Unwitting Woman Recycles Rare Apple 1 Computer Worth $200K, Could Still Recoup $100K
"We really couldn't believe our eyes. We thought it was fake," Gichun told KNTV-TV.
The unknowing recycler didn't want a tax receipt and she didn't provide any contact information.
Considered groundbreaking for its time, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak built the first 50 Apple I systems for Paul Terrell's Byte Shop chain in 1976 at a per unit cost of $500 (Terrell sold the computers for $666.66) in just 30 days, financing the effort by selling Jobs's VW Microbus and Wozniak's HP-65 calculator. Following that burst of activity they then assembled another 150 Apple I computers for friends and other shops.
Of the 200 Apple I systems Jobs and Wozniak produced, it is believed that only about 60 still exist today and that less than 20 of those are in working order. A functioning example was won at auction last year by the Henry Ford Museum for $905,000, trumping the $671,400 paid just a year earlier for another such system at an auction in Germany. It is not known whether the Apple I the California woman discarded was boot-up capable at the time of its abandonment.
Victor Gichun says he would be able to recognize the Apple I's previous owner, and he hopes she will return to the recycling company to pick up her $100,000 check. No mention was made, though, as to whether he also harbors hopes of another lucrative head-in-the-clouds dropoff.