Auctions | November 3, 2014

Christie’s to Offer the “Ricketts” Apple-1 on December 11 in New York

New York—On December 11, Christie’s is honored to offer an American cultural icon,  ‘The Ricketts’ Apple-1 Personal Computer, as part of the auction house’s inaugural Exceptional Sale in New York, taking place December 11 at Rockefeller Center. Named after its first owner Charles Ricketts, this example is the only known surviving Apple-1 documented to have been sold directly by Steve Jobs to an individual from his parents’ garage. It is estimated at $400,000 - 600,000, the highest estimate yet for an original Apple-1 offered at auction.

23 years after Ricketts bought the Apple-1 from Jobs in Los Altos, it was acquired by Bruce Waldack, a freshly minted entrepreneur who’d just sold his company DigitalNation.  The Ricketts Apple-1 was auctioned at a sheriff’s sale of Waldack’s property at a self-storage facility in Virginia in 2004, and won by the present consigner, the American collector, Bob Luther.

  • The Ricketts Apple-1 is fully operational, having been serviced and started by Apple-1 expert Corey Cohen in October 2014. Mr. Cohen ran the standard original software program, Microsoft BASIC, and also an original Apple-1 Star Trek game in order to test the machine.
  • The computer will be sold with the cancelled check from the original garage purchase on July 27, 1976 made out to Apple Computer by Charles Ricketts for $600, which Ricketts later labeled as “Purchased July 1976 from Steve Jobs in his parents’ garage in Los Altos”. 
  • A second cancelled check for $193 from August 5, 1976 is labeled “Software NA Programmed by Steve Jobs August 1976”. Although Jobs is not usually thought of as undertaking much of the programming himself, many accounts of the period place him in the middle of the action, soldering circuits and clearly making crucial adjustments for close customers, as in this case.
  • These checks were later used as part of the evidence for the City of Los Altos to designate the Jobs family home at 2066 Crist Drive as a Historic Resource, eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, and copies can be found in the Apple Computer archives at Stanford University Libraries.

In addition to the Ricketts Apple-1, the sale will include The Ron Wayne Apple Archive ($30,000-50,000). Ron Wayne co-founded Apple Computer, together with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1976. Wayne left the partnership 11 days after the company was formed, but remained a consultant to the enterprise and left a significant mark on the company having drafted fundamental documents and Apple’s first logo.  Coming directly from Ron Wayne, the archive comprises the original working proofs of the Apple-1 Operation Manual, with his original company logo. This proof page of the logo may be the oldest copy of an Apple logo in existence. Wayne possessed and retained these proof copies because he laid out the entire design and contents of the Manual, in partnership with Steve Jobs. The lot will also include design renderings, bluelines, sketches and diagrams for a proposed Apple II personal computer cabinet.