back to article One for the super rich fanbois: Ultra-rare functional Apple-1 computer goes on auction

Deep-pocketed fans of historical computing gear, take note: a fully functional Apple-1 computer is going under the hammer, with a guide price of $300,000. The sale, which is currently live, is being run by the Boston-based RR Auction. The lot consists of the computer, which dates back to 1976, as well as a handful of …

  1. Miss Config
    Stop

    Fully Functional ?

    a fully functional Apple-1 computer is going under the hammer, with a guide price of $300,000.

    In that case it won't be 'fully functional' for long

    1. b0llchit
      Joke

      Re: Fully Functional ?

      Oh Boy! That would be a site; under the hammer in front of an Apple Store.

      A smashing example and much better than "Will an iPhone Blend".

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Fully Functional ?

      If it becomes dysfunctional, can I take it to a genius bar for a quick fix?

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Fully Functional ?

        can I take it to a genius bar for a quick fix?

        In my experience, most people in bars think they are geniuses after about the fifth[1] drink..

        [1] YMMV depending on what you are drinking.

        1. Stork Silver badge

          Re: Fully Functional ?

          Mine is a gargleblaster

    3. The Griff

      Re: Fully Functional ?

      If Bill Drummond is bidding on it then that may well be its fate.

    4. Benchops

      guide price of $300,000

      or about half the cost of the next iPhone.

    5. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Fully Functional ?

      That would be the Banksy model. Hopefully Woz did not built a self-destruct into it to be activated when the hammer comes down.

    6. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Fully Functional ?

      Has anyone checked for software updates?

  2. Hubert Cumberdale

    Does it come with instructions on how to hold it?

    I want to make sure I can get a good signal when I play Pong.

  3. Johnny Canuck

    Typical overpriced Apple tat.

    1. Ian Joyner

      Typical stupid comment from idiotic Apple hater.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Typical lack of understanding of irony of {{appropriate_target_class}}

  4. HildyJ Silver badge
    Angel

    Which one?

    Do I want this or the Concorde engine ( https://www.theregister.co.uk/2020/03/06/concorde_engine_for_sale/ )?

    And could I hack the Apple to control the engine?

    1. Kane Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Which one?

      "And could I hack the Apple to control the engine?"

      Could you hack the engine to control the Apple?

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Which one?

        hack the engine to control the Apple?

        If hack == "melt into a small puddle of mostly-consumed plastic and molten metal" then, sure.

  5. Mikey

    Given the age of it, I'm sure performance has been patched to non-existent levels by now....

    1. quxinot Silver badge

      On the plus side, the only battery likely to be inside should be fairly easy to replace, and little to no glue is involved.

      1. Mage Silver badge

        battery likely to be inside

        The Apple II had no battery. No separate clock or NV settings.

        Original IBM PC had no battery either.

  6. jake Silver badge

    How do they know it's real?

    It is perfectly possible to build a replica that will fool a so-called "expert" using off the shelf components. No, you can't tell from serial numbers ... thanks to bad record keeping, and a general lack of giving a shit about that kind of documentation back then, nobody knows for certain what the numbers were. Couple that with the original design, which The Woz gave out at a Homebrew Computing meeting in '76 (making it open source(!!) ... I still have my copy, I can't be alone in this). Next, throw in a little unscrupulous silk screening of copyright notice, and Bob's yer Auntie.

    Not that I would recommend doing such a thing, of course. But you've got to wonder every time one of these things turns up ... especially one in working condition.

    1. DJO Silver badge

      Re: How do they know it's real?

      All chips have the manufacture date printed on them. Sourcing vintage components while not impossible is no easy task.

      I suppose it'd be possible to remove the chip markings and reprint them but for that to be 100% convincing would be well beyond the capabilities of most people.

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: How do they know it's real?

        I agree with both of you: yes it's well beyond the capabilities of most people, but so is forging banknotes and, perhaps more comparably, artwork.

        At $fivefigures and above, I'm pretty sure some clever person could knock up a convincing fake, even if they just made it functional by combining different working parts from several non-functional units.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: How do they know it's real?

          "it's well beyond the capabilities of most people"

          It's not a magical thing. It's a just simple hand-made hobby computer board. Back in the day, people made them by the dozen at home. MeDearOldMum used to yell at me for boiling boards on her stove ...

          As for the "artwork" (silk screening), no two were actually alike. Just getting it close enough to fall within the range would be enough.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: How do they know it's real?

        "Sourcing vintage components while not impossible is no easy task."

        I've got a shop full of vintage components. I am not the only one.

    2. Simon Harris Silver badge

      Re: How do they know it's real?

      It is perfectly possible to build a replica that will fool a so-called "expert" using off the shelf components.

      Could not the so called expert could commission The Woz to give an assessment on its authenticity? Would there be a better authority on such matters?

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: How do they know it's real?

        "Hey buddy, cast your mind back a little... Did you solder together this particular computer, one of a batch of 200, 4 decades ago?"

        Some people allegedly have "perfect recall", I doubt Woz is one of them.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: How do they know it's real?

        I personally hand-soldered and assembled several CROMEMCO Cyclops cameras in the same time frame as the Apple I. I could not today look at one of those cameras and say with any certainty that I was the person who built it. I could also not tell you for certain if it was built 40-odd years ago, or if it was built yesterday (assuming the builder could get real solder, that is).

        I also built many calculator kits back then, mostly HP, Heath and Sinclair. These I sold to students at Stanford and Berkeley at what I thought was a fairly hefty markup. I could probably look at an example today and tell you I did not make it ... but there is no way I could say for certain if I did build it.

        1. Mage Silver badge
          Pirate

          Re: assuming the builder could get real solder

          Perfectly available. Very fine pitch ICs in consumer gear is permitted Tin/Lead (because the tin would grow dendrites). Certain aerospace and military parts has to use it too. The lead free stuff isn't reliable.

          I've loads of chips that old. Though I'm not sure why. I think some of the exact same RAM if someone wants it.

          It's likely much easier than forging good banknotes or old masters and actually such a product would be an authentic counterfeit rather than a forgery.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: assuming the builder could get real solder

            "I think some of the exact same RAM if someone wants it."

            Careful, don't just give it away (or worse, chuck it). That stuff might be worth more today than it was back then ... it's actually in demand. People restoring old kit need it, and they don't make it anymore.

    3. vir

      Re: How do they know it's real?

      Ah but do you think somebody who could create a very convincing replica of an Apple-1 could get more money from a Kickstarter campaign selling them at a reasonable price?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: How do they know it's real?

        "Ah but do you think somebody who could create a very convincing replica of an Apple-1 could get more money from a Kickstarter campaign selling them at a reasonable price?"

        I'm the wrong person to ask. Try emailing Vince Briel :-)

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Replica_1

        https://www.reactivemicro.com/product/replica-1-plus-from-briel-computers/

  7. ColonelDare

    Not bothered

    I'll stick to my Nascom1. British thu and thru, 1k Ram and fully programmable in hex Z80 assembler - and only £200 list price (PSU extra) .

    What's not to like about that then, eh?

    1. AndyFl

      Re: Not bothered

      NASCOM 1 !

      Now I feel really old, IIRC that was from around 1978, mine lived in a cardboard box because I was too skint to get a real case. Great learning system which set me up for a career in embedded and wireless systems. I was kind of surprised that it worked after spending an eternity soldering sockets to the board. Many happy memories with the thing.

      The keyboard was one of the best parts of it, really good action and better than most laptops these days.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Not bothered

      "What's not to like about that then, eh?"

      Nowt. Unless you had a Heath H11 in the same timeframe ... I made a lot more money in the first two years of knowing PDP11 assembler than I ever did knowing Z80.

    3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Not bothered

      I'll stick to my Nascom1

      We had one of those! With the mighty 300-baud tape interface..

      Oh - and the optional RAM card too.

  8. Celeste Reinard

    Job, it was mine

    ... to clear out offices and toss old crap like that from the first floor into a dumpster - one day, long long time ago. I recall it being sunny and springtime and the previous millenium. And that one shouldn't fart in a clean room - people notice that and stare at you and wish you were dead - but please elsewhere. Severly.

    -

    → next time I tell you about my job where I – in grand total – tossed for over a million $ worth of scientific literature in the bin. Could be 2, or 3. → Envy alert: I could take from that lot what I liked home, after check with the chief... (you'll hate me) which gave me in that one year a bonus of about $30.000 when bought new.

    Imagine one can take from 265.000 titels, updated every day. ... Also, imagine ceo David Bowie look-a-like, that responds to the question about waste - we have tried getting it to the 3rd world - but we were bleeding money.

    I happened to be the new magasier chez Swets & Blackwell, responsable for 3.7 kilometers of shelves with books. I created order to that ... bloody mess..., as it should be, for the first time in 28 years (so I was told,) ... undoing the ... mess.- I had the weirdest job. Got my boss a load of bucks in return for making small changes, with a love for books. Enfin. Wonderful time.

    ...

    One should imagine that it was housed in a former flower-bulb factory, and one grows here almost up in a flower-bulb factory. (I did.) So I was working in a flower-bulb factory that housed 600 people reading books on all places. ... A Special Version of Doom...

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      That "D" stands for "Domestic", not "Daily".

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. MJB7 Silver badge

          Re: GDP

          No. GDP is the total economic activity and is usually measured over a year, but it can be measured over a quarter, a month, or a day. It is not the level of activity at a particular point in time.

  10. adam 40 Bronze badge

    They don't make them like they used to...

    How come a 44-year-old Apple I still works, but a 10-year old Iphone 4 is bricked by an IOS update?

  11. heyrick Silver badge

    Small print at the bottom of the page

    (after all the geek porn)

    "The Bidder acknowledges and agrees that a 25.0% buyer’s premium will be added to the hammer price on all individual Timed Auction lots."

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Small print at the bottom of the page

      Wow! That's quite a commission!

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Small print at the bottom of the page

        It's not beyond the normal range of commission for auction houses. It's why auctioneers are often very well dressed...

        In the UK, you'll pay 20% VAT on top of that as well. Things often look a lot less like bargains once you've added 45% on top of the price you just bid...

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