Apple I Computer Sells at Auction for $815,000


One of the first Apple computers ever built has sold for $815,000.

Glenn and Shannon Dellimore, co-founders of beauty product firm Glamglow, bought the Apple I computer, possibly the first model of its kind in 1976, in an online auction. They won after a bid exceeding its estimated value of $1 million–the original price estimate by historians–was entered but then withdrawn.

In an interview with Fortune, Apple historian and Apple I expert Corey Cohen said that he, along with help from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Apple’s 12th employee Daniel Kottke, were able to date the computer to the summer of 1976, making it among the first Apple I machines ever produced–if not the first. They identified Kottke’s handwriting on the cassette tape that runs the computer’s operating system.

Considering that Kottke worked for Apple just after its founding in 1976 during his college summer break, they realized the computer was among the company’s earliest units.

Cohen believes there are approximately 60 to 70 Apple I computers still in existence and countless replicas that, according to Cohen, only a handful of Apple historians can identify as fakes.

Some could argue that the Dellimores walked off with a deal. The Apple I they acquired was valued at $1 million based on special features that aren’t included in others, including components that Cohen believes Apple co-founder Steve Jobs himself tested to reduce the computer’s costs.

“There were some odd experiments on the board that someone like Steve Jobs or one of the Apple folks would have done,” Cohen said. “It’s not something that would’ve been done by a hardware hacker back in the day.”

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SOURCE: Fortune, Don Reisinger