Someone just blew over $190k on a 4GB first-gen iPhone
Could've sworn that came out yesterday
OK, going by previous auctions of retro Apple hardware, it's clear that there are fanbois out there benefiting from an infinite money glitch or something – but this is getting ridiculous.
On Sunday, an original 4GB iPhone was sold by Louisiana-based LCG Auctions for $190,372.80 – almost 382 times the RRP of $499 when it was released in 2007, not accounting for inflation.
What strikes us as odd, and maybe it's a sign of getting over the hill, is that 2007 doesn't even feel that long ago, nor does the first Jesus phone have that same nostalgia draw as the iGiant's rickety early computers like the Apple-1 or II, which routinely fetch higher sums when they go under the hammer.
Clearly we're on the wrong side of history here, but before you scramble through your bits-and-bobs drawers of museum-grade tech hoping to find your model, this is a pristine example. The lot description reads:
Our offering is an exceedingly rare, factory sealed, first-release 4GB model in exceptional condition. Virtually flawless along the surface and edges, the factory seal is clean with correct seam details and tightness. Labels on the reverse are correctly pristine beneath the seal. Outstanding color and gloss. Brand new, never activated. The phone's provenance is pristine as the consignor was part of the original engineering team at Apple when the iPhone first launched. Collectors and investors would be hard pressed to find a superior example. Relevance and rarity comprise a winning formula for this red-hot collectible.
There are other factors at play that make the 4GB version the "Holy Grail" for collectors, as LCG Auctions put it. "Its extreme scarcity is directly related to its limited production. Debuting on June 29th, 2007, alongside the 8GB model, the 4GB model was hampered by slow sales. Buyers chose to pay the $100 upcharge in exchange for double the storage space. The lagging sales resulted in Apple making the decision to discontinue the 4GB model on September 5th, 2007, just over two months after it was first released."
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- Apple co-founder Steve Jobs memorialized with online archive of emails, guff
- Apple-1 prototype hand-soldered by Woz up for auction, bids expected to reach $500k
- Super-rare wooden Apple-1 hand built by Jobs and Wozniak goes to auction
Otherwise, the lucky new owner has inherited an expensive brick. Irrespective of it losing value quicker than a 1970s Star Wars action figure if taken out of its packaging, the first iPhone could only handle the 2G cellular network standard and was exclusive to AT&T. The vast majority of apps released after iOS 6 in late September 2012 would not work on the first iPhone either due to updates to the SDK which no longer allowed the targeting of versions prior to iOS 4.3.
First-gen iPhones are sought-after items at auctions, but this one blows the others out of the water. Two factory-sealed 8GB models sold in the last nine months went for $39,339 then $63,356 – the last record.
"Despite the extensive worldwide media exposure our previous sales received and the hundreds of contacts we've had with consumers who thought they had a factory-sealed original iPhone, this is the only 4GB factory-sealed version to surface," said LCG Auctions founder Mark Montero. "Based upon our recent record-setting sales and the fact that the 4GB model is probably 20 times rarer than the 8GB version, we are not surprised it established a new record price but surpassing the $190,000 mark was quite surprising."
We're guessing no one wants to drop six figures on our scratched-up 3GS or 4 then? ®