Vintage Apple computer built by Woz sells for whopping $750,000

One of the 50 original Apple-1 computers built by Steve Wozniak himself goes for three quarters of a million dollars at auction.

Anthony Domanico
CNET freelancer Anthony Domanico is passionate about all kinds of gadgets and apps. When not making words for the Internet, he can be found watching Star Wars or "Doctor Who" for like the zillionth time. His other car is a Tardis.
Anthony Domanico
2 min read

This Apple 1 motherboard sold for $750,000. Fortunately, it came with a monitor, keyboard and other extras. Bonhams

While some people out there are spending tons of money on new computers like Apple's shiny Retina iMac, others are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on old machines.

The Apple-1 was the first personal computer ever to be sold, and it ushered in the era of personal computing. These things were built by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs and assembled in Jobs' parents' garage, and only a few hundred were ever made. At Bonhams History of Science auction in New York Wednesday, one of the 50 original Apple-1 computers (and one of only about 15 or so that are operational) was sold to The Henry Ford American history attraction for a staggering $750,000 (about £467,217, AU$854,598).

"When acquiring artifacts for The Henry Ford's Archive of American Innovation, we look at how the items will expand our ability to tell the important stories of American culture and its greatest innovators," said Patricia Mooradian, president of The Henry Ford, which is located in Dearborn, Mich. "Similar to what Henry Ford did with the Model T, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs put technology directly in the hands of the people with the creation of the Apple-1, completely altering the way we work and live. The Apple-1 was not only innovative, but it is a key artifact in the foundation of the digital revolution."

Once The Henry Ford accepts delivery of its newly purchased Apple-1, the computer will be on display inside The Henry Ford Museum at a date to be announced later. As an early prototype of the modern personal computer, the Apple-1 computer is quite the addition to The Henry Ford Museum's collection.

"The opportunity to acquire an Apple-1 is a rare one, given their low production numbers," said Kristen Gallerneaux, curator of communication and information technology. "The likelihood that a unit as complete as this will come up for auction is slender."

The sale beat handily beat the predicted auction price of between $300,000 and $500,000. The buyer will have to pay auction fees for a total outlay of $905,000.

Now, maybe The Henry Ford can load up Oregon Trail on that thing to give museum-goers an interactive computing experience.