back to article Want to buy a Woz-made Apple I? If you need to ask the price, you can't afford it

A US auction house is preparing to bid off a piece of Apple Computer history that could fetch more than $500,000. Bonhams will auction off a rare Apple I system handmade by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak when the biz was in its infancy. According to the auction house, the model was assembled by Woz in 1976 as part of an order …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    $500,000 just to say "look how rich I am" and "look how much I can afford to waste".

    If you do buy it would you use it? Would it be of any real use now?

    So it will go to some undeserving rich list todger to claim bragging rights, instead of being in a museum, I mean landfill site like the tons of more useful tech parts that get thrown out each year.

    1. James O'Shea

      "If you do buy it would you use it? Would it be of any real use now?"

      Depends on whether or not you could find a working copy of Bank Street Writer or Visicalc...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It'll last for twenty minutes and then burn out, value drops by $499, 990 and you are left with a very expensive paperweight that's not heavy enough to hold down the paper if you breath on it.

        Just like those collectors of expensive wine, they never open the bottles just in case the wine has turned to crap. The bottles have value until they are opened. This 'computer' will have value so long as you don't use it.

    2. Crazy Operations Guy

      Many were made and several are already in Museums (There are two or three in the Smithsonian, one has a hand-made case)

      Besides, its not like Woz can't just whip out the ole soldering iron and make another; the technology isn't lost, the Apple 1 didn't use any custom parts, and when the device was made isn't so important for a museum, just the historical significance of the original device.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Crazy Operations Guy

        So it has only virtual value then? just like The patents Apple likes to dream up?

        I wonder how much they would get for a pair of Steve Jobs used underpants, though rumour has it that he didn't wear them.

    3. Steve Todd Silver badge
      Stop

      Stamp collectors

      Will pay stilly amounts of money for tiny bits of paper with trivial face values. It's about rarity to them, and the place in history of the stamp in question.

      Computer collectors think the same way. As a machine it is trivial. As a working example from the original batch of 50 it is rare (modern reproductions don't lower the rarity). As one of the machines that got Apple off the ground then it has a place in history.

      Collecting in general isn't my thing, but that doesn't mean that I can't understand those that do or make me need to insult them.

  2. James O'Shea

    Anyone who buys that

    at that price is simply, totally, utterly, bonkers. Nuts. Out to lunch. His elevator doesn't go all the way to the top.

    And I say this as someone who has purchased a _lot_ of Apple kit over the years.

    1. goldcd

      Meh

      If you've got enough money to consider this, you've bought everything need.

      Once you've got what you need it's just what you want.

      And then, working on the basis computers aren't going to go away, Woz isn't going to time-travel back and make any more, it's a reasonably safe investment.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Meh @goldcd

        Nothing to stop Woz making a batch by hand, maybe a couple of hundred, just to fc*k up the value and stick two fingers up at the c

        'Collector'.

        A bit like those 'limited edition' prints that run into the tens of thousands.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Meh @goldcd

          No way he can get identical parts today, though I suppose you could take them off less valuable equipment from around the same time. Harder to get the board though...

          By the same logic you could claim almost anything can be faked. What stops someone from making a new 1950 Ferrari or whatever that car that sold for $10 million was? For that kind of money you can custom machine all the parts that go into it, after all. How about printing up a fake label, filling an old bottle with red colored vinegar and selling it as 250 year old wine?

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Meh @goldcd

            "Harder to get the board though..."

            It depends on whether he still has the artwork...

            Or ring up the auction house & offer to authenticate it "Just drop it on the photocopier. Both sides."

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Meh @goldcd

            "No way he can get identical parts today,"

            First, he needs to find some lead based solder...

            1. Ole Juul

              Re: Meh @goldcd

              First, he needs to find some lead based solder...

              It's in the stores. Go look. The RoHS thing is for manufactures and doesn't apply to repairs or hobby use.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Meh @goldcd

              I have a 0.5kg multicore roll, about 30 years old, you can have it for $100k :-)

            3. John Bailey

              Re: Meh @goldcd

              "First, he needs to find some lead based solder..."

              Oh dear.. You think leaded solder is hard to get..

              It isn't allowed for commercial use. But no problem getting it in a vast range of types and sizes. I've got a reel of .4mm and 1mm in my workshop right now.

          3. Ole Juul

            Re: Meh @goldcd

            @DougS

            No way he can get identical parts today, though I suppose you could take them off less valuable equipment from around the same time.

            Did you actually look, or are you guessing? I don't know exactly what chips are on this board, but would point out that 7400 ttl is still in catalogs. Perhaps some of the other chips are more difficult, but lots of us here still have boxes of old parts. Exactly which part were you unable to find?

          4. Captain DaFt

            Re: Meh @goldcd

            "No way he can get identical parts today"

            No? Then What's this?: http://www.willegal.net/appleii/apple1-kit.htm

            Kits, parts, and likewise.

          5. Jonathan Richards 1
            Go

            Modern manufacture

            > What stops someone from making a new 1950 Ferrari...

            +1

            I have often said that if I had a sufficiently large amount of money, I'd commission a new Supermarine Spitfire. All the drawings and specs exist, there are original examples still flying to consult (and so flight certification shouldn't be an insuperable issue) and the options of modern materials and methods are there for the taking. I'm thinking that Rolls Royce et al. would have something to say about their designs being ripped off, though.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Anyone who buys that

      You are right. They are bonkers. It's Apple who will buy it, for display at their HQ.

  3. Captain DaFt

    True nerds don't buy old computers

    They copy them!

  4. Gene Cash Silver badge
    Pint

    "verified to be in working condition"

    OTOH, you gotta tip your hat to Woz for that... when your handmade board is still working THIRTY EIGHT years down the road.

    1. The Dude

      Re: "verified to be in working condition"

      I have a handmade Altair 8800 in working condition. If an Apple 1 fetches $500,000 then judging by the standard premium for Apple stuff, my Altair should be worth $0.50

      1. Ian 55

        Re: "verified to be in working condition"

        I'll give you a dollar for the Altair...

      2. Catweazle666

        Re: "verified to be in working condition"

        Somewhere in my vast collection of prehistoric electronic rubbish including crystal set radios I've got a 1977 Science of Cambridge MK14, complete with cassette interface. "Science of Cambridge" was of course Sinclair.

        Much to my astonishment, it seems to have appreciated considerably over the past two or three decades.

        http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Vintage-Sinclair-Science-of-Cambridge-MK14-computer-pre-ZX80-Jupiter-Ace-era-/230752400620

        Looks like I'm going to have to start rooting about in my loft!

    2. John Bailey

      Re: "verified to be in working condition"

      "OTOH, you gotta tip your hat to Woz for that... when your handmade board is still working THIRTY EIGHT years down the road."

      No.. You need to hang your head in shame for thinking this is a long time.

  5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "the Apple I would today be considered little more than a DIY kit"

    Maybe, but back then a DIY kit was more likely to have been a bare board & bag full of components. Or just a board & find the components yourself. Happy days.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Asked for my account to be deleted

    I've had it with the dumb censorship here of any opinion that isn't anti-google or pro-microsoft,. Bye, enjoy your propaganda blog.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Asked for my account to be deleted @ jbernardo

      But you are still here?

      Next you'll be saying, " I will, I will jump don't come any closer!"

      But still you will be here....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Asked for my account to be deleted

      While off topic, this person does have a point. It's became ridiculous in the past month or so.

      No longer able to have a technical/factual discussion without some MS fan/shrill spouting crap - and I actually pay for MS products, so I'm entitled to bad-mouth them!. This happened to /. a few years ago, too.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Asked for my account to be deleted

      But... have you really been censored or are you complaining of fanboi-class public bashing?

  7. ian 22

    Living Computer Museum- Seattle

    I spent a nostalgia-filled afternoon at the museum in Seattle recently. Many working computers Kaypro, Macintosh, and similar. Even an IBM System 360/91 console, its many lights operated by a hidden microcomputer tucked away out of sight. I was struck by how primitive they all were. Utter crap, but how I lusted after them back in the day.

    The museum has a fully functional "computer room" with raised floor and vast AC. The cold, the smell, the disc packs, the huge lumbering mainframes (CDC Cyber Series machine, DECSystem 10s and 20s, even a Xerox Sigma 9), all functional. Took me back to old times.

    If ever you visit Seattle, visit the Living Computer Museum.

    1. Rob 5

      Re: Living Computer Museum- Seattle

      Did you get a punched card with your name on it? I ask because I sold them the cards that they use for that machine and I'm interested in how their souvenir plan worked out.

      1. ian 22

        Re: Living Computer Museum- Seattle

        No punched card, I've seen more than enough of them. However I was surprised to see someone still produces them, the last of the buggy-whip makers. Who uses punched cards now?

        1. Rob 5

          Re: Living Computer Museum- Seattle

          They were New Old Stock, rather than new production. A few cases came into our warehouse with some other stuff and it turns out that there's a market for almost anything.

          AFAIK, the last place that punched cards were used in the wild was knitting machines, which is kind of cool as it harks back to their origins with Jacquard looms.

  8. Zog_but_not_the_first
    IT Angle

    Rich at last?

    Does stuff made by "Uncle Clive" have the same cachet?

    {Heads off to attic with torch}

  9. T J

    F**** Apple and f***** old computing shyte

    I am not unique in this - I am an old, very experienced, still perfectly functioning software developer. My dreams are written in Python (it's more efficient than the old way).

    And, I hate old computer hardware, ok? I can't stand it. It bores the living piss out of me. People who get enthusiastic about it generate a boredom field that ages concrete by millenia - they are dangerous, don't let them near bridges.

    If it's seriously old - like valves-and-mercury era - then that's a different story. That stuff was space-lab frankenstein-lab evilgenius-lab glorious blinkenlicht power to the oversploog! But mainly because it looked really cool, quite apart from any boundaries it pushed.

    Old, clunky and stupid plastic boxes, full of step-wise evolutions of green, crappy circuit boards, are your anus, frankly. Pants. Duff. Boring and spew.

    And if it's APPLE, ooooooowwwwrrr, then it can REALLY get stuffed (down the curbside drain, with a roight goid kickun....)

  10. Nosher

    Woz was clearly not a layout artist

    I'd heard it said somewhere before that Woz was not considered to have been that brilliant an engineer, and the layout design for the Apple I seems to prove it. The chips are laid out in about the worst way you could think - it's almost like getting the longest tracks imaginable between everything was a design objective!

    1. Steve Todd Silver badge

      Re: Woz was clearly not a layout artist

      At 1MHz the track length was largely unimportant. Using as few possible components and making the board small were the design goals in those days.

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