Apple fans are often mocked for paying over the odds for under-powered kit, but even its most loyal customers would surely baulk at splashing out £80,000 for a machine with just 4KB of memory.
So the Apple device set to be auctioned at Christie's this autumn looks set to really test people's willingness to spend big on the company's products – the computer in question is a rare Apple I.
The Apple I line was hand-built in 1976 by company co-founder Steve Wozniak, with Steve Jobs set the task of finding buyers. Of the 200 Apple I kits sold, just 50 are believed to still exist. The last time auction house Christies sold an Apple I in 2010, it raised £133,000 – although that lot came with the promise that Woz would autograph the kit for the winning bidder.
This time round, the Apple I comes from the estate of former Apple worker Joe Copson and bears the serial number “22”, but is missing its DRAM. Christie's estimates it will sell for between £50,000 and £80,000.
“This is the computer that started Apple, now recognised as the most valuable company in the world; its significance in making computer technology accessible for all cannot be undervalued," said James Hyslop, scientific specialist at Christie’s.
Copson's machine was originally listed for sale on eBay, with a $170,000 price tag, although it failed to sell.
According to one Apple I blog, the eBay listing for Copson's kit includes a keyboard as the original Apple I set needed buyers to add casing, power supplies video displays and keyboards to turn it in to a fully-working machine.
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