By: John Roberts
|Vintage Apple-1 computer|
$374,500 worth of history.
With the stroke of a hammer, a veteran of the auction house Sotheby 's Selby Kiffer sold a crop of Apple-1 computer to an unidentified buyer, expelling the previous record price of $212,000 to an Italian collector two years ago.
"My God,'' said Sellam Ismail, a software developer and amateur at Livermore computer who keeps an index of about 50 survivors of Apple-1 computers. I could hardly stop laughing when I heard the news." This is almost double what the buyer in Italy paid and that came with a letter signed by Steve Jobs!
"I think now we will see a lot of guys out there willing to part with their Apple-1 loved ones by saying to themselves," Holy cow, I can retire now.'' '
Sotheby's had estimated that the iconic price for the Apple-1 which is in working condition and comes with a manual, keyboard and other accessories could raise up to $180,000. Of the 200 handmade machines that were originally sold for $666.66 each, only a handful of the 50 survivors are believed to be in good condition.
Given their status as stars in the history of the computer, the Apple-1 has become a real collector's item around the world. And the sale price on Friday was probably strengthened by the death of the co-founder Steve Jobs and Apple's spectacular popularity of its product line of culture change.
Seconds after announcing Lot 57, Kiffer was already receiving offers of more than $200,000 from bidders in the auction house in New York, and other callers on the phone. "Two hundred fifty thousand,'' said Kiffer, dressed in an elegant black suit and tie for internal audiences and online. In seconds, it was $280,000, then $300,000 then $ 310,000 by a telephone bidder.
Then BAM! The so-called "hammer price'' was locked in posterity $374,500.