back to article Apple 1 goes on sale, expected to fetch £300,000 to £500,000

If you've half a million pounds burning a hole in your pocket, get thee to the web site of posh auction house Christie's and place a bid on an Apple 1 going under the hammer on October 29th. Christie's says the machine is one of only about 50 known to exist, of the 200-odd hand-made by Steves Jobs and Wozniak. This one hasn't …

  1. John Tserkezis

    "The computer looks sound enough, save for “One chip at B12 incorrectly inserted”"

    Don't expect to ever have this functioning again. Ever. Someone's had a "play" with it, meaning, half the logic is blown sideways, and the other half, well, good luck with that.

    I used to get (more modern) gear like that on occasion. If it looks like someone's had a play, I won't touch it. My sanity is worth more than that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Angel

      I doubt that will matter. No doubt the final buyer will be doing so as an 'investment.'

      Or maybe these early Apple boxxen will one day be worshiped as minor gods (by certain people), and so possession will confer great status upon the Owner.

      1. Chris Parsons
        Headmaster

        I upvoted you, though people who had -en as a pretend German plural are very irritating. Incidentally, a huge number of German nouns have plurals not ending in -en, in fact, 's' is quite common. Thought you'd like to know that.

    2. DJV Silver badge

      Having a "play"

      Reminds me of an idiot customer we had when I was doing TV repair for Rediffusion in the early 1970s. He regularly called in to say his TV had stopped workng - we'd sigh knowingly and go round to his house and put all the valves back into the correct sockets again. The valves, being rather hardier than chips, just tended to work fine again. We never had any idea why he liked to rearrange them in the first place!

    3. Your alien overlord - fear me

      Surely one of those nerds in an Apple store could get it working. They are supposed to be genuises after all.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Don't expect to ever have this functioning again. Ever. Someone's had a "play" with it, meaning, half the logic is blown sideways, and the other half, well, good luck with that."

      The sort of people paying 6 figures for a bit of computing history are NOT going to be powering up 40* year old hardware just to see if it still works. It will be going in a glass case.

      [*] Near as dammit. Original electrolytic caps? I'd not want to power that up if I just paid 1/2 mill for it.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's also what looks like a CD-ROM in the illustrations of the machine, an oddity given that medium wasn't widely available when the Apple 1 stopped shipping in 1977

    Wasn't widely available? Understatement of the year.

    1. Steve Todd

      That's Apple I tape based software copied to CD and isn't claimed to be original 1976 vintage. The original tapes are no doubt more than a little dodgy by now.

  3. Paul 76

    Some investment ! Beanie Babes mentality.

    The odd thing is, it's not *that* rare. 50 machines is quite a few when you are looking at 900k.

    I doubt it works either "incorrectly inserting a chip" sounds like someone's tried to repair it and stuffed it up. Someone who doesn't know what they are doing as well .....

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      >The odd thing is, it's not *that* rare. 50 machines is quite a few.

      There are only around 50 Fabergé eggs in existence. They are considered rare in this world of 7 billion people.

      Value is only what someone will pay on any given day... and some people will spend silly money on silly things. Your investments may go down as well as up in value etc...

      EDIT: The Christies auction description states that there are around 50 Apple Is surviving.

  4. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Thinks...

    I don't have an Apple 1 but I wonder how much a SInclair MK14 might be worth. The PROMs don't work any more, though...

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Thinks...

      I have one that still works! I'd heard that one went for £600 on e-bay. Which makes my least powerful computer my most valuable.

    2. Geoff Campbell
      Go

      Re: Thinks...

      I sold an MK14 on eBay a couple of years ago for about £350, it was in a pretty poor non-working condition.

      GJC

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Enigma Machines

    >Very few Enigma machines survived the war

    Says the blurb - not even vaguely true though - many 1000s were collected by the allies - Britain was still refurbishing and reselling them to the 3rd World well into the 1950s. (Read David Kahn amongst others if you need a reference)

  6. David 138

    Amazing

    An Apple of that age.....and still just as functional as the modern Apple Mac.

  7. Herby

    That much $$$: fool, money...

    ...soon parted.

    Of course, if you raid all the surplus stores to get the necessary parts, and make up an exact duplicate PC board, minting money isn't a bad hobby.

    Oh, it's not "art" either!!

    1. usbac

      Re: That much $$$: fool, money...

      Yeah, but try to find a modern board-house that can make a PCB that looks that poorly made!

      1. Herby

        Re: That much $$$: fool, money...

        Making a poor board is actually pretty easy. The problem is making poor artwork. That is a task using 4x layout and making all the curves by hand. A light table helps in this regard. To make it poor, a couple of shots of an "adult beverage" will aid in that regard.

  8. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Last one went for nearly a million bucks - bet the fanboi was pissed that he couldn't run IOS 9 on it.

  9. Efros
    Joke

    Typical Apple, inflated price for less than average hardware.

  10. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Didnt one of these not sell a couple of weeks ago.

    ISTR there was one up for auction that didnt reach its minimum.

    It is a lot for a machine you can simulate faster in javascript!

  11. BenBell
    Joke

    Look at that, finally a reasonably priced mac :)

  12. Ogi

    I would imagine at that age bitrot would be a problem, no?

    I had that happen to a 286 motherboard that I kept in storage (it was new in box, only powered up upon purchase and kept as a spare for a production system). Powered it up a couple of years ago to find the BIOS chip was corrupted, and it could not finish POST.

    Still looked brand new from factory though.

    I would imagine that even if the apple was in perfect working order, it would not be bootable until the BIOS equivalent was reflashed.

    1. Mike 16 Silver badge

      Re: I would imagine at that age bitrot would be a problem, no?

      The PROMS are bipolar "fused link" type, IIRC. There have been cases of such fuses "re-growing", but not many. They were used in many arcade machines of the day, and many of them are still running fine. "re-flashing" these parts, or even putting them in a modern hobbiest PROM reader/burner, would be a very bad move. The hard part of restoring (or counterfeiting) an Apple I is the shift registers used in the CRT controller.

      One major issue you might run into is the high-resistance eutectic alloy formed by prolonged contact between gold IC pins and tin sockets (or vice versa). When I ran into it, circa 1977, my research found that mainframe manufacturers had run into it in the 1960s. For an industry that talks so much about "memory", computing seems to be willfully amnesiac. Fortunately, the "folk cure" of rocking the chips in their sockets (or removing and replacing them) will buy you another several years. Minus the damage caused by over enthusiastic application of the fix.

      ("IIRC" above refers to my not wanting to bother to find my Apple I manual. No, I never had the machine itself, but do have a manual. The PROM implements a small 'monitor' for the equivalent of PEEK and POKE. It is 256 bytes, again IIRC)

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: I would imagine at that age bitrot would be a problem, no?

      Your 286 motherboard has its BIOS in, most likely, a medium density EPROM. EPROMs degrade, because the charge that defines the '1' or '0' very slowly leaks away across the isolation. The PROMs in an Apple II are low-density fusible-link, which you blow (or not) during programming. Once done, there's nothing that can flip a bit, short of an ESD zapping. I expect the Apple I to have PROMs with even less capacity, with them consequently being even more resistant to bitrot.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Peddle

    I'm sure I read that Chuck Peddle helped getting the 6500s working in these...or was that an earlier / dev model?

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