A working Apple 1 computer just sold for £285,000

An original Apple 1 computer just sold at auction for an impressive $375,000 (£285,000). The machine, from 1976, is just one of a handful of still-working models of the Apple 1, which originally went on sale for just $666.66 (£506).

Designed by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, the Apple 1 came to market as a success for the company, selling 200 computers in just under a year. Not only was this great for any machine in 1976, but it was also unprecedented for an entirely new computer manufacturer.

“The Apple 1 was ghastly underpowered compared to the Apple 2,” Wozniak explained to the BBC, “but this Apple 1 computer showed the world the formula for an affordable, useful computer.”

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The auction in question took place in Boston, Massachusetts and the Apple 1 in question was bought by an “anonymous businessman” who placed a bid for the machine online. His purchase, which is of just one of the reported 79 machines still available in the world, means this anonymous purchaser now owns a valuable slice of computing history.

“Our experts tell us that there might be 15 in the world that work properly,” explained RR Auctions spokesperson Bobby Livingston. “You can power this thing up and behave like it’s 1976. It’s pretty fantastic.”

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It’s not clear if the Apple 1’s new owner does intend to do just that, or simply keep it locked up in a cabinet somewhere as a testament to how valuable the machines really are.

Previously an Apple 1 was valued at around $200,000 (£152,000) in 2015 after recycling centre workers in Silicon Valley spotted the machine in the rubbish pile.

So, if you think you might have an old-school Apple tucked up away in your loft, or perhaps you have a couple of working vintage computers hidden away in your cellar, it might well be worth seeing what they’d fetch at auction. You never know, you could be sitting on gold.

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