Rare Apple-I fetches less than expected at German auction

An antique Apple Computer 1 from 1976, one of just eight still working, fetched 110,000 euros at auction in Germany, below a for
An antique Apple Computer 1 from 1976, one of just eight still working, fetched 110,000 euros at auction in Germany, below a forecast price of between 180,000 and 300,000 euros

A rare working Apple-1, the first computer produced by Steve Jobs' world-beater-to-be company four decades ago, sold for less than expected at auction in Germany on Saturday.

One of only eight working models in the world, the machine fetched 110,000 euros ($125,000), well below the expected 180,000-300,000 euros—suggesting that a spike in prices after Jobs' 2011 death is definitely over.

"From our point of view we are back at normal levels. Five years after the death of (Apple co-founder) Steve Jobs the 'hype' has settled back," Uwe Breker, who oversaw the in Cologne, told AFP.

Breker's auction house, which specialises in the sale of technical antiques, had also been involved in a 2013 sale of another Apple-I—which fetched 516,000 euros.

The model auctioned off Saturday and whose original owner was a Californian engineer, still had its receipt, its operating manual and other documents.

"(The Apple 1) was one of the first opportunities for someone to possess a real computer. I'd been working with computers for a while but they were huge," original owner John J. Dryden, who bought the Apple in 1976, said Friday.

He admitted that parting with the machine was a wrench but said the time had come as he had not used it in a long time.

The was one of around 200 Apple 1 units marketed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, who developed and built it.

Saturday's buyer was a German engineer who collects old computers.


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May 21, 2017
If that 1976 circuit board is working, it's definitely had its capacitors replaced. The pictured board's big blue caps don't look at all like their 1976 models would have. Typically the originalist collector fetishists view any modifications as lowering collectible value, even if broken. Archaeology museums often don't even clean non-contemporaneous dirt from artifacts, which emphasizes their antiquity at the expense of their function (and of the accurate presentation of their original appearance).

And yes, Jobs' death of course drove lots of upbidders into the market with his celebrity peak and obvious sharp dropoff. The idea that a totally obsolete PC, even such a watershed one, is worth $125K (185x its original retail price) is even sillier than Apple's #1 market cap (20% larger than #2's; 2.3x #8 Johnson & Johnson's) of $798B. The RIP Jobs era's 3x as high prices were just a testimony to the vanity of people with that much disposable cash.

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