An original Apple 1 motherboard failed to sell at auction on Tuesday. Christie's announced the auction in August, and at the time the firm expected the Apple 1 to fetch US$127,000. When the auction ended, however, the price hadn't met the reserve of $80,000, resulting in no sale.
The Apple 1 was the first computer designed by Steve Wozniak and built by The Woz and Steve Jobs, and it was the product that pushed the two into forming Apple Computer. The original price was $666.66 (an amount based on the cost of goods), and it is believed that some 200 were sold. Of those 200, only 50 are still known to exist, including the one being auctioned on Tuesday.
Apple 1 Motherboard to be Auctioned - Case Not Original
Image Courtesy of Christie's
As noted by James Hyslop, Scientific Specialist for Christie’s, when the auction was announced, “This is the computer that started Apple, now recognized as the most valuable company in the world; its significance in making computer technology accessible for all cannot be undervalued.”
Because of that, Apple 1 boards have been commanding big prices since the passing of Steve Jobs on October 5th, 2011. For instance, a working Apple 1 motherboard was sold in November of 2011 for $213,000.
The failure of this auction to meet its reserve might suggest that the bloom is wearing off this stage of Apple nostalgia. Then again, this motherboard didn't actually function—only six of the 50 known units work—and it could be that Christie's simply overestimated the value of the device in the first place.
Alternately, this auction (or lack thereof) is the proof that Apple is about to fail, finally earning the comeuppance long promised by Android-lovers, Apple-haters, and other interested parties since...well, since the Apple 1 was on the market and Jimmy Carter was president.
As for Tuesday's auction, ABC reported that the final bid was £32,000 ($51,155 at the time of reporting), below the £50,000 reserve.
“The future of the computer is in the hands of the consignor,” a Christie’s spokesperson told ABC News.
No Sale image courtesy of Shutterstock.