your internet, computers, televisions, medical care, housing with heat and running water and a toilet, car, roads, and protection from armed thugs who machete you for being the wrong ethnicity, are the real luxuries. Welcome to the 1%, you greedy bastard.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What a fucking ridiculous...

So basically, that's managment?

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FAIL

Re: What a fucking ridiculous...

If I were that Indian, rather than trying to control people in other countries, I'd be working to change the Indian system of government to one that would free me to be able to earn enough to buy my own Apple I.

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Thumb Up

Re: What a fucking ridiculous...

> that would free me to be able to earn

This. Down with the manufactured class envy pull-everyone-down-to-my-needy-level-of-poor socialists.

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Unhappy

Re: What a fucking ridiculous...

Mr. Monsters, you never cease to amaze me. It takes some chutzpa to see a guy defending someone's decision to spend 300k on a toy, and then accuse him of being a filthy socialist.

Was there something unclear about what I wrote, or are people just physically unable to comprehend any statement outside a left-vs-right context, jamming the opinion into one box or the other and then savaging or hailing the writer as appropriate?

Sigh.

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What will the next one go for?

Apparently there's a few more out there that we can expect to hit the "market" at some point. I wonder if the price will keep going up.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What will the next one go for?

There were only 200 made and they were all hand assembled by Woz. Many of them probably don't work, this one does, hence large asking price.

Someone recently paid way over the odds for a Porsche that belonged to Bill Gates, Bill didn't make it, didn't assemble it, he just owned it.

At least in this case the machine actually has a connection to the history computer industry, an old car doesn't.

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To Dire Criti¢

Whatever

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Coat

'Jobs signed off the neon...

'...with a Buddhist phrase "gate gate paragate parasangate bodhi svahdl"'

A neon? I hope he achieved enlightenment then.

(And, yes, I know this should have been sent as a correction because someone probably let auto-correct do the work for them, but the pun was too good to resist!)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 'Jobs signed off the neon...

I'd have let the typo go, if it wasn't the only one in that paragraph - "it is not know".

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WTF?

I don't get it.

I own three Macs, but why anyone pays for THIS I have no idea at all........

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Re: I don't get it.

They're buying it because it is a piece of computing history. The Apple I may have been a very humble beginning, but it was still the starting point of what is now a massive computing empire-- the birth-product of Apple Inc. Computer enthusiasts may want to own an Apple I in their collection for the very same reason that an automotive enthusiast may want to own a Ford Model T-- because they are products that changed the landscape of their respective industries and lead to the rapid growth of their producing companies.

While I will never have the kind of money to be able to afford purchasing a real Apple I, back when I was in college I bought a kit that allowed me to solder together a working replica of an Apple I. The replica that I built is completely compatible with real Apple I's, and can actually run real Apple I software if you can find any. The kit that I built is called the "Replica I", and while I bought and built mine several years ago a later revision of the kit is still being sold. The Replica I kit is produced by a small company called Briel Computers.

I was going to link to the company's website here to help anyone interested with finding these kits, but I don't want to risk potentially running afoul of The Register's house rules against spamming. As a result, if you're interested in one of these kits you will just have use your favorite search engine to find the company's website yourself. The cost of the kit for the Replica I is about 0.0004% as expensive as the price of the real one that just sold at auction, so you can have the fun of building it yourself and messing around with it however you want without having to worry about destroying a rare and valuable museum piece.

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Re: I don't get it.

Indeed, to us the car analogy, some might want a Ferrari whereas some would get more fun out of building their own Caterham-7 style machine.

As far as I know, El Reg's anti-spam isn't there to prevent links to companies pertinent to the article, but rather stuff like:

" I earn £600 a day from home!! See how at oneborneveryminute.com"

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Re: I don't get it.

Quote:Apple I may have been a very humble beginning, but it was still the starting point of what is now a massive computing empire-- the birth-product of Apple Inc.

In other words, it's a symbol of how even a small business can eventually buy its way out of potentially illegal business practises!

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Why buy it?

"Greater Fool" theory, I suppose. Mind you, I was apparently the greater fool back in the early 80s when a mate had three of these for sale, asking $75 each. If I had bought all three maybe today I'd have a chance at a house near the new FaceBook HQ. Well, a small one. But I didn't even buy one. Sigh.

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>Mind you, I was apparently the greater fool back in the early 80s when a mate had three of these for sale,

I don't doubt that there are an awful lot of people who think the same thing every time something (relatively) mundane goes for silly money. I play bass and have the same feeling when a Burns Bison or Framus sell for 1000% more that what I sold em for 30 + years ago. Figuring out what is worth keeping and what is tat is a skill way beyond me.

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Meh

Although

The even bigger skill is keeping it all in good working order for 30+ years. I don't know many people that can do that with anything, let alone with something that it would be worthwhile keeping.

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I'm no Apple fanboi, but...

Old collector cars go for hundreds of thousands or millions. People buy paintings for millions when they could get a nice print for like $5 (well maybe a few bucks more, the dollar is pretty weak.) People pay lots extra for a first edition of some rare buck when the subsequent edition could be just the same except for the publishing date. If someone wants to pay ridiculous cash for an Apple I, fine with me, the money is ridiculous but it's a rare item that someone wanted.

Regarding donating money instead... for me this is a waste of his (I must admit this is certainly a guy..) money. But two short points... a) It is in fact *his* money, this isn't some communist country. But more relevantly, b) There's absolutely no point on commenting on what someone *should* do when you don't know what they already do.. they could already donate huge sacks of money (or pro-bono work, or whatever) to charity.

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Re: I'm no Apple fanboi, but...

>> they could already donate huge sacks of money (or pro-bono work, or whatever) to charity.

Indeed, they may look after it, keep it in working condition and then bequeath it to charity - for them to auction off.

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I have one question.

Will it blend?

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Re: I have one question.

I bet it won't run Flash!

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Windows

Love that price!!!

Missing the 'horn-ed one's' icon, unfortunately...

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Anonymous Coward

It must be Stephen Fry

And it will be put in the bedroom so he can fall asleep looking at it and dream about all things Apple

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It must be Stephen Fry

He may like Apple, but he owns a Windows Phone, Blackberry and Android phones. He's just addicted to gadgets.

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Anonymous Coward

Still Cheaper

It's still cheaper than a Retina display MacBook Pro

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Joke

That is some expensive Steve Jobs memorabilia

When I read the price, my first reaction was "Oh wow, Oh wow, Oh wow"!

<tumbleweed>

Too soon?

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I'd just like to add a general note to my above reply - before you condemn this purchase as a "waste of money", consider that the money, remarkably enough, does not just disappear into the 'arbitrarily frivolous purchase' economic black hole. Somebody's gonna end up with it. Maybe the guy who sold it will buy a car, and in so doing pay the people who designed it and made it, and the bitter IT guys who work for the car company.

Maybe he'll go out and have a pizza, and pay the girl behind the counter.

The 150% cut that the auction house will go to marketing companies and the people who make design software and their office janitors and the people who make the mops used to clean their bathrooms.

Money doesn't just disappear.

The closest thing, though, is to have it sit in the stock market or in some German Bund, doing nothing. If the guy who blew a wad on this computer had sat on his money instead, the market as a whole would be that less liquid. The most important thing to do with money - assuming you're not literally doing something good with it, but I covered that above - is to keep it moving around.

Big auction sales like this, and sales of obscene luxury goods, are on balance a good thing. My own company (a small one which I started) relies to an extent on sales of utterly useless, insanely expensive toys to people with more money than they know what to do with. There might be an instinct to condemn their purchase of my kid as being a 'waste of money'.

But without that waste of money, I wouldn't be using netflix, or buying pizza myself, or buying drill bits or monitors or hunks of wood from Lowes or going on a cheesy boat tour in the 1000 Islands. When Rich Bastard pays me for a machine, he's really paying a lot of average Joes who help me make them - when otherwise his money would be sitting in a bank account doing nothing. I think the world's better off with the cash in my hands (not much of it, ahem), and those of my suppliers and their employees.

You can get into a detailed argument about concentration of wealth and liquidity and charity and all that - but on a basic level, purchases like this aren't a net loss to society unless the guy is saying, "You know what? I was going to spend that money feeding starving orphans in Loginabox, but I think instead I'm going to get this computer."

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" condemn their purchase of my kid as being a 'waste of money' "

Your kid!?!?

Typo, I hope!

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Holmes

"The closest thing, though, is to have it sit in the stock market or in some German Bund, doing nothing"

Well, apart from the fact that money doesn "sit in the stock market."

"Money doing nothing" is called *saving*. It's an old-fashioned activity whose value has been basically destroyed by moving from from hard money to paper money, by persistent Keynesian policy and the bizarre permission given to banks to loan out money that they don't have in the first place.

Nowadays, the belief is that saving hurts the economy and that if you want everyone to get wealthy, you just print up the money on a whim. It's a demented idea that future historians will laugh about, but there you go.

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"Well, apart from the fact that money doesn "sit in the stock market."

"Money doing nothing" is called *saving*."

Indeed - and if you have ten or fifteen million dollars hanging around, saving is not a means to avoid a retirement of cat food dinners in a chilly shack. Dropping a few hundred grand on a toy here and there isn't going to drown the world in a sea of evil red ink, any more than your getting a Netflix subscription (most likely) will force you into a life of direst poverty. You're purposely ignoring scale and common sense to bolster your argument.

"It's an old-fashioned activity..."

This among all your statements causes me to doubt your credibility. The age of a policy or activity has very little to do with its quality; slavery and forced marriages to 11-year-olds are quite old-fashioned, as are denying women the vote, and criminal confessions being coerced by the pouring of boiling tar into the palms of a prisoner's hands.

Saving in a general sense may be well and good - though really all it is is a buffer, not some kind of next-to-Godliness intrinsic virtue - but the fact that people did it in 1950 has nothing to do with anything.

As far as old-fashioned goes, you may recall some events and policies leading up to an incident around 1929, wherein lax monetary policy, the refusal of the government to intervene in the midst of a systemic economic crisis, and the subsequent lack of a safety net for middle-class depositors (who, incidentally, *had* saved) resulted in a well-known depression.

Those policies are decidedly old-fashioned - and yet they are ill-advised.

"persistent Keynesian policy and the bizarre permission given to banks to loan out money that they don't have in the first place."

If you know enough to be aware of the existence (though clearly not the extent of) Keynesian policy, you should know enough to realize that your money-printing jibe is a straw man among straw men, no more accurate than the characterization of austerity as a policy that involves the public humiliation of anyone who advocates government spending of more than 1% of GDP or inflation of more than -20%.

Everyone knows they only actually do that in Germany.

Quantitative easing is very far from 'printing money', as you put it. You seem to be thinking in terms of money meaning something like it did during the days of the gold standard - another old-fashioned idea, as it happens, and one that current historians laugh about - but you don't run a global economy like that. That dog don't hunt. You want austerity? It might make Germans feel haughty (it can't make them feel *good*; Germans don't feel *good* since that implies an unhealthy level of exuberance that might lead to accidental spending, and thus inflation), but it hurts a lot more than another percent on inflation.

Austerity is finding a man who has no tools but is tasked with digging his way through a hillside, and offering him a shovel in exchange for cutting off an arm - and when this fails, offering another shovel in exchange for cutting off the other one.

If you want governments to be able to pay off debts, forcing them to murder their own economies and shrink their own tax bases is an utterly absurd way to go about it - if the same logic were applied to any other discipline, it would be laughed off as pure folly. For some reason, people (possibly like you) think of international finance as a big version of your pipe-smoking, respect-commanding dad discussing your piggy bank in 1956.

Keynesian economics says that when a man is rushed into the hospital having collapsed from dehydration and heat stroke, you don't demand that he draw up and enact a plan to return your water before you'll give him any (which will take a few hours just to make sure), just to prove that he's serious. You give the poor bastard some water even if you have to take it out of your own tap, because repulsive as the idea of giving money - err, water - to someone who made a stupid mistake is, you're a lot better off with a few ounces less water than a multi-million dollar lawsuit.

That's the really demented thing.

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Trollface

Supplies are limited, production is around 1 every 9 months. I expect he gets a good price!

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Joke

Agh

KIT! KIT! Not 'kid'... Jeez, here I try to use some Brit lingo and this is the thanks I get?

Anyway, my kid is not for sale, and anyone who tries to get him for free instead will face a beatdown so severe that the red cross will have to run a blood drive for six months.

So there, you sick, sick bastards. Why, I never...

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Re: Agh

Quote: KIT! KIT! Not 'kid'... Jeez, here I try to use some Brit lingo and this is the thanks I get?

Posted via iPhone?

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Upvote for this alone...

"Austerity is finding a man who has no tools but is tasked with digging his way through a hillside, and offering him a shovel in exchange for cutting off an arm - and when this fails, offering another shovel in exchange for cutting off the other one."

That ought to be written on posters and pasted across the EU. And, perhaps, tattooed on Mrs. Merkel's hintern...

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Profit!!

Buy for $666.66 and sell for $350k (what the seller got), a better investment might be Apple stock, well almost. $666 got you around 222 shares when the company went public (equivalent, taking into account splits), and at Friday's close that was worth around 127k or so. So if you got 2 Apple 1's (one that failed and had to be discarded) and added in the improvements (power supply, etc) you may have been better ahead with the stock. Of course you wouldn't need an auction house to sell it either.

Now if you were Steve, and looked at your investment (he sold a VW bus to finance the circuit boards of the Apple 1), and look at what HIS stock was worth, well you get the idea...

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Anonymous Coward

Who bought the Apple?

We are betting Bill Gates bought this one!

Remember, Apple was there first!

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Anonymous Coward

It just occurred to me...

... that if I already had a couple more of those, both in working order, it would have been well worth my while to getting into that bidding war.

Where's the cynic icon?

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This post has been deleted by its author

Them bidding wars is dangerous

375k?

And to think I nearly got into a bidding war for a RasPi activation code last weekend.

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Re: Them bidding wars is dangerous

Acivation code? Isn't RasPi open source?

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