An Apple-1 computer sold last week for $815,000, falling short of an aggressive auction estimate prompted by evidence that the antique was a unique pre-production model.
The auction was run by CharityBuzz.com, with 10% of the proceeds pledged to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
The gavel price didn't meet the $1 million estimate but was enough to slip the computer into second place for an Apple-1, behind only the 2014 record of $905,000 that The Henry Ford paid for a different model.
9to5Mac.com reported on the sale price last week.
The Apple-1, essentially a stand-alone circuit board, was built by Apple co-founders Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs in 1976, and may have been one of a very few that preceded the two actual production runs, according to Corey Cohen, an Apple-1 expert who authenticated the computer for CharityBuzz. Cohen pegged the computer's assembly date as July or August 1976.
Prototypes or pre-production examples of the Apple-1 are extremely rare. The Apple 1 Registry, a site maintained by Mike Willegal, another Apple expert, lists just two prototypes. Their whereabouts, assuming they weren't destroyed in the past 40 years, are unknown.
CharityBuzz did not identify the seller, but provided some information about the Apple-1's provenance, saying that it was first owned by an early Apple employee, who sold it in 1977. This seller had acquired the computer in 2000.
Recode identified the buyers as Glenn and Shannon Dellimore, co-founders of Glamglow, a Hollywood, Calif. cosmetics company. The couple already had an Apple-1, which they'd purchased at auction last year.
Unlike other recent Apple-1 models that were sold publicly, the CharityBuzz unit wasn't certified as operational. Cohen believed that the computer would successfully power up, but recommended against trying.
Forty years ago, an Apple-1 personal computer sold for $666.66, or approximately $2,798 in today's dollars. About 60 of the original 200 are known to exist, with several in the hands of museums such as the Smithsonian Museum of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Computer History Museum of Mountain View, Calif.