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An original Apple computer hand-built by Jobs and Wozniak fetches $400k (P20 million) at US auction

By AYIE LICSI Published Nov 10, 2021 4:29 pm

One of the few remaining original Apple-1 computers, hand-built by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, was sold for $400,000 (around P20 million) at an auction in the United States on Nov. 9.

Before it was sold, the great-great-grandfather of today's MacBooks was expected to fetch over $600,000 in a California auction.

The auctioned model was a still functioning, rare Hawaiian koa wood-cased Apple-1. Only 200 of these were made by Jobs and Wozniak in 1976 when they began the now-$2 trillion-worth tech company in a garage.

Jobs and Wozniak mostly sold Apple-1s as component parts. One computer shop that took a delivery of around 50 units decided to encase the components in wood, the auction house said.

"This is kind of the holy grail for vintage electronics and computer tech collectors," Apple-1 expert Corey Cohen told the Los Angeles Times ahead of the bidding. "That really makes it exciting for a lot of people."

According to John Moran Auctioneers, the device only had two owners: a college professor and his student to whom he sold the machine for $650.

The model is one of the 60 Apple-1 units still in existence, according to the Times, and one of the 20 is still functioning.

45 years ago, the Apple-1 sold for $666.66, reportedly because Wozniak liked repeating numbers. 

While the $400,000 hammer price has gone a long way from $650, this isn't the highest-grossing Apple-1 computer. A working Apple-1 computer was sold for over $900,000 at a Bonhams auction in New York in 2014.

Apple found success in the late 1970s and early 1980s but foundered after Jobs and Wozniak left in 1985. The company was reinvigorated in the late 90s when Jobs was brought back to the fold as chief executive.