The Machine That "Has Changed Our Lives Forever"
Extremely Rare Macintosh Prototype to be sold at Bonhams

New York – An Extremely Rare Macintosh Prototype highlights Bonhams sale of History of Science and Technology on December 4. This working example of the earliest Macintosh prototype, with a functioning 5 ¼ inch Apple proprietary twiggy drive, is one of only two known machines that survived after the move to the Sony 3 ½ inch drive. It has an estimate of $120,000-180,000.

The release of the Macintosh in 1984 led directly to our device-driven interconnected world, making accessible the GUI (graphical user interface) and WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) environment that we now take for granted. This prototype predates the 3 ½ inch drive that first saw wide distribution with the first Macintosh and still bears the 5 ¼ inch "Twiggy" drive from the Apple Lisa. Reportedly, Steve Jobs destroyed all but a very few of these machines when it became clear that the drives wouldn't function. This particular unit was saved by the developers of the original MacWrite word processing program and was exhibited at the [email protected] Anniversary Celebration held on January 25, 2014, where it was booted up and operated by Steve Wozniak as well as many members of the original Macintosh team.

The sale also features a working Apple-1, Apple's first computer (estimate: $200,000-300,000, which was used in the development phase of the Apple II, as well as another prototype mid-1990s Apple Video Pad (estimate: $12,000-18,000), an early precursor to the successful products that would revitalize the company under Steve Jobs' leadership.

Other highlights include the 1484 first printed edition of Plato's foundational scientific and mathematical work Timaeus, as well as early works in the history of computing by Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace, Norbert Weiner (including the rare paper that introduced the Weiner filter), Howard Aiken, Grace Hopper, Claude Shannon, as well as Vincent Cerf & Robert Kahn's A Protocol for Packet Network Intercommunication, the work that provided the architecture of the internet.


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest and most renowned auctioneers, offering fine art and antiques, motor cars and jewelry. The main salerooms are in London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, with auctions also held in Knightsbridge, Edinburgh, Paris, San Francisco and Sydney. With a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 22 countries, Bonhams offers advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full list of forthcoming auctions, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit


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