Rare, transparent Mac SE not worth $25,000

A transparent Mac SE, made for internal use only, fails to reach its minimum $25,000 bid price on eBay and the auction ends.

Chris Matyszczyk

Sometimes, the comparison just isn't apples to apples.

A rare Apple-1 recently sold for $215,000. However, a rare, transparent Mac SE couldn't even get $25,000 slipped into its garter.

Which inevitably leads one to an examination of the word "rare."

There were, allegedly, around 200 Apple-1s created. There were, equally allegedly, only 10 transparent Mac SEs.

And yet, in bidding that closed on Saturday, a transparent Mac SE failed to attract one bid of the $25,000 minimum on eBay.

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

The seller, who says he worked in Apple R&D in the 1980s, said the Mac SE was in "ideal shape" and that "every component except for the on-board battery is original." Yes, the only way to boot it was from the 800k floppy drive. But surely this is a masterpiece of translucent joy.

And yet, not one fanperson was prepared to dedicate a mere pittance for an iconic jewel that was created only for internal use. Yes, it is very possible that not one non-technophile's grubby mitts have ever been near this work of art.

Many will, no doubt, have their own views about why one Apple rarity is worth hundreds of thousands and another cannot fetch the cost of a long and enjoyable weekend in Vegas.

I have one theory for this discrepancy. While the Mac SE was cast into eBay's populist waters, the Apple-1 was placed into the delicate gloved hands of the hoi polloi at Christie's.

Packaging is a rare art form.