While the U.S. was giddy with excitement over the Bicentennial celebrations in 1976, a nerdy young man named Steve Jobs was overwhelmed by a more cumbersome element: his homemade computer. That year Jobs and fellow computer geek, Steve Wozniak, built the Apple 1 – the first computer their fledgling Apple company ever built and one of the first desk-top computers the world had seen. Looking at the contraption now, it resembles a lie-detector device, or perhaps something used in Iraqi prisons. No matter though: one of the computers sold at a Christie’s auction earlier this month for $387,750.
Bolaffi, an Italian company that collects just about anything odd and / or vintage, purchased the machine from a retired school psychologist. Early Apple products have become hot items on the auction circuit since the death of Jobs in October 2011. In May, an Apple 1 sold at a German auction house for the equivalent of $671,400. There’s no word yet on whether Bolaffi will try to restore its Apple 1 to its former glory, or just put it on a table beneath a glass case. In a way, it bothers me that, years from now, school children will ogle at these things – considering when I was in school, we stared in wonder at 2,000-year-old pottery.