Apple 1 Computer Apple 1 Motherboard, with label "Apple Computer 1 / Palo Alto. Ca. Copyright 1976."
Lot 111
Apple 1 Computer
Apple 1 Motherboard, with label "Apple Computer 1 / Palo Alto. Ca. Copyright 1976."
Sold for US$ 372,500 inc. premium

Lot Details
Apple 1 Computer Apple 1 Motherboard, with label "Apple Computer 1 / Palo Alto. Ca. Copyright 1976." Apple 1 Computer Apple 1 Motherboard, with label "Apple Computer 1 / Palo Alto. Ca. Copyright 1976." Apple 1 Computer Apple 1 Motherboard, with label "Apple Computer 1 / Palo Alto. Ca. Copyright 1976." Apple 1 Computer Apple 1 Motherboard, with label "Apple Computer 1 / Palo Alto. Ca. Copyright 1976." Apple 1 Computer Apple 1 Motherboard, with label "Apple Computer 1 / Palo Alto. Ca. Copyright 1976."
Apple 1 Computer
Apple 1 Motherboard, with label "Apple Computer 1 / Palo Alto. Ca. Copyright 1976." Includes circuit board with four rows A-D, and columns 1-18, MOS Technologies 6502 microprocessor, labeled MCS 6502 5176; keyboard interface and connector; 8K bytes RAM in 16-pin 4K memory chips; 4 power supplies including 3 capacitors; firmware in PROMS (A1, A2); low-profile sockets on all integrated circuits; inked in security pen "01-0028" on underside; heatsink; expansion connector; cassette board connector; and original cassette interface, labeled Apple 1 Cassette Interface Copyright 1976 with "NTI" lettered in triangle on component side, overall approximately 15 x 9 x 2½ inches.
WITH: Datanetics Rev-D keyboard (dated 1977); Sanyo VM4209 monitor; custom walnut case with power supply and cooling fan. Lot also includes two period cassette recorders and facsimile owner's manual, and original Synertec SY6500/MCS6500 Microcomputer Family Programming Manual, August 1976. Computer was operational as of February 2017; a video of that operation is linked to the online description of this lot at http://www.bonhams.com/video/24739/. It was examined, operated and restored by Corey Cohen, Apple-1 expert. Mr. Cohen notes the Apple-1 is currently in 8.5 (out of 10) condition. See condition report for further information.
Provenance: Steve Fish, 1977, purchased from Computer Playground in Westminster, CA; Sold by Fish to current owner in 2005.

APPLE-1 COMPUTER WITH EXCEPTIONAL PROVENANCE AND IN BEAUTIFUL, WORKING CONDITION.

The Apple-1 computer is the first pre-assembled personal computer to come to market, heralding the dawn of the personal computer revolution. Steve Wozniak, in his autobiography, recounts: "I didn't realize it at the time, but that day, Sunday, June 29, 1975, was pivotal. It was the first time in history anyone had typed a character on a keyboard and seen it show up on their own computer's screen right in front of them" (p 166).
The story of its production and sale has become one of the most potent legends in 20th century history. "People who saw my computer could take one look at it and see the future. And it was a one-way door. Once you went through it, you could never go back" (Wozniak p 168).

Wozniak and Steve Jobs demonstrated the breakthrough design at the Homebrew Computer Club in Palo Alto. The next day, the ever enterprising Jobs obtained an order from Byte Shop owner Paul Terrell for 50 assembled boards to be delivered in 30 days at $500 apiece. Jobs scrambled to come up with the $15,000 of parts needed and enlisted friends and family in the assembly process. Approximately 200 units were eventually made, but this is thought to be one of the first batch of 50 with the PCB manufacturer unidentified on the front copper layer of the board. It also bears the inked number "01-0028" on the reverse, of unknown significance, though generally considered to be a Byte Shop inventory number. Only 66 surviving authentic Apple-1's are listed in Mike Willegas's Apple 1 Registry as of October 2017. Although the first Byte Shop order sold extremely well (at a retail price of $666.66), there were at least some remainders from the additional 150 and many of these were eventually traded in for Apple II's, then destroyed by Jobs.

We are able to trace the history of the above unit to its original owner Steve Fish, who went on to found the photographic and audio/visual software and hardware company Peripheral Visions, Inc. Besides the Apple 1, he was also on record owning an Apple II with a serial number 468. Fish was interviewed about his Apple 1 in 2005 by Tom Owad for the latter's book. Fish came upon the Apple 1 at the Westminster, CA computer store Computer Playground in 1976. There he was able to rent time on the computer to play games. He took a BASIC programming course with store co-owner Dr. Will Otaguro and thereafter used his time to practice his BASIC programming skills. When the Apple II was issued in 1977, he was one of the first owners (serial number 468), buying just the 4K motherboard. The market for the Apple 1 had evaporated immediately and Computer Playground dropped their prices to clearance levels. Fish purchased one of the nicer Apple 1s, which included the custom walnut case fitted with a keyboard, "mostly out of nostalgia. It was the machine that I learned to program on, and they were dirt-cheap by that time." There are a number of factors that point to the unit being sold to Computer Playground by the Byte Shop. The security penned number on the PCB verso is one indication and the low number indicates that it was likely from the first batch of 50 that Jobs and Wozniak had sold them. The Byte Shop was also known for the custom wood cases created for the Apple 1s and this looks to be an early version of what is usually seen in a slightly more refined form on the later NTI boards.
Owad, Tom. Apple I Replica Creation: Back to the Garage. NY: 2005. pp 18-20; Wozniak, Steve & Gina Smith. iWoz. NY: 2006; Isaacson, Walter. Steve Jobs. NY: 2011.

Footnotes

  • "EVERY COMPUTER BEFORE THE APPLE I HAD THAT FRONT PANEL OF SWITCHES AND LIGHTS. EVERY COMPUTER SINCE HAS HAD A KEYBOARD AND A SCREEN. THAT'S HOW HUGE MY IDEA TURNED OUT" —STEVE WOZNIAK
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