Ultra-Rare Computer Mouse Brings Home The Cheese Fetching $179K At Auction

hero apple mouse
A computer mouse created by computing legend Douglas Englebart sold for an astounding $179k in a recent auction. It was said to have been used in 1968 in the "Mother of All Demos," and an inspiration for Steve Jobs.

The early three-button compute mouse uses two metal discs on the bottom that correspond to the X-axis and Y-axis to locate the position of the cursor. The coding keyset utilizes five keys, which permit 31 key-press combinations for typing and entering commands.

apple mouse connectors

"As demonstrated in the 'Mother of All Demos,' this hardware configuration allowed a user to point and click using the mouse in the right hand, while entering commands using the keyset on the left," it stated in the description on the auction webpage. It continued, "The keyset was meant to supplement - not replace - a traditional keyboard, which would be situated in the middle."

The auction purchase included a detailed letter of provenance from David A. Potter, who acquired these in the course of his work as a member of Engelbart's pioneering research team at SRI International. It also includes a packet of slides from a presentation on the adoption of Engelbart's ideas and the flow of technological development through various companies is remembered for founding the field of human-computer interaction and for his development of the computer mouse, according to the description by RR Auction.

apple mouse literature

The auction house had estimated the lot would sell for around $15,000, but ended up selling for $178,936. It was included in a series of auctions titled "Steve Jobs and the Apple Computer Revolution." It went for more money than other items, such as the original Apple Lisa ($81,251) and a sealed first-generation iPhone which fetched $54,904.

Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction where the computer mouse sold, remarked, "Englebart's invention would, in part, change the course of modern life. This device played a crucial role in the evolution of computer history."