Steve Jobs’ original Apple computer prototype hits auction block

Apple fanatics with deep pockets can secure a piece of history in the form of Steve Jobs’ original prototype for the company’s first-ever computer.

RR Auction is taking bids on Jobs’ original design for the “Apple 1” computer – the same prototype that “resulted in Apple Computer’s first big order and changed the course of the company.”

The highest current bid for the prototype was $229,755 as of Friday afternoon. Bidding runs through Aug. 18, meaning the final price is likely to rise much higher by the time the auction closes.

The Jobs-designed device was “hand-soldered” by fellow Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak in 1976. The pair used the prototype to secure their first order from local computer store owner Paul Terrell, according to an auction listing.

“Few Apple artifacts could be considered as rare, early, or historic as this Apple-1 prototype, which spent many years on the ‘Apple Garage’ property—a site now entwined in the folklore of American business, where two unlikely heroes founded an empire,” RR Auction said in a description alongside the item.

“Moreover, it is the perfect embodiment of the symbiosis between Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Silicon Valley: the brilliant businessman, the electronics Einstein, and the infrastructure in which they thrived,” the description added.

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs was a co-founder of Apple.

The final price is expected to exceed $500,000, according to the auction house.

RR Auction noted that the item was authenticated this year by Apple-1 computer expert Corey Cohen. The circuit board matched photos taken by Terrell and later printed in Time Magazine in 2012.

The description of the vintage gadget doesn’t specifically mention whether it still works, but that appears doubtful: The prototype has some slight damage due to pressure “resulting in a crack that runs from adjacent to the power supply area above D12 down through the bottom of the board to the right of A15.” It is also missing a piece present when it was first built.

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs designed the device in 1976.
Ron Galella Collection via Getty

The auction host noted that Jobs’ protoype was “considered ‘lost’ until recently.”

From its humble roots with Jobs and Wozniak in the 1970s, Apple has emerged as a global tech powerhouse in subsequent decades. The company now has a market cap of nearly $2.5 trillion and ranks among the most valuable firms in the world.

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