Super-rare wooden Apple 1 hand built by Jobs and Wozniak goes to auction

Expect to shell out around $500k to take it home

Anyone interested in an Apple I hand built by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak circa 1976 has until 11:30 am PST today to make a bid as the rare computer goes up for auction at John Moran Auctioneers outside Los Angeles, California.

The vintage machine is one of the few Apple-I versions encased in koa wood, from the Acacia koa tree that is endemic to Hawaii and was fashionable in the 1970s. The computer was made during the company’s garage start-up days and is only one of six known remaining Koa wood case Apple-I machines in existence.

Turns out that koa wood case wasn’t a stroke of genius from Wozniak and Jobs, but rather an addition from the world’s first personal computer retailer, ByteShop, in Mountain View, California.

The owner at ByteShop, Paul Terrell, was allegedly unhappy that Wozniak and Jobs delivered him an order of 50 computer kits instead of assembled units, but the not yet bajillionaire duo talked him into accepting the order anyway, citing potential profits on peripheral upsells. Legend has it they really needed Terrell to accept their order as they had received supplies through credit on the promise they had a buyer.

According to the auction website, the current owner purchased the machine from the original owner, an electronics professor at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, in 1977. The machine is therefore listed as the “Chaffey College Apple-1.” The current owner was a student of the Chaffey College professor.

The auction house said the machine has undergone authentication and restoration with all components inspected. It comes with an NTI motherboard stamped “Apple Computer 1 / Palo Alto, CA Copyright 1976” with original Sprague 39D capacitors, original power regulators, rare original “Circle D” ceramic .01 capacitors and an Apple Cassette Adapter in that koa wood case with Datanetics Keyboard Rev D stamped with the date Sept 21, 1976.

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Other pieces in the 16 piece lot are connecting cable and power supply, 1986 Panasonic video monitor, Apple-1 Basic Manual, Apple-1 Operations Guide, original MOS 6502 programming manual, two Apple-1 software cassette tapes with period hand-written index card detailing Apple-1 loading software memory locations, as well as three original video, power and cassette interface cables.

The auction house has a video for Apple nerds and interested buyers:

Youtube Video

The original machine was likely purchased for US$666.66 as 175 of the 200 went for that price. The computer is expected to fetch between US$400,000 and US$600,000.

In 2018, an Apple-1 in a non-koa case sold for US$375,000. Chump change, really, when you consider a Steve Wozniak Apple II doodle went for over US$630,000 at auction in December 2020. ®

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