A prototype “Apple Computer A” Apple-1 computer owned by Steve Jobs is up for auction starting today, and is expected to fetch $500,000.

apple computer and steve jobs
Sold by Steve Wozniak in 1976, the Apple Computer A printed circuit board was used by Steve Jobs to demonstrate the Apple-1 to Paul Terrell, who was the owner of The Byte Shop in Mountain View, California. The Byte Shop became the first retailer of the Apple-1 computer after Terrell ordered 50 fully assembled machines and sold them for $666.66 each.

Apple Computer A is paired with photographs taken by Terrell in 1976, showing the prototype in use. This machine was listed as machine number two in the Apple-1 Registry and was considered “lost” until it was verified by Apple-1 expert Corey Cohen.

apple computer a


As described by RR Auctions, the site hosting the sale, there is some damage to the board.

This prototype lived in the ‘Apple Garage’ property for many years before Steve Jobs gave it to its current owner about 30 years ago. At the time, Jobs was fired from Apple and was looking forward to the promise of NeXT and Pixar. The current state of the board gives some insight into Jobs’ judgment of it: he saw the prototype not as something that should be kept, but something that should be reused. Several of the ICs were removed from their sockets, such as the microprocessor and other components, probably for use in early production Apple-1 Computers.

The board appears to have been damaged by pressure on the top right, resulting in a crack running from the adjacent power supply area on top of D12 to the bottom of the board on the right of A15. The missing piece was thought to have been thrown away, but can be re-imagined thanks to Paul Terrell’s photographs of the complete board. One of the distinguishing features of the “Apple Computer A” prototype was its use of three orange Sprague Atom capacitors, instead of the familiar ‘Big Blue’ capacitors used in the production Apple Computer 1.

Compared to the production Apple-1 machines, the prototype had words that read “Apple Computer A,” it had a different processor, and it lacked the green protective coating of typical Apple-1 computers.

Due to the prototype’s rarity, RR Auction expects it to fetch a high price at auction despite the damage.

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