If you've half a million pounds burning a hole in your pocket, get thee to the web site of posh auction house Christie's and place a bid on an Apple 1 going under the hammer on October 29th.
Christie's says the machine is one of only about 50 known to exist, of the 200-odd hand-made by Steves Jobs and Wozniak. This one hasn't been turned on since 2005, so it's sold with a caveat that “We assume it could be brought up to working order again … but we recommend a certified engineer attempt this.” The computer looks sound enough, save for “One chip at B12 incorrectly inserted” and some “Scratches to motherboard by loose securing screw in bottom left not affecting circuitry.”
If you've access to the £240,000 Christie's says you'll need just to make the first bid, or the £300,000-£500,000 (about US$775,000 or AU$1.05m) it thinks the computer will fetch, you'll also get manuals including “the extremely rare first manual issued by the Apple Computer Company.” There's also what looks like a CD-ROM in the illustrations of the machine, an oddity given that medium wasn't widely available when the Apple 1 stopped shipping in 1977.
The computer itself is packs a 6502 CPU, 8kb of RAM in 16-pin 4K memory chips, original 3 “Big-Blue” power supply capacitors, firmware in PROMS (A1, A2), low-profile sockets on all integrated circuits, and an original Apple cassette interface card.
The Apple 1 is on sale as part of an auction dubbed "Seven Centuries of Science". Other items that may interest readers include an Enigma machine, a lovely brass astrolabe and a cylindrical slide rule.
The last time we covered an Apple 1 going on sale it fetched US$905,000. Christie's recommended price may therefore be on the skinny side. ®