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Apple 1, A Super-Rare Wooden Computer Handcrafted By Jobs, Wozniak, Is Being Auctioned Off

Photo credit: John Moran | Website: johnmoran.com

Anyone interested in bidding on an Apple I handcrafted by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1976 has until 11:30 a.m. PST today to place a bid at John Moran Auctioneers outside of Los Angeles, California.

The vintage Apple-I is one of the few encased in koa wood, which comes from the endemic Hawaiian Acacia koa tree and was popular in the 1970s. The computer was built during the company’s garage start-up days, and it is one of only six known remaining Apple-I machines with a Koa wood case.

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

Paul Terrell, the owner of ByteShop, was reportedly unhappy that Wozniak and Jobs delivered him 50 computer kits rather than assembled units, but the duo persuaded him to accept the order anyway, citing potential profits on peripheral upsells. According to legend, they were desperate for Terrell to accept their order because they had received supplies on credit with the promise of a buyer.

The current owner bought the machine from the original owner, an electronics professor at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, in 1977, according to the auction website. As a result, the machine is referred to as the “Chaffey College Apple-1,” and the current owner was a Chaffey College student.

The machine has been authenticated and restored, with all components inspected, according to the auction house. It has 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 a Datanetics Keyboard Rev D stamped with the date September 21, 1976.

For Apple nerds and potential buyers, the auction house has created a video.

Since 175 of the 200 machines were sold for that price, the original machine was most likely purchased for $666.66. Between $400,000 and $600,000 is expected to be paid for the computer.

An Apple-1 with a non-koa case sold for $375,000 in 2018. When you consider that a Steve Wozniak Apple II doodle sold for over US$630,000 at auction in December 2020, this is chump change.

Accessories to go with the vintage machine

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, and three original video, power, and cassette interface cables are also included in the 16-piece lot.

Following the success of the Apple 1, Jobs and Wozniak released the Apple II (also known as the Apple 2) in 1977, which was also a huge success. The Apple 2 was one of the company’s most profitable products at the time, having been sold for several years. The continued sales of the Apple II are thought to have financed the development of the Macintosh and Lisa projects for years.

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