A piece of computer history and coveted collector’s item with ties to Southern California fetched six figures at auction this week.
An Apple-1 computer, hand-built by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs in the 1970s, sold for $500,000 at auction Tuesday in Monrovia.
The final bid for the unit was $400,000, with the buyer — who wishes to remain anonymous — paying an additional $100,000 premium, or commission, to John Moran Auctioneers.
The Southern California-based auction house estimated that the unit, dubbed the “Chaffey College Apple-1″ after its original owner was identified as a Chaffey professor, would sell for between $400,000 to $600,000.
In 2014, Bonhams auction house sold an Apple-1 for more than $900,000.
The seller, also unidentified as of Monday and now $400,000 richer, had purchased the Apple-1 from a Chaffey College professor for around $650 in 1977.
The professor originally purchased the unit from the Bay Area computer store the Byte Shop, which had commissioned Jobs and Wozniak to build 50 Apple-1s.
The nascent Apple company built around 200 units, selling 175 of them.
Around 60 Apple-1s still exist. Corey Cohen, an Apple-1 expert, called the item the “holy grail” of vintage tech.
Bidding for the Chaffey unit started at $200,000, with a handful of bidders — some from outside the United States — driving the price up to $350,000, said Nathan Martinez, advertising and marketing director at John Moran.
A showdown between two bidders drove the price up to $400,000.
While the winner remains unidentified, Martinez said Wednesday that it “appears [the Apple-1] will leave the country.”