Steve Jobs’ Apple-1 prototype sells for $677,196 at auction

By | August 21, 2022

An authenticated Apple-1 computer prototype used by Steve Jobs was bought for $677,196 at an auction by a Bay Area collector who wishes to remain anonymous. Jobs used the prototype to demonstrate the computer to Paul Terrel, owner of the Byte Shop in Mountain View California, which was one of the first personal computer stores in the world.

According to RR Auction, this demonstration led to Apple’s first big order and changed the course of the company’s future. Jobs and Steve Wozniak had initially conceived the Apple-1 as part of a $40 DIY (do-it-yourself) kit for hobbyists. But Terrel requested them to change it to a fully-assembled computer sold at $666.66.

In order to authenticate the board, it was first matched to Polaroid photographs taken by Terrell in 1976, which showed the prototype in use. “In conversations with Paul Terrell, after reviewing the images, we both agreed that he photographed this Apple-1 prototype while it was fully operational in the Byte Shop in 1976,” said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction, in a press statement.

This prototype is covered on the Apple-1, where it is listed as #2. It was also authenticated by Corey Cohen, an Apple-1 expert. Cohen produced a notarised thirteen-page report that was sold along with the prototype.

This particular Apple-1 prototype is of historical significance because it marked a turning point for a company that would later go on to become a multi-trillion dollar business. At the time, Wozniak had no intention to exploit the design for profit and he had already given away the computer’s design to the Homebrew Computer Club. But it as Jobs and also Terrell who played an instrumental role in turning it into a full-blown personal computer that would put Apple on the trajectory to where it is today.

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