Original Apple 1 Computer Could Fetch Half a Million Dollars on Auction Block

It seems hard to fathom, but a rather rudimentary computer assembled in a garage almost four decades ago could bring in north of $500,000 in an upcoming auction. This isn't just an ordinary system, however, it's a rare Apple 1, one of the first Apple systems ever built. The man who owns it didn't pay a dime for the system, instead swapping some parts with the previous owner and calling it good.

His name is Ted Perry, a retired school psychologist, according to The Telegraph. Now at age 70 years old, he's likely to add a significant sum to his retirement savings, as these old systems have been known to bring in some big bucks. Less than a month ago, an Apple 1 sold for a record-setting $671,400 in Germany by auction house Christie's, the same company that's handling the sale of Perry's system. Prior to that, the record was $640,000 set last November.

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Part of the reason why Apple 1 computers command so much money is because Steve Jobs is no longer alive, adding to the mystique behind these systems. They're also incredibly scarce. Only around 200 Apple 1 systems were built, the majority of which have since been tossed aside or simply disappeared. It's estimated that only anywhere from 20 to 50 exist today. Still, the rise in price is surprising to some.

"This is the seed from which the entire orchard grew, and without this, there would be no Apple," Stephen A. Edwards, professor of computer science at Columbia University, told The Telegraph. "I've been shocked auction prices got into the six digits. The market has just gone crazy."

Indeed it has. What's even crazier is that these systems originally sold for $666.66 (MSRP) back in 1976.