Fully Functional ?
a fully functional Apple-1 computer is going under the hammer, with a guide price of $300,000.
In that case it won't be 'fully functional' for long
Deep-pocketed fans of historical computing gear, take note: a fully functional Apple-1 computer is going under the hammer, with a guide price of $300,000. The sale, which is currently live, is being run by the Boston-based RR Auction. The lot consists of the computer, which dates back to 1976, as well as a handful of …
It is perfectly possible to build a replica that will fool a so-called "expert" using off the shelf components. No, you can't tell from serial numbers ... thanks to bad record keeping, and a general lack of giving a shit about that kind of documentation back then, nobody knows for certain what the numbers were. Couple that with the original design, which The Woz gave out at a Homebrew Computing meeting in '76 (making it open source(!!) ... I still have my copy, I can't be alone in this). Next, throw in a little unscrupulous silk screening of copyright notice, and Bob's yer Auntie.
Not that I would recommend doing such a thing, of course. But you've got to wonder every time one of these things turns up ... especially one in working condition.
All chips have the manufacture date printed on them. Sourcing vintage components while not impossible is no easy task.
I suppose it'd be possible to remove the chip markings and reprint them but for that to be 100% convincing would be well beyond the capabilities of most people.
I agree with both of you: yes it's well beyond the capabilities of most people, but so is forging banknotes and, perhaps more comparably, artwork.
At $fivefigures and above, I'm pretty sure some clever person could knock up a convincing fake, even if they just made it functional by combining different working parts from several non-functional units.
"it's well beyond the capabilities of most people"
It's not a magical thing. It's a just simple hand-made hobby computer board. Back in the day, people made them by the dozen at home. MeDearOldMum used to yell at me for boiling boards on her stove ...
As for the "artwork" (silk screening), no two were actually alike. Just getting it close enough to fall within the range would be enough.
It is perfectly possible to build a replica that will fool a so-called "expert" using off the shelf components.
Could not the so called expert could commission The Woz to give an assessment on its authenticity? Would there be a better authority on such matters?
I personally hand-soldered and assembled several CROMEMCO Cyclops cameras in the same time frame as the Apple I. I could not today look at one of those cameras and say with any certainty that I was the person who built it. I could also not tell you for certain if it was built 40-odd years ago, or if it was built yesterday (assuming the builder could get real solder, that is).
I also built many calculator kits back then, mostly HP, Heath and Sinclair. These I sold to students at Stanford and Berkeley at what I thought was a fairly hefty markup. I could probably look at an example today and tell you I did not make it ... but there is no way I could say for certain if I did build it.
Perfectly available. Very fine pitch ICs in consumer gear is permitted Tin/Lead (because the tin would grow dendrites). Certain aerospace and military parts has to use it too. The lead free stuff isn't reliable.
I've loads of chips that old. Though I'm not sure why. I think some of the exact same RAM if someone wants it.
It's likely much easier than forging good banknotes or old masters and actually such a product would be an authentic counterfeit rather than a forgery.
"I think some of the exact same RAM if someone wants it."
Careful, don't just give it away (or worse, chuck it). That stuff might be worth more today than it was back then ... it's actually in demand. People restoring old kit need it, and they don't make it anymore.
"Ah but do you think somebody who could create a very convincing replica of an Apple-1 could get more money from a Kickstarter campaign selling them at a reasonable price?"
I'm the wrong person to ask. Try emailing Vince Briel :-)
NASCOM 1 !
Now I feel really old, IIRC that was from around 1978, mine lived in a cardboard box because I was too skint to get a real case. Great learning system which set me up for a career in embedded and wireless systems. I was kind of surprised that it worked after spending an eternity soldering sockets to the board. Many happy memories with the thing.
The keyboard was one of the best parts of it, really good action and better than most laptops these days.
... to clear out offices and toss old crap like that from the first floor into a dumpster - one day, long long time ago. I recall it being sunny and springtime and the previous millenium. And that one shouldn't fart in a clean room - people notice that and stare at you and wish you were dead - but please elsewhere. Severly.
→ next time I tell you about my job where I – in grand total – tossed for over a million $ worth of scientific literature in the bin. Could be 2, or 3. → Envy alert: I could take from that lot what I liked home, after check with the chief... (you'll hate me) which gave me in that one year a bonus of about $30.000 when bought new.
Imagine one can take from 265.000 titels, updated every day. ... Also, imagine ceo David Bowie look-a-like, that responds to the question about waste - we have tried getting it to the 3rd world - but we were bleeding money.
I happened to be the new magasier chez Swets & Blackwell, responsable for 3.7 kilometers of shelves with books. I created order to that ... bloody mess..., as it should be, for the first time in 28 years (so I was told,) ... undoing the ... mess.- I had the weirdest job. Got my boss a load of bucks in return for making small changes, with a love for books. Enfin. Wonderful time.
One should imagine that it was housed in a former flower-bulb factory, and one grows here almost up in a flower-bulb factory. (I did.) So I was working in a flower-bulb factory that housed 600 people reading books on all places. ... A Special Version of Doom...
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It's not beyond the normal range of commission for auction houses. It's why auctioneers are often very well dressed...
In the UK, you'll pay 20% VAT on top of that as well. Things often look a lot less like bargains once you've added 45% on top of the price you just bid...