It is well documented that when a consumer buys an Apple over a similar product from another brand, they nearly always pay considerably more than that substitute product. But while shelling out over $1,000 for a MacBook Pro is a little too rich for the blood of some consumers, the amount German auctioneer Breker predicts a fully-operational Apple-I to fetch when it goes under the hammer later this month is enough to make anybody’s eyes water.
The auction house foresees the price hitting somewhere in the region of $261,000 to $392,000, although with a reported sum total of six working Apple-1 machines left in the world, I wouldn’t be surprised if the price goes even higher as hardcore Apple fans try to grab this now vintage piece of hardware. Also, with the record sale price of an Apple-1 having been set last year at a cool $640,000, the $261,000 suddenly looks a bit of a bargain by comparison.
As well as being one of only half a dozen working examples left in the entire world, it also has a rather unique history. The machine was originally owned by Computer Data Systems’ Fred Hatfield, and as such, arrives bearing the signature of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. As if that weren’t enough to tempt in any big Apple fan with an equally large wallet, the device is also supplied with the original manual, along with a letter to Hatfield from the late, great Steve Jobs.
In the letter, Jobs offers Hatfield the chance to trade in his Apple-1 for an Apple II 4K motherboard, which would have set him back just $400. Considering the Apple II went on to retail in 1977 for $1,298, Hatfield would certainly have saved himself a bit of money, although that decision would in turn have deprived Apple evangelists of this one-off opportunity.
Engineer Mike Willegal, who has indexed 41 of the estimated 50-60 Apple-1 computers left in existence (working or otherwise), spoke of the machine in question, suggesting it may well reach the suggested bidding bracket:
That is the Fred Hatfield machine listed in my registry. It’s been cleaned up and brought into operating condition.. The European auctions seem to be gathering the highest bids, so it may well reach its estimated value.
We will, of course, let you know how this rare gem gets on at auction, so stay tuned!