Apple-1 Registry's list of all known successful auctions. The Apple-1 Registry is a non-profit website.
Any Apple-1 auction draws a lot of attention. It is the historic value everyone is aware of, and of course the high auction results.
Rarely an Apple-1 computer is for sale. Because of many inquiries about the value of the first Apple computer from 1976, here is a short evaluation.
The auction results are often a surprise. Even more or less equal (in terms of condition and accessories) Apple-1 sometimes achieve very different results in the same year. As it is at any auction- it is a matter of luck and the people attending. Sometimes a dog fight between two bidders pushes the price a lot. Anyway, a collector’s item is worth as much as someone is willing to pay.
For better understanding everything is converted to US$. Price should be hammer price including buyers premium but excluding possible taxes or import taxes.
First time more than a Million US$: In 2016 the buyer of so called Celebration Apple-1 stated in interviews that he would have payed 1.2 Million (some sources say 1.6 Million US$) if necessary.
|2000||VCF 4.0||#49 in the Registry - Ray Borrill||2nd||US$ 14,000|
|2002||VCF||#12 in the Registry - 2002 VCF auction||1st||US$ 14,000|
|Oct. 2009||eBay buy it now||#59 in the Registry - Postman||2nd||US$ 17,950|
|Nov. 2009||eBay||#41 in the Registry - Frank Anderson||2nd||US$ 50,000||Link|
|Mar. 2010||eBay||#21 in the Registry - Huston brothers 1||1st||US$ 42,766||Link|
|Aug. 2010||O’Gallerie Portland,
|#08 in the Registry - Framed #1 of 4||1st||?||Link|
|Sept. 2010||eBay||#37 in the Registry - Hatfield||2nd||US$ 22,766|
|Nov. 2010||Christie’s London||#41 in the Registry - Frank Anderson
|June 2012||eBay||#85 in the Apple-1 Registry - Huston brothers 2||1st||US$ 75,600|
|June 2012||Sotheby’s NYC||#37 in the Registry - Hatfield||2nd||US$ 374,500||Link|
|Nov. 2012||Breker Germany||#40 in the Registry - Framed #2 of 4||2nd||US$ 627,000||Link|
|May 2013||Breker Germany||#37 in the Registry - Hatfield||2nd||US$ 671,400||Link|
|July 2013||Christie’s Online||#18 in the Registry - Byte Shop 25||1st||US$ 387,750||Link|
|Nov. 2013||Breker Germany||#17 in the Registry - Framed #4 of 4||1st||US$ 340,000||Link|
|June 2014||Christie’s NYC||#86 in the Registry - Byte Shop 83||1st||US$ 87,500||Link|
|Oct. 2014||Bonhams NYC||#19 in the Registry - John Anderson
(buyer was the Henry Ford museum)
|Dec. 2014||Christie’s NYC||#30 in the Registry - Ricketts||1st||US$ 365,000||Link|
|Apr. 2015||eBay||#31 in the Registry - Copson||1st||US$ 236,100||Link|
|Sept. 2015||Bonhams NYC||#72 in the Registry - Romkey||1st||US$ 365,000||Link|
|Oct. 2015||Christie's London||#34 in the Registry - Torzewski||1st||Link|
|May 2016||Breker Germany||#14 in the Registry - Dryden
(After auction 350,000 US$ were offered)
|June 2016||eBay||#76 in the Registry - eBay 2016
(low price due to condition of the auction)
|Aug. 2016||Charitybuzz NYC||#75 in the Registry - Celebration
(new owner was willing to bid well over 1 Million US$)
|June 2017||Christie’s NYC||#73 in the Registry - VanGilluwe||2nd||US$ 355,500||Link|
|Sept. 2017||Charitybuzz NYC||#58 in the Registry - Schoolsky||2nd||US$ 401,000||Link|
|Dec. 2017||Bonhams NYC||#74 in the Registry - Steve Fish||1st||US$ 372,000||Link|
|June 2018||Charitybuzz NYC||#23 in the Registry - Duston 2||1st||sold after auction||Link|
|Sept. 2018||RR Auction||#78 in the Registry - West Coast||1st||US$ 375,000||Link|
|Dec. 2018||Bonhams NYC||#80 in the Registry - Byte Shop 44||1st||US$ 237,500||Link|
|Mar. 2019||Bonhams NYC||#83 in the Registry - Flatiron||2nd||US$ 122,566||Link|
|May 2019||Christie's Online||#10 in the Registry - Rick Conte||1st||US$ 475,000||Link|
|Mar. 2020||RR Auction||#86 in the Registry - Softwarehouse||2nd||US$ 458,711||Link|
|Dec. 2020||RR Auction||#92 in the Registry - Chicago||2nd||US$ 736,862.50||Link|
|Nov. 2021||John Moran
|#94 in the Registry - Chaffey||2nd||US$ 500,000||Link|
|June 2021||eBay||#89 in the Registry - Schlumberger 2
(according to the seller 2 bidders wanted to bid up
to 400k but could not because of technical problems)
|June 2021||RR Auction||#12 in the Registry - 2002 VCF auction||1st||US$ 468,750||Link|
|August 2021||RR Auction||#2 in the Registry - Production Prototype||A||US$ 677,196||Link|
|Dec. 2022||RR Auction||#78 in the Registry - West Coast||1st||US$ 442,118||Link|
|August 2023||RR Auction||#103 in the Registry - Framingham||2nd||US$ 223,520||Link|
Apple-1 computers and accessories occasionally change hands at auctions, in private deals or by donation. In the early years of Apple, some Apple-1 are given as a gift by Steve Jobs to some employees.
In a few years the Apple-1 market will dry out. More and more Apple-1 are bequeathed or donated to museums. Some are bought by museums or companies.
Because of many inquiries about the value of an Apple-1, here is a short evaluation.
Prices for vintage computer will rise, no doubt. For the same reason like art: It is of historical / collectors value, the number is limited and declining.
Apple-1 of the first batch are older (of course) and some have a serial number handwritten by Steve Jobs.
Many times, after auction with lower than expected results too hastily conclusions are seen everywhere.
Like 'it was a bad Apple-1'. But no 'bad' Apple-1 exist, those are all unique and valuable. Like 'the Steve Jobs hype is over'. Steve Jobs death had an influence, but it was more a wake-up call to see the high value of rare and unique vintage computer.
Often other factors play a role. Sometimes the real reasons are known to the curator of the Apple-1 Registry but it is confidential. It has mostly nothing to do with the Apple-1 itself. Not everyone is looking for an Apple-1, that was cleaned and/or modified to make it look better.
Watch out for auctions. Sometimes auctions are not easy to find. You may create an account at auction houses listed here on this page and try to get informed if any Apple-1 shows up.
You may use automatic notification from google by using 'Google Alerts'.
For private deals, you could ask us.
The question of selling an Apple-1 is asked repeatedly. Here is a guide and some information. All possibilities have pro and cons. Think globally. Buyers are scattered around the world. The main problem is to let potential buyers know that an Apple-1 is up for sale. More bidders meansmore competition and the pressure to any bidder is high because an Apple-1 is extremely rare.
Auction houses attracting many bidders. A well-known auction house and those who already sold Apple-1 and/or vintage computers could help a lot.
The popularity and public interest are the big plus of selling through an auction house. And you have more or less nothing to do with the sale. Often the media report intensively on auctions. Auction houses occasionally go on the offensive here and advertise auctions.
If there is broad and, above all, worldwide coverage, the chance of finding several interested parties increases exponentially.
If there is too little or too short notice, only a few potential bidders may hear about the auction. This may lead to fewer bids. There have been auctions that were announced months in advance, but unfortunately also those where an announcement was made only a few days before the auction.
In any auction, it is naturally important that there is not only one bidder with strong purchasing power. Only bidders who outbid each other lead to high results. Enough examples are known where the buyer would have paid double the price, but there were no competing bidders willing to match.
The seller can set a starting price and a reserve (minimum bid). A reserve may scare away bidders because the amount is usuall unknown. On the other hand, it is a protection. If the seller needs the money, a reserve may mean that you have to start an auction again. Fewer people may then bid on a computer that did not achieve the reserve once before. The press and populist bloggers are then at work.
In an auction, everything has to work. If there are technical problems during the auction or if a bidder has problems with the internet (many bidders bid online) or the auction house's website at the time of the auction fails, the result will be lower.
An Apple-1 can be advertised with few lines of text and few pictures or elaborately with a lot of information and many pictures. Depending on the potential buyers, this can make an enormous difference.
The contract concluded between the seller and the auction house should be checked carefully. The same goes for the auction text. Here there were outstanding as well as embarrassing and faulty examples. The seller should do the final check and at least ask an expert to check the text. It would be fatal, embarrassing and scare away bidders if, for example, it says (as happened) that Steve Jobs designed, built and hand-soldered the Apple-1 in his garage.
The seller should think carefully about how much emphasis is placed on superlatives in the description. The best, rarest, best of all eventually becomes tiring to read for bidders.
Costs of an auction: In an auction, a premium (auction fee) is payable by the buyer. Usually between 25% and 30%. The seller also pays a commission to the auction house. Usually between 5% and 20% and in some cases it is waived.
A condition report or appraisal from an expert usually costs 5 figures. You are lucky if someone with a good reputation will write it for less or free. If repairs or other work are necessary, the costs quickly become high. The buyer usually pays the costs of any condition report /appraisal, repairs and reconditioning. However, there have been cases where the auction house has covered the costs.
The auction house eBay has a different price structure. Here, the buyer pays no fee, but the seller does. According to sellers of Apple-1 2-5%.
Whether eBay will attract as many potential buyers as traditional auction houses is unpredictable. A certain clientele will certainly have their eye on the auction catalogues of the old-established auction houses. On the other hand, eBay gets a lot of publicity from unusual auctions.
Other services provided by the auction house may also be charged to the buyer. E.g. better advertising in the auction catalogue, highlighting on websites, booked TV time and other advertising.
If you want a forensic examinations of the handwritten serial number on the back of the Apple-1 of the 1st batch, 5-digit costs are to be expected. These are paid by the seller or, if applicable, the auction house.
Keep in mind the costs to deliver the Apple-1 to the auction house. Maybe they will pick it up, maybe not. You will not ship it without insurance and only a few companies handle such high values. The buyer has the same problem. Shipping from the auction house is expensive. To deliver and pick-up the Apple-1 is an option.
Don't forget the sales tax (if there is any for you). And the buyer may have to pay import tax.
In a private sale there are no auction fees and no (or low) commission for a mediator (if there is any). Seller and buyer pay no premium (auction fee). If the seller does not find a buyer himself, intermediaries are an opportunity. A mediator takes no or a few percent brokerage fee.
Either way, the problem is to find a buyer who will pay the desired selling price. In contrast to an auction house, the media echo is low. If you want to be anonymous, you need an mediator. You or the mediator must have a good reputation. Either the sale happens through mediator, contacts or advertising in social media, on websites or through the press.
In contrast to a sale via an auction house, it can take a long time or never work.
At an auction, with a little luck, there is a fierce competition between two bidders and the result can be far above expectations. But this is purely a matter of luck. In a private sale, this lucky coincidence would only exist if two parties absolutely wanted to be the winner here as well.
If you want a forensic examinations of the handwritten serial number on the back of the Apple-1 of the 1st batch, 5-digit costs are to be expected. These are paid by the seller. An appraisal on the computer itself costs the same as at auction. An appraisal is often not necessary for private sales.
A donation is a noble cause. Unless the owner of an Apple-1 needs the money from a potential sale or wants to donate for other reasons, there are many museums that would be happy to own an Apple-1.
There is only one catch, which should definitely be taken into account. The donor usually wants to see the Apple-1 in an exhibition and that is the problem. A museum often needs a preparation time to even take in an object and exhibit it.
This can be quick or it can take years. Most objects end up in storage and only a fraction can be exhibited. An Apple-1 is rare, but absolutely no guarantee that the computer will actually be exhibited permanently or even occasionally.
There are Apple-1s that have been donated to museums but are now in a box in a warehouse. If necessary, it can be contractually agreed with the museum that the computer will actually be permanently accessible in the exhibition.
Of course, a donation to an association is also conceivable. Here, too, the question remains as to who will be granted access to the computer and whether this will be permanent. Once donated, an association can also sell the computer at some point or make it accessible to only a few people.
Collectors, enthusiasts, museums and investors. Among the collectors there are private and institutional ones. If the sale price is the main concern, it is not important for the seller who gets the computer.
If there are emotional factors, only a private sale can guarantee the buyer what he/she expects. Of course, this is also only the case if the buyer does not later resell the computer himself.
There are some cases where an Apple-1 was bought and only a short time later resold it in an auction.
Beware, on the paper a private sale looks great. But the challenge is to find a buyer. For many owner of an Apple-1 it might be easier and better to go to an auction house. But keep an eye on the costs.
To put it simply, with an auction house there is only negotiation with the auction house, after which you put the Apple-1 on the counter and hope for a good sale. With a private sale, you have to talk to buyers and negotiate or use a mediator.
|Topic||Auction house||Private sale|
|Time factor||Fixed date||Unpredictable, maybe never|
|Risk||A range can be predicted. But in the end it is unpredictable and can only be cushioned by a reserve||None|
|Sale proceeds||Only predictable to a small extent, otherwise sometimes a matter of luck||Negotiable and sale for a fixed price|
|Costs for the seller||Mostly 5-20%, sometimes nothing. eBay 2-5%. Don't forget the sales tax (if there is any for you).||None or a commission to a mediator. Don't forget the sales tax (if there is any for you).|
|Costs for the buyer||Mostly 25-30%. eBay none - depending on the payment method some additional fees. The buyer may have to pay import tax.||None or a commission to a mediator. The buyer may have to pay import tax.|
|Additional costs||Costs may be incurred for a condition report, repairs, maintenance, advertising.||Costs may be incurred for a condition report, repairs, maintenance.|
|Example for an Apple-1 sold for US$ 400,000||The seller receives between 320k and 400k of the 400k.
The buyer pays between 500k and 520k including the premium to the auction house.
The auction house receives 100k to 200k.
In the worst case, the buyer receives 320k and the buyer pays 520k.
In the best case, the seller receives 400k and the buyer pays 500k.
At eBay the buyer pays 400k and the seller receives between 380k and 392k.
All minus any additional costs for condition report / appraisal, repairs, advertising, etc.!
|The buyer pays only the negotiated sales price or maybe a commission to a mediator.
All minus any additional costs for condition report / appraisal, repairs, etc.!
Here is a list of auction houses known to have sold at least two Apple-1 (in alphabetical order):
Auction Team Breker (Germany)
Bonhams (UK, USA, HKG)
CharityBuzz (UK, USA etc.)
Christie’s (UK, USA)
RR Auction (USA)
For private deals you may contact the Apple-1 Registry.
Obviously the provenance of an Apple-1 is important. Ask for a written report. Try to get information, if recently parts were replaced with date correct parts or maybe “near correct” parts were added to make it look better. Sometimes the first owner modified an Apple-1. Most Apple-1 were modified just because to make it usable as a computer for computer enthusiasts. If those modifications are replaced by other modifications just for auction to make it look better or more “original”, then it is up to the buyers preference.
Auctions are business and everyone is looking for the best result. Make sure you try to get all available information beforehand. If available, compare old pictures and pictures from previous auctions to see differences. Look at the Apple-1 Registry to see the history of an Apple-1.
An absolutely confidential list will be hold at the Apple-1 Registry. Sellers and buyers can contact the Apple-1 Registry. Sellers can describe everything and send it by e-mail to the Apple-1 Registry. As soon as a prospective buyer contacts the Apple-1 Registry, the seller gets the contact information. Everything else is up to the seller. The buyer will never get any information about the seller from the Apple-1 Registry.
Official and public offer
After sending information to the Apple-1 Registry by e-mail we can publish your offer on this website. You can still be anonymous. Any e-mail of potential buyer will be forwarded.
Only original Apple-1 and original accessories, manuals, advertisements and related items may be offered.
Information needed from seller
E-Mail address (confidential), what you have on offer and include some pictures. You can also add an asking price.
Information needed from buyer
Price range, contact details including full name, e-mail address, phone number and a proof that this is a serious request.
If you need an NDA click here.
Any e-mail that seems to be fake will be ignored.
We appreciate your help:
Please spread the word about the Apple-1 Registry by adding a link to your social media account and/or website. Contact us, if you have new information about any Apple-1 or Apple-1 (parts) for sale.
You can link to the Apple-1 Registry. Any form of reprint or reproduction (including excerpts) only with written permission of the Apple-1 Registry. Here you find press releases and images free to use under CC BY-SA 4.0.