Ultra-Rare Q1 Computer Valued At $60K Of Retro Greatness Unearthed By Clean-Out Team

hero q1 microcomputer
An ultra-rare 1972 Q1 desktop microcomputer with an internal printer was up for auction this weekend. Along with the Q1 was a Q1 Lite (without a printer), and a Q1 desktop micro computer printer, all thought to fetch an approximate $60,000 each.

Rare computers have been popping up in auctions over the last few years, including a prototype of Apple’s first computer, the Apple 1, which sold for $677,196 in 2022, and a fully operational Apple 1 signed by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak which sold for $223,520. Like the Apple 1, the Q1 computers played a significant role in the development of modern computers. While only a handful are thought to still exist, two of the desktop microcomputers hit the Heritage Auctions floor this weekend, along with a Q1 external printer.

“Keep in mind these have never been to auction, and there is no record or precedent set for them,” remarked Sara Balbi, the managing director of Heritage Auctions’ London office. “We’ll have to see what the market decides.”

While many thought the trio would fetch upward to $60K each, the three together ended only fetching $60K. The Q1 with internal printer sold for $47,500, the Q1 Lite sold for $10,625, and the external printer ended up selling for $1,500.

q1 microcomputer lite
Q1 microcomputer without internal printer.

The rare finds surfaced when Just Clear, a London-based house clearance company, was emptying a property. That’s when employees uncovered the two old computers. The employees were not sure what they had come across at first, and could not find any relevant information online. Just Clear’s founder, Brendan O’Shea, found out what his team located after speaking with an expert.

q1 microcomputer printer
Q1 microcomputer external printer.

In a statement, Valerie Spiegel, Hearitage Auction’s director of video games spoke to the historical importance of the devices. “The shift to a microprocessor-based architecture allowed the Q1 to punch well above its weight and support capabilities usually reserved for larger systems. … It hinted at the future of personal computing and marked a pivotal moment in technological history, demonstrating the vast potential of microcomputers to transform both professional and personal computing landscapes.”

The two Q1 microcomputers were last known to have been used by an oil drilling company in the 1970s.