One of Two Apple Macintosh Prototypes Sells for $219,011

The original vision behind the Apple Macintosh, as envisioned by Jef Raskin, was that of a “Swiss army knife of a computer.” It was supposed to be a low-cost, easy-to-use, high volume computer that he named for his favorite type of apple. That vision became a computer that was launched in 1984. One of the prototypes for that first computer recently sold at auction for $219,011 AUD.

It’s amazing that the prototype was even around to be auctioned off. It was one of only two known to exist, and Apple’s CEO at the time, Steve Jobs, ordered that the prototypes be destroyed because they weren’t the final product. Making the computer even more rare, it features the signatures of the developers molded inside. The computer lives up to the Apple reputation for reliability—it still works, with only a minor glitch in the floppy disk. That disk drive is a bit of history as well, as it is a 5.25-inch “Twiggy.” The Twiggy drive was considered obsolete by the time the first computers rolled out of Apple. By then they had replaced the Twiggy with a Sony 3.5-inch drive.

The prototype was a part of Bonham’s History of Science and Technology sale held in New York on Wednesday, December 4. Adam Stackhouse, a specialist for Bonhams, said, “This is a hugely important and significant machine from the beginning of the age of computing.” Part of that significance was that the Mac turned the course of Apple, selling nearly 70,000 units. “There are occasionally short windows in time when incredibly important things get invented that shape the lives of humans for hundreds of years. The development of the Macintosh computer was one of these events, and it has changed our lives forever,” stated Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. This piece of computing history went to a private, online bidder—who knows, maybe that bidder is reading this article on that prototype right now.

Check it out