Newly Discovered Apple-1 is Up and Running at Bonhams

New York—The most iconic lot to be offered in Bonhams' History of Science auction on October 22 will be a historic Apple-1 Computer, estimated at $300,000-500,000.

The Apple-1 is widely acknowledged as the herald of the personal computer revolution, being the first pre-assembled personal computer ever sold. This example is one of 50 hand-built for the ByteShop by Steve Wozniak in the summer of 1976 in Steve Jobs’ garage (or possibly his sister’s bedroom). At the time, only a handful of people could conceive of how a personal computer might be considered useful, let alone desirable. Now, not even 40 years later, it boggles the imagination to think of life without them.

The director of the fine books and manuscripts department at Bonhams in New York, Christina Geiger, said, “It is a great privilege to be selling this Apple-1 at auction. It has exceptional provenance and condition.”

She added, “Moreover, it will be the first Apple-1 to be publicly exhibited for auction in the Bay Area. It is very gratifying to think of this computer returning to within 40 miles of its birthplace.” The Apple-1 will be on preview at Bonhams San Francisco from September 19-21.

This example comes from the family of John Anderson, founder of the Cincinnati AppleSiders. He acquired it circa 1980 and very early on understood its importance as a historical artifact, keeping it under glass since 1989. There are only about 15 Apple-1s which have been successfully operated since 2000, and of those, this is the only one Bonhams knows of which operates without any replacement parts or modifications to its motherboard. It was booted up in August of 2014 by Apple-1 expert Corey Cohen.

Cohen said, “This is one of the best examples of a working early Apple-1 board that I have seen. The condition is unlike the other Apple-1 computers that have come up for sale before. This one has had no modifications ever performed or removed; even the screws on the power regulators aren’t heat cycled.”

Cohen is a member of the board of directors for the Mid-Atlantic Retro Computing Hobbyists Museum at the InfoAge Science Center in New Jersey.

In addition to the beautifully intact motherboard, this Apple operates with John Anderson’s original keyboard, power supply and Sanyo monitor. The lot also includes ephemera from the Cincinnati AppleSiders such as their first newsletter “Poke-Apple” from February of 1979 and a video recording of Steve Wozniak’s keynote speech at the 1980 “Applevention.”

The auction will be on preview in San Francisco from September 19-21 and in New York from September 18-22. 

Further details about this sale will be featured online in weeks preceding the auction at www.bonhams.com/auctions/22247/.

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