Macintosh Classic II and triceratops skull on auction: One's a dinosaur, the other has three horns on its face

Christie's 'Science and Natural History' collection isn't joking when it says it's 'a journey in time'


Is the NFT craze dead yet? Right, good, then we can return to a cool auction world where the well-heeled can get their mitts on rather more tangible relics from tech history.

Except Christie's "Science and Natural History" auction isn't just looking at tech history, it's looking at all of history. Literally all of it.

We're talking about lots from millions upon millions of years ago, culminating in the holy centrepiece – a Macintosh Classic II from the early '90s.

But this isn't just a fugly beige box with beige keyboard and mouse. This is a fugly beige box signed by our lord and saviour Steven Paul Jobs (peace be upon him).

Oh, and the Steve who isn't Jobs (Apple co-founder Wozniak) has also laid his fair hands upon the primitive personal computer to inscribe his sacred name.

The Macintosh Classic II was sold between 1991 and 1993, powered by a 16MHz Motorola 68030 CPU boasting a 40 or 80MB hard disk with a choice between 2 or 4MB of RAM. It would have set you back an eye-watering $1,899 or $2,399 depending on the configuration.

Old habits die hard for Apple, it would seem, but this specimen is now expected to fetch 20,000 to 30,000 Great British Pounds, with bidding starting at £16,000.

Talking of fossils, however, though the British auctioneer is pitching the Mac as one of the more exciting items on sale – and it's true that historical Apple memorabilia garners a lot of interest from collectors – it really isn't.

You see, for some reason, the immaculate skull of a juvenile triceratops from the Hell Creek Formation in Montana is also being flogged alongside the computer.

Macintosh Classic II and triceratops skull

Left: Fossil. Right: Also fossil

We're not so certain about the technical specs of the triceratops because the dinosaurs vanished a long, long time ago, but we do know it ate plants, had three horns on its face, a fetching neck collar, and is a firm favourite among four-year-olds.

The fossilised skull blows the Mac out of the water for price – expected to collect between £300,000 and £500,000. A lot of people have a distaste for Apple's products and behaviour, but who doesn't like dinosaurs?

It doesn't stop there. Christie's says the auction "comprises a journey in time, from the present day to the formation of the solar system 4.5 billion years ago, celebrating the milestones along the way, from fine scientific instruments made to study the cosmos through to sculptural meteorites from beyond our planet."

And they aren't wrong: lots range from beautiful meteorites to "extraterrestrial" crystal formations, insect fossils to megalodon teeth, through to fascinating NASA and space imagery that would look incredible on the wall of any armchair astronomer's study.

There are also "gogottes", which look like coprolite (fossil poop) but are actually formed "from quartz crystals and calcium carbonate" and produced "when superheated water extruded through crevices into a basin of extremely fine white silicate sand," sayeth Fine Fossils. In any case, a fine addition to the coffee table (if you have a few grand to spare).

At this rate, the Macintosh Classic II is a veritable snoozefest compared to the rest of the items on sale.

C-suite execs (we know you're reading), go have a gander and let us know what you plan on picking up. The rest of you, tell us what you'd like to bid for if you could. The auction closes on 26 October. ®

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