back to article And you thought that $999 Mac stand was dear: Steve Wozniak's Apple II doodles fetch $630,272 at auction

Steve Jobs may no longer be with us but the cult of Apple persists as fanbois haemorrhage money to own pieces from the company's past. Cupertino relics are known to fetch eye-watering sums at auction, like the Apple-1 that went for a stonking $375,000 in 2018, or indeed the early consumer computer's documentation, which sold …

  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Amazing

    His diagrams and writing are even scruffier than mine. There's hope for me yet...

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Amazing

      I have some sketches somewhere for an improved mousetrap as well as plans for a rounder wheel.

      Anyone interested?

      1. I Am Spartacus

        Re: Amazing

        you jest. But imagine the conversation between Jobs and Woz.

        Jobs: Your keeping those scrappy notes now we have sold the fist Apple 1? Who would have thought someone woul buy that hand wired monstrosity for USD 666.66

        Woz: Hold my beer. In in a couple of decades all the Apple 1's will be in land fill sites, and these will be a thousand time what that Apple 1 sells for.

        Jobs: choke, splutter cough.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Amazing

        >I have some sketches somewhere for an improved mousetra

        I have some cool designs of an intergalactic mega warship that I invented when I was 5

        Wait til my 'notebooks' are discovered in 500years I'll be as famous as DeVinci

    2. chivo243 Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Amazing

      Lucky you... I've given up. Even with those drafting\technical drawing classes in school, my writing is better off not seen. Which is odd, both of my parents have very legible handwriting

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Amazing

        I've been using a typewriter and keyboard since the 1960s. I've long since given up on the thought of anybody being able to read my handwriting.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Amazing

          >I've long since given up on the thought of anybody being able to read my handwriting.

          Just out of interest, would this get you into trouble with RIPA ?

          I'm concerned that somebody might ask me to decipher some XLST code I once wrote

          (I was young and needed the money and they said it would be artistic)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Amazing

          Of course you have Jake.

          Typing is just another thing you're an expert on, along with cattle slaughter, Linux, and IR35.

          1. Admiral Grace Hopper

            Re: Amazing

            That's not an unusual skillset. I started my paid programming for the Inland Revenue and before that I worked in an abattoir. It helps when dealing with users if they know that you can kill and disassemble a large mammal.

  2. MarkET

    Interesting comment...the lawyers will love this

    "The prototype was hand-wired while I was still an engineer at Hewlett-Packard's Advanced Product Division"

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Interesting comment...the lawyers will love this

      IIRC he tried to get HP to build the Apple but HP weren't interested in "computers"

      apple_co_founder_offered_first_computer_design_to_hp_5_times

      1. MarkET

        Re: Interesting comment...the lawyers will love this

        Yes. The point was that he was still an employee of HP. In most jurisdictions ownership of intellectual property related to, or in the form of, articles of work undertaken whilst in employment are the property of the employer unless agreed otherwise by both parties.

        1. WolfFan Silver badge

          Re: Interesting comment...the lawyers will love this

          The Woz and the Steve tried to get HP interested. They passed. This would make claiming the Woz’s work... difficult. Worse, it’s been well over 40 years. That may get any claims tossed just for age, particularly when it would be difficult for HP to believably claim that they were not aware of the history of the Apple I. Finally, if they persisted and annoyed Tim Cook, he might find some loose change behind one of the sofas in the lobby and buy both HPs... and recombine them into one. And name it ‘Hewlett-Packard-Wozniak, an Apple Company’. And fire all the management and put in ‘modern business management’. And put the Woz on the board, and give him a technical project to play with.

          Actually, I like that idea. Apple gets a printer and scanner division again, after decades, HP ink prices fall (even Tim Cook hasn’t got the chutzpah to charge HP prices) and all of HP management face Christmas on the unemployment line. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch, unless we could get Apple to buy TalkTalk.

          1. Chris G Silver badge

            Re: Interesting comment...the lawyers will love this

            "(even Tim Cook hasn’t got the chutzpah to charge HP prices)"

            No, HPW Apple ink will have rounded corners, have to be installed by a 'Genius' and will cost about the same as a set of wheels.

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Interesting comment...the lawyers will love this

              and will be totally transparent - only the most refined of influencers will be able to see it

            2. Alumoi Silver badge

              Re: Interesting comment...the lawyers will love this

              The same wheels Apple sells right now?

        2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          Re: Interesting comment...the lawyers will love this

          That's madness! I make a Christmas pud, at home, in my own time, with my own ingredients, using my own gas, and it's the property of my boss?

          1. Admiral Grace Hopper

            Re: Interesting comment...the lawyers will love this

            That's pretty how much the IPR clauses read when I worked for EDS. If you had a good idea you had to build good firewalls and air gaps between your idea and EDS before you told anyone about it.

      2. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Interesting comment...the lawyers will love this

        I doubt if HP were 'not interested in compuers' since they were already making and selling small computers to the science and technical marketplace. HP management probably didn't see a market for a computer for home use. Theywon't be the first (after all, even IBM thought the PC wasn't a 'real' computer.)

    2. Blane Bramble

      Re: Interesting comment...the lawyers will love this

      Not really, I believe HP were offered the rights and declined, which gave Woz the right to do what he wanted.

  3. Dave 126 Silver badge

    The keyboard...

    Dunno if it's the same keyboard as described here:

    https://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/10/06/what-i-learned-from-steve-jobs/

    After the above article, Woz responded on Facebook saying that it must be the only Brit if kit with both his and Jobs' signitures on it.

  4. jake Silver badge

    A couple questions

    1) How do they know that Apple 1 board is legit? 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.

    2) I wonder what some fool would pay for my above mentioned copy? It is complete with a note from The Woz, offering to lend a hand if I need it, and his phone number. More to the point, I wonder what he'd do today if I contacted him and asked for help building an Apple 1 ... and once finished & working, what THAT would be worth.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A couple questions

      Why do you even care?

      You'll just turn this into another pet subject to bore people to death over. First it was IR35, now it's this...

      Think your life over. It isn't this normal overshare. You're a tedious old bore. I'm asking, nicely, to wind your neck in - God knows you don't want your last years spent making yourself look a cunt to all and sundry.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: A couple questions

        Why the snide nastiness towards Jake? Did he personally piss in your Cheerios or something?

        And in the season of goodwill to all, too? Lighten up and be charitable to your fellow man.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: A couple questions

      Generally it's the provenance that matters more than looking at the actual item.

      If an Apple I board was for sale by an electrical engineer that was well known at the Homebrew meetings and has some sort of original receipt or documentation and other people have seen him playing with it before it recently became valuable - you can be surer it's legit. Probably more reliable than carbon dating capacitors

    3. trist

      Re: A couple questions

      Naah you can cut the single layer circuit boards and count the rings. One for each year. Some gaps are more narrow than others (the Lisa years, when Yobs was in exile at Next, but you get the point). Also there are traces of black turtle neck fibers around the through hole components.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. MrBanana Silver badge

    Three button mouse?

    "Douglas Engelbart's three-button XY mouse"

    I have to assume this was not an exclusively Apple themed auction. Two extra buttons would definitely be a showy extravagance. No mater how useful they are in other, non-fruity operating systems.

    I'm actually surprised that in Apple's strive to minimalism, they haven't yet produced a zero button mouse.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Three button mouse?

      The very first mouse had one button - although the first production model had the correct number of buttons

      1. MrBanana Silver badge

        Re: Three button mouse?

        Heh, those pictures showed some pretty chunky hardware, more Siberian hamster than mouse.

    2. ThomH

      Re: Three button mouse?

      The 2005 Mighty Mouse was Apple's best value product — a mouse with a free trackball, rated for over ten hours of operation before the ball gunked up beyond use.

      The current Magic Mouse can't quite match it for useful lifetime hours; it's a trackpad on top rather than a ball, great, but the crippling RSI will get you in very short notice.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Three button mouse?

        Indeed, my Mighty Mouse lasted all of two months before the "button(s)" broke. Which was just as well because it really screwed with my wrist. I don't know how Apple manage to fail every time when designing mice.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a shame that these relics don't go into a museum to retain the history and inspire future generations, instead of disappearing into some tycoon's man cave.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      I see the point, but I don't know if that matters all that much. A museum holding an original painting can at least show something beautiful to its patrons. A museum holding an original circuit board doesn't look very different from a museum holding a reproduction of the circuit board, which shouldn't be that hard to make. Better yet, a museum holding a reproduction of the circuit board in a glass case and an emulator of the running system next to it, perhaps running software from the time. That would probably be more interesting and educational to patrons.

      It's even less necessary when the item is a bunch of papers that had engineering documentation on them. Most patrons won't want to read all of that anyway, and even if they did, are you going to post them all on the wall? I'm guessing we already have pretty good scans of those which can be published online (or if you insist next to the reproduction and emulator).

      1. jake Silver badge

        "It's even less necessary when the item is a bunch of papers that had engineering documentation on them."

        Ever traveled specifically to see the original work of Leonardo da Vinci? Many people have.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          I can't say I have. Among other things, I can see a diagram of a proto-submarine on a monitor with equal clarity to the paper. I can't do that with a painting or tapestry, which is why I consider them different. Also, that is a diagram which the general public can easily grasp. The papers in this article are very different, and include such details as "five pages of circuit schematics and notes on sheets of graphing paper; six photocopied pages headed 'Bus Sources,' 'System Timing,' 'Display,' 'Sync Timing & Adr. Gen,' and 'Timing,' featuring several annotations; and a 12-page handwritten programming instruction guide consisting of 28 detailed steps." Those things, to me, don't sound special enough that the original is any more special than a copy, especially as a quarter of it is already copied. That's just my opinion, but if I were setting up a museum, I wouldn't be at all concerned with getting the originals and I might not put all of that on display at all, instead opting for the suggested exhibit in my previous comment with a web address available for interested people to read them at their leisure.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Presumably the Book of Kells is just another bible. You have no need to see it because some dude called Gideon left one in the drawer of your hotel room.

  7. Sergey 1

    It belongs in a museum!

    Go home Indiana, you're drunk :D

  8. martinusher Silver badge

    Kind of overpriced, like the Apple itself

    The page in this article shows a speaker driver plus an interface to the cassette tape (one that in true Apple fashion didn't even use minimal hardware to make and decode the audio tones). Hardly worth $27K.

  9. TeeCee Gold badge
    Coat

    "There are 22 more pages like this"

    At the bottom of the last one he's written: "Some sequences shortened and steps omitted.".

  10. JWLong

    Damn, the world was great back then.

  11. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
    Windows

    The paper

    That's an "engineering pad", which was the required paper for homework in the 70s, when I was a student at UMass/Amherst. My gf (now wife) worked summers at National Blank Book in Holyoke (a few miles south of the school) to make money for tuition. She bought several 200 sheet pads of the stuff at employee discount for me every year. To my knowledge, no one else makes this exact kind of paper.

    I was cleaning up and found a pad a few weeks ago. I akso still have the logic template I was required to use to draw circuit diagrams.

    Thanks, I think, for the memories. I doubt my scribblings would bring as much.

    1. jake Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: The paper

      "required paper for homework in the 70s,"

      I've had one in the top left corner drawer of my desk since the '60s, usually attached to a clipboard for note taking on the go.

      "To my knowledge, no one else makes this exact kind of paper."

      Office Depot carries a reasonable facsimile.

      "I doubt my scribblings would bring as much."

      But I'll bet you and I (or others) could spend a couple hours over a beer, laughing with each other at our childhood musings :-)

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