Extremely Rare Macintosh Prototype Achieves World Auction Record At Bonhams

New York – An extremely rare Macintosh Prototype sold at Bonhams sale of History of Science and Technology on December 4 for $150,075, a world auction record for a Macintosh computer. This working example of one of the earliest Macintosh prototypes, with a functioning 5 ¼ inch Apple proprietary "Twiggy" drive, is one of only two known machines in this form that survived after the move to the Sony 3 ½ inch drive. It had 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 were error prone. 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.

Other highlights of the sale included:

· Shannon, Claude E. & Warren Weaver. The Mathematical Theory of Communication. Urbana: University of Illinois, 1949, First Edition in book form, signed & inscribed by Shannon, sold for $27,575.
· Cray 3 Supercomputer. Complete processing "octant," early 1990s, sold for $20,075.


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 bonhams.com.

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