In the mid-1970s, a brand new Apple-1 system made by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak sold at the Byte Shop in Mountain View, California, for $666.66. On Tuesday, one of less than 70 remaining original Apple computers sold at auction for $375,000, more than 562 times the original sale price all those years ago.
Expressed another way, had the original buyer held on to the system for over 40 years and then sold it for the auction price, that would be a return on the original investment of over 56,000 percent.
The specific Apple-1 sold this week was particularly special because it was restored to working condition before auction. We were able to see a demo of it running last month.
The computer was part of an online auction by RR Auction that included other Apple memorabilia lots, like a signed annual report signed by Steve Jobs which sold for $23,750.
Jobs and Wozniak produced only 200 Apple-1 units in total and every so often one pops up at auction and fetches as much as $750,000 (that one was from the earliest batch in the production run).
It's an awful lot to pay for a machine with just 8KB of RAM, but I get it.