An original Apple computer built by hand by company founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak 45 years ago went under the hammer in the United States on Tuesday.
The working Apple-1, the great-grandfather of today’s sleek chrome-and-glass MacBook, is expected to fetch up to $600,000 at an auction in California.
The so-called “Chaffee College” Apple-1, one of only 200 built by Jobs and Wozniak, is worth $2 trillion at the beginning of the company’s odyssey from garage start-up to megalith.
What makes it even more rare is the fact that it is encased in koa wood – a rich potted wood native to Hawaii. Of the original 200, only a few were built this way.
Apple-1s were mostly sold by Jobs and Wozniak as component parts. A computer shop taking delivery of about 50 units decided to encase some of them in wood, the auction house said.
“It’s the holy grail for vintage electronics and computer tech collectors,” Apple-1 expert Corey Cohen told the Los Angeles Times. “That really makes it exciting for a lot of people.”
Auctioneer John Moran says the device, which comes with a 1986 Panasonic video monitor, only had two owners.
A listing on the auction house’s website states, “It was originally purchased by an electronics professor at Chaffee College in Rancho Cucamonga, California, who sold it to his student in 1977.”
The Los Angeles Times reported the student – who has not been named – was only paid $650 for it at the time.
That student now stands to make a pretty penny: a working Apple-1 that hit the market in 2014 was sold by Bonhams for over $900,000.
“Many people just want to know what kind of person collects Apple-1 computers and it’s not just people in the tech industry,” Cohen said.