Woman Throws Out Vintage $200,000 Apple-I Computer—Oops!

The Smithsonian's Apple I Computer. Photo: Ed Uthman, via Wikimedia Commons.
The Smithsonian's Apple I Computer. Photo: Ed Uthman, via Wikimedia Commons.
The Apple-1 motherboard from the record-breaking sale of the world's most expensive computer at Bonhams New York. Photo: Bonhams New York.

The Apple-1 motherboard from the record-breaking sale of the world’s most expensive computer at Bonhams New York.
Photo: Bonhams New York.

A Silicon Valley recycling center is seeking the woman who unknowingly donated an ultra-rare 1976 Apple-1 computer amid a box of her late husband’s old electronics, according to the Guardian.

Clean Bay Area in Milpitas, Calif., received the Apple-I in early April. They were quickly able to sell the computing collectible, one of only 200 or so remaining models of the original Apple computers built by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ron Wayne, for $200,000 to a private collector.

The original price for the vintage device was a devilish $666.66.

This past October, Bonhams New York auctioned off one of the first 50 Apple-I’s ever produced for $905,000 to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan (see: At Nearly $1 Million, Apple-1 Is the World’s Most Expensive Computer).

An Apple 1 computer.  Photo: Dai Sugano, courtesy Bay Area News Group.

An Apple 1 computer.
Photo: Dai Sugano, courtesy Bay Area News Group.

Clean Bay Area was shocked to discover the Apple-I when sorting through boxes of donations. “We couldn’t believe our eyes; we thought it was fake. It was real,” company vice president Victor Gichun, CleanBayArea’s told NBC Bay Area.

The company’s policy is to split the proceeds of any sales 50/50 with the donor, but the woman, who had stopped by on a Friday just before closing time, left without leaving her name.

Gichun had offered to give her a receipt for tax purposes, but she declined, explaining that her husband had died and she was just trying to clean his things out of the garage.

The Smithsonian's Apple I Computer.  Photo: Ed Uthman, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Smithsonian’s Apple I Computer.
Photo: Ed Uthman, via Wikimedia Commons.

In more computer-related auction news: this past April at Bonhams, an Alan Turing manuscript containing notes that became part of the basis for modern computer science, sold for over $1 million (see Rare Manuscript of Enigma Code-Breaker Alan Turing Nets Over $1 Million).


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