Computer museum wants to buy Jupiter Ace

A unique collection of Jupiter Ace hardware and software – as well as the brand itself – is for sale on Ebay, and the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge is trying to raise the funds to make a bid.

The Jupiter Ace is a rare microcomputer created in the 1980s by Jupiter Cantab – a company founded by ex-Sinclair employees Steve Vickers and Richard Altwasser, according to Bit-tech. The computer ran the Forth programming language rather than the more common BASIC.

The company went out of business in 1983 after the Jupiter Ace failed to sell – not helped by a lack of colour graphics and sound at a time when gaming was taking off – and was bought by Boldfield Computing the following year.

That firm is now selling off everything it holds from Jupiter, including the computers themselves and even the Jupiter Ace brand. Intriguingly, the collection is being sold via Ebay, with a starting bid of £10,000.

Jupiter Ace

“This is a remarkable investment opportunity at several levels, because not only does the buyer get a valuable collection of original unsold Jupiter ACE stock, but also all the irreplaceable master tapes and unpublished works, a catalogue of priceless historic documentation, and ownership of this famous brand,” the Ebay listing reads.

The Centre for Computing History is raising funds to make a bid, but it has fewer than five days to get the cash together.

“We are trying to raise the money to purchase the collection and preserve the collection and the Cambridge Centre for Computing History where it belongs,” said curator Jason Fiztpatrick on the JustGiving fundraising page. “But we need your help. We need to raise £10k to be able to make a bid for it.”

You can donate to the Centre for Computing History here; if it fails to win the bid or doesn’t raise enough funds, the museum will hold onto the money to buy another exhibit in the future.

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