Some People Trade in Their Old iPhones. A Smarter Person Just Sold Their First-Generation Device at Auction for Nearly $40,000

It originally cost $499.

Steve Jobs and Matthew Key, Chief Executive O2 UK. at the launch of the exclusive iPhone on O2 at the Apple store on Regents Street, London. September 18, 2007. (Photo by Jon Furniss/Wireimage)

Fifteen years after the first-ever iPhone hit stores for $499, a factory-sealed, first-generation device just sold through LCG Auctions for $39,339—nearly 80 times its original price.

A lot has changed since Steve Jobs introduced the original iPhone in 2007 at MacWorld San Francisco. It hit stores on June 29, for a retail price that amounts to about $700 today. An early review from CNET praised cosmetic features like its glass screen and high-fidelity sound, while questioning practical facets like call quality and bluetooth connections.

“We had no idea of the impact it would have,” LCG Auctions founder Mark Montero said in a statement. “It was expensive, $599 for an eight-gigabyte model, and because of the high price, virtually all were opened and used—as was intended,” he said. “To discover an original first release model from 2007 still brand new with its factory seal intact is truly remarkable.” It also has original labels and is free of stickers.

The rare, original iPhone LCG just sold. Courtesy of the auction house.

The iPhone’s original specs had a three-and-a-half-inch screen, a two-megapixel camera, and used a Safari web browser. It was available with either four or eight gigabytes of storage—LCG’s example has eight. By comparison, the latest iPhone 14 Pro starts at 128 gigs, with a minimum six-inch screen, a 12-megapixel camera, and any browser you can find in the app store.

Bidding for this bit of tech history opened on September 30, starting at $2,500. It languished at that price for a while, until it broke past $10,000 with the 16th bid on October 14. In a matter of two hours on the final day, its price climbed from $11,000 to $32,000.

Both the buyer and seller remain anonymous. If you’re in the market for a new device, the iPhone 14 Pro starts at $999.


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