The value of retro: An Apple I sold for $ 400,000 at auction

The Apple I is undoubtedly one of the great fossils of computing. This personal computer was introduced in 1975, but did not hit the market until 1976. This makes it one of the first personal computers in history, and it was the first to use a microprocessor with a keyboard and monitor connection. The person responsible for this genius was Steve Wozniak, who designed and manufactured it by hand.

Its sale price was curious and provocative at the same time, since it landed on the market of the time at a cost of $ 666.66. Considering the challenges faced by a then humble Apple, they were only able to manufacture a total of 200 units Apple I, a tiny amount that together with the time that has passed since its launch helps us understand why there are only a few functional units left.

When I talk about retro computing, and retro technology in general, I always have an open mind. In the end, the value of a “technological fossil”, or a piece of the living history of computing, whatever you want to call it, It depends on many factors: its age, its state of conservation, its functional possibilities, its rarity, its importance within the history of technology and what each buyer is willing to pay. If we put all this in mind, we will realize that the Apple I has, on its own merit, a great value, and is quite a relic.

The Apple I has been sold for $ 400,000, is it a reasonable price?

That is the value that the unit that we see in the image has reached in a recent auction. If we ask ourselves if that price is reasonable, I think we will not be able to reach a conclusion that everyone likes. Personally, and considering its importance, its scarcity and what it represents in the history of technology, I think it is a “low” price, an opinion that, in fact, is perfectly sensible if we compare that $ 400,000 with the more than $ 900,000 that the Apple I reached in previous auctions.

The Apple I unit auctioned for $ 400,000 is also one of the few to be marketed as a complete kit, meaning it comes in a wooden casing and comes with a full keyboard, as can be seen in the attached image. . If we take into account that only about 50 units of the Apple I were assembled, And with an estimated only 20 fully functional units left, I think it’s easier to understand why those $ 400,000 seem like a “reasonable” price to me. No, I would not pay that money for the Apple I even if I had it, but I understand that a lover of technology, and retro, with enough money is willing to do it.

On the other hand, we must not forget that, beyond the historical value that this fossil has, we are also facing an investment. As we have said, there are only about 20 functional units of the Apple I left, and with the passage of time it is likely that that number will end up reducing, something that, in the end, will cause its value to increase considerably. Yes, by this I mean that the person who bought it for $ 400,000 should have no problem selling it for a lot more money in a few years.

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