Steve Jobs’ original Apple 1 computer prototype is up for auction

July 27, 2022

An historic computer prototype that once belonged to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has been listed for auction, reports Fox Business. 

The 1976 prototype—which was called the  Apple 1  —was hand-soldered by co-founder Steve Wozniak, according to RR Auction—a Boston-based auction house.

Jobs reportedly presented the Apple 1 to Paul Terrell, the world’s first personal computer retail shop owner.

The Apple 1’s demonstration is said to have happened at Terrell’s computer store, which was named The Byte Shop, in Mountain View, California—and the demo led Terrell to request a fully assembled computer that would later be sold for $666.66.

Eventually, Terrell submitted a purchase order of 50 Apple 1 computers.

“That was the biggest single episode in all of the company’s history,” said Wozniak, the computer engineer who designed the Apple 1 and Apple 2.

“Nothing in subsequent years was so great and so unexpected,” he told RR Auction.

The current owner of the Apple 1 prototype hasn’t been named, but RR Auction reports that the anonymous seller obtained it from Jobs approximately 30 years ago. RR Auction said the prototype was soldered onto a “unique ‘Apple Computer A’ printed circuit board” and matches Polaroid photographs Terrell snapped in the 1970s.

“The board’s present condition lends some insight into Jobs’ opinion of it: He saw the prototype not as something to be enshrined, but as something to be repurposed,” the auction house wrote in its product listing. “Several of the ICs have been plucked from their sockets, as have the microprocessor and other components—presumably for use on early production Apple 1 computers.”

Although the prototype is missing pieces and has visible cracks on its upper right side, RR Auction said the computer’s new owner can recreate components based on the photographs Terrell captured.

The auction for the prototype will close on Thursday, August 18, at 7 p.m. (EDT).

RR Auction estimates the prototype has a $500,000 value. So far, 15 bids have been placed.

“There is no Apple 1 without this prototype board — it’s the holy grail of Steve Jobs and Apple memorabilia,” said Bobby Livingston, executive vice president at RR Auction, in an email to Fox Business.

As of Monday, July 25, the leading bid is $278,005.

Research contact: @FoxBusiness