back to article Woman dumps ultra-rare $200,000 Apple 1 computer in the trash

A widow who dumped a 1976 Apple 1 computer at a recycling centre in California is unaware she's in line for a six-figure payout – after the facility sold the vintage kit for $200,000 (£131,700). CleanBayArea said the "anonymous lady around 60-70 years of age" left a couple of boxes of electronic waste at its Silicon Valley …

  1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

    Well done the recycling centre...

    ... to even recognise the value

    1. Yag

      Re: Well done the recycling centre...

      ... to have such honests employees & directors!

      (Well, this will be very good publicity for them, probably worth more than the share for the old lady)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well done the recycling centre...

      Probably only recognized it because it was located in the heart of Silicon Valley.

  2. chivo243 Silver badge


    Where is my computer that was stored in your attic?

    1. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: Grandma!!!!!!!!

      Your Apple 1 computer wouldn't be stored in your Grandma's attic. It _might_ be stored in your grand daughter's attic.

      1. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: Grandma!!!!!!!!

        How old do you think I am? Now get off my lawn! God damn hippies... this isn't Woodstock! muttermutter......

        Seriously for me to have a 60-70 year old granddaughter? Who am I Methuselah?

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Gichun said: "To prove who she is, I just need to look at her."

    Uh-hu...that old one eh?

    I'm sure she was about 18 - 30 and came in wearing a Red Bikini

  4. Velv

    "Apple 1s, which went on sale in July 1976 for US$666.66"

    See, the clues were there from the start ...

    </troll> tee hee

  5. stringyfloppy

    I trashed a TRS-80 Model II decades ago. I felt bad doing it too. Also an Amiga 800XL.

    1. julian abbs

      i assume you mean an Atari 800XL, i beat mine to death with it's own joystick when i failed to load gauntlet once too often

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        My original Atari 800 died, but I'm pretty sure I've got its replacement a 65XE that should still work as well maybe an Atari 400 in my parents' basement. Had a C64 but gave that to my uncle, he may still have it somewhere.

        Unfortunately none of those are likely to be worth much, working or not, as they were produced in far larger numbers and don't have the same history associated with them. Maybe I could Craigslist them for $100 for the bunch.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    $200,000 each?

    Geesh, I can make one for that price.

    Might be best to launder it through a recycling center for some plausible deniability.

    Maybe this already happened.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: $200,000 each?

      That would be a fun thought exercise: what would one have to do to make a fake antique computer?

      1. You would need a known-genuine Apple 1, for reference.

      2. You would have to hunt down components. That sounds very possible.

      3. Materials... is that PCB substrate still available? You would probably have to find some original unused stock... tricky. The solder composition, likewise... probably easier to have solder from a real Apple 1 analysed and replicated.

      4. Forge Woz's signature.

      Guess it depends on the lengths people will take to determine if your fake Apple 1 is real or not.

  7. Simon Harris

    Interesting close-up

    Showing my ignorance here, but I never realised before that the Apple 1 had been explicitly designed with a 6800 option in mind.

  8. Daniel B.

    Stupid widow

    The recycling center says that the woman was "cleaning up" her late husband's stuff, which means she just grabbed everything and dumped it. Because she probably thought it was just annoying stuff taking up space, better used for cat furniture or something.

    Maybe this will make housewives reassess what might be garbage, or actually highly valuable stuff.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stupid widow

      Why would they "reassess what might be garbage"? Should they go through everything and try to find out what it is and look it up online to see if it is worth something? Do you know how much time that would take? Most of the time junk is junk, and doesn't justify all that effort to make a few hundred dollars with stuff that has some minimal value. The odds of finding something mega valuable like an Apple I, an unknown Picasso or Superman #1 are about on part with winning the lottery. Takes a lot less time to buy a lottery ticket, and it only costs a buck.

      Besides, the Apple I didn't have a case, so there's nothing with 'Apple I' emblazoned on it anywhere for her to see which makes this particular item even more difficult to identify if you're just going through a bunch of junk.

      Presumably her husband forgot he still had it or didn't realize its value, or it would have been kept separate and she would have known about it.

      1. Observer1959

        Re: Stupid widow

        Would be a good time to offer a service to widows for helping them "clean" house for a percentage of what you can get. Usually widows are older and have the stuff people are willing to pay for.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Stupid widow

          "Would be a good time to offer a service to widows for helping them "clean" house"

          Just check your local yellow pages for "house clearances". They have a quick look around and make you an offer on the basis that they can sell it for more than they pay you, always with the hope of coming across something especially valuable in the "junk".

  9. Mark 85 Silver badge

    I would imagine that this will bring out every 60-70 year old woman who wants some cash.. the line will be long and the lady dropped it off will not in the line.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The guy said he remembered her and would be able to identify her when she returns.

      1. Observer1959

        Guy calls older woman friend and tells her when and where to be. Gets a cut.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The guy who remembers her is the guy who took her drop off and figured out it was valuable, and is now trying to find her to give her half. If he was the sort of person you're implying, he would have taken the Apple I home with him when he left work and claimed he owned it all along.

  10. easyk

    The lady had it right.

    That is the appropriate location for junk.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: The lady had it right.

      Yup. It's not like there are any unsolved mysteries of computation locked up in there. Into the trash it goes!

  11. Carl W


    Not one commentard has yet remarked that you can get an equivalent Dell for a third of the price.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Disappointed

      I wonder what one of the first Dells that Michael Dell assembled in his dorm room would go for now? Not $66,000, but perhaps enough to buy a new Dell for $300? :)

  12. Mike 16 Silver badge

    The tricky bits

    IIRC, to making a fake Apple I are the shift registers that were used for the video memory.

    Everything else can probably be found. Even the solder. I have an ingot of mid-1970s solder around here somewhere. As for finding a real one to copy? In that area you may already know someone who has one.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Captain DaFt

      Re: The tricky bits

      If you want to make one, here's how:

      Funny thing, according to Woz, the original Apple was based off plans and schematics he'd been passing around for months:

      "The designs were passed out freely with no copyright notice so that others could build a useful computer at low cost. Others even had hand-built versions of this computer before Steve Jobs even knew it existed."

      So... 'replica Apples' have been around longer than original Apples.

      1. Simon Harris

        Re: The tricky bits


        Saying it's a replica is a bit strong. These are fairly generic 6502 systems with RAM and EPROM not available at the time of release of the Apple 1, video systems alien to the Apple 1 (generated using much more modern microcontrollers) and just arranged to be compatible with the Apple 1 memory and peripheral map where possible, programmed with the Apple 1 monitor and all built on completely different PCBs or prototyping boards.

        It may be functionally similar, but you're not going to get rich passing it off as the real thing!

    3. TRT Silver badge

      Re: The tricky bits

      You had to solder it yourself and the memory STILL wasn't user upgradeable.

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