A few weeks ago, we reported on an impending auction involving one of six known working Apple 1 computers. The New York Times is now reporting that the auction has officially closed with the winning bid checking in at an astounding $671,400. The winning bid set a new record for the Apple 1, eclipsing a previous auction where Apple's first computer netted a $640,000 bid.
"This really confirms the value of Apple-1's," Uwe Breker, the German auctioneer, said in an interview on Saturday.
The buyer, Mr. Breker said, was a wealthy entrepreneur from the Far East, who wishes to remain anonymous.
Part of the allure of the earliest Apple machines, Mr. Breker said, is not what they are, but what they represent. "It is a superb symbol of the American dream," he said. "You have two college dropouts from California who pursued an idea and a dream, and that dream becomes one of the most admired, successful and valuable companies in the world."
Interestingly enough, the Friday story from the Times said that Apple 1 in question was originally owned by Major League Baseball player Fred Hatfield. His nickname? Scrap Iron. However, reporter Steve Lohr amended that identification this weekend when he was contacted by another Fred Hatfield (not the major leaguer; this Fred is a retired electrical engineer living in New Orleans) who was able to prove, by virtue of some signed correspondence with Steve Jobs, that he was in fact the Apple-1's original owner.
Hatfield II got $40,000 for his antique and non-working machine when he sold it to an eager buyer, "a young man from Texas in the software business," who in turn got it functional and auction-ready. Also of note is that the Apple 1 here includes a circuit board signed by Woz, another "upgrade" acquired by the mysterious Texan.
Meanwhile, you can pick up an original iMac on eBay for less than $100. I suppose not everything appreciates in value as it gets older.