Mystery buyer scoops working Apple 1 at auction
Bidding war ends in $374,500 sale
A working Apple 1 computer has broken records at auction, with a mystery buyer shelling out $374,500 for the system, with a handwritten memo from Steve Jobs also selling for well over the guide price.
The items were auctioned off by Sotheby's and nearly doubled the expected guide price for the items. The Apple 1, one of only a handful still in working condition, originally sold for $666.66 but a bidding war between two buyers in the auction drove its final price to over a third of a million dollars.
Apple stock isn't the only thing to rise in value
The provenance of the Apple 1, and its seller, was not revealed but it is in excellent condition. The circuit board still works and it is bundled with a slightly damaged operations manual and a rare BASIC user's guide.
Also on sale was a four-page memo written by Steve jobs in 1974 when he was still working at Atari. The memo, hand-written with diagrams and circuit drawings, laid out ways Jobs wanted to improve Atari's World Cup football game.
Bidding was fierce for Jobs' memorabilia
Jobs signed off the neon with a Buddhist phrase "gate gate paragate parasangate bodhi svahdl," or Going, going, going on beyond, always going on beyond, always becoming Buddha." It's not know if his boss at Atari, Stephen Bristow, got the reference. ®
I'm no Apple fanboi, but...
Old collector cars go for hundreds of thousands or millions. People buy paintings for millions when they could get a nice print for like $5 (well maybe a few bucks more, the dollar is pretty weak.) People pay lots extra for a first edition of some rare buck when the subsequent edition could be just the same except for the publishing date. If someone wants to pay ridiculous cash for an Apple I, fine with me, the money is ridiculous but it's a rare item that someone wanted.
Regarding donating money instead... for me this is a waste of his (I must admit this is certainly a guy..) money. But two short points... a) It is in fact *his* money, this isn't some communist country. But more relevantly, b) There's absolutely no point on commenting on what someone *should* do when you don't know what they already do.. they could already donate huge sacks of money (or pro-bono work, or whatever) to charity.
I'd just like to add a general note to my above reply - before you condemn this purchase as a "waste of money", consider that the money, remarkably enough, does not just disappear into the 'arbitrarily frivolous purchase' economic black hole. Somebody's gonna end up with it. Maybe the guy who sold it will buy a car, and in so doing pay the people who designed it and made it, and the bitter IT guys who work for the car company.
Maybe he'll go out and have a pizza, and pay the girl behind the counter.
The 150% cut that the auction house will go to marketing companies and the people who make design software and their office janitors and the people who make the mops used to clean their bathrooms.
Money doesn't just disappear.
The closest thing, though, is to have it sit in the stock market or in some German Bund, doing nothing. If the guy who blew a wad on this computer had sat on his money instead, the market as a whole would be that less liquid. The most important thing to do with money - assuming you're not literally doing something good with it, but I covered that above - is to keep it moving around.
Big auction sales like this, and sales of obscene luxury goods, are on balance a good thing. My own company (a small one which I started) relies to an extent on sales of utterly useless, insanely expensive toys to people with more money than they know what to do with. There might be an instinct to condemn their purchase of my kid as being a 'waste of money'.
But without that waste of money, I wouldn't be using netflix, or buying pizza myself, or buying drill bits or monitors or hunks of wood from Lowes or going on a cheesy boat tour in the 1000 Islands. When Rich Bastard pays me for a machine, he's really paying a lot of average Joes who help me make them - when otherwise his money would be sitting in a bank account doing nothing. I think the world's better off with the cash in my hands (not much of it, ahem), and those of my suppliers and their employees.
You can get into a detailed argument about concentration of wealth and liquidity and charity and all that - but on a basic level, purchases like this aren't a net loss to society unless the guy is saying, "You know what? I was going to spend that money feeding starving orphans in Loginabox, but I think instead I'm going to get this computer."
Re: What a fucking ridiculous...
Does all your disposable income go toward "some legitimate charity", or does unreasonable salary and unfair leisure expenditure happen to begin precisely at the line of your own income and own frivolous fun?
The $2k you might spend on a computer is more than many people in India will make in half a lifetime - significantly more, relatively speaking, then the 1%er-in-question's expenditure on... well, a computer.
If I were an Indian making $300/year or so (a great many make less), would it be unreasonable of me to ask why it's OK for you to blow seven years' income on a piece of electronics, rather than spending it on some legitimate charity?
That 1% number is useful for comparing within the United States, and broadly in the rich world in general, probably.
But what if you're counting the other five billion people on the planet? Well, in that case, your internet, computers, televisions, medical care, housing with heat and running water and a toilet, car, roads, and protection from armed thugs who machete you for being the wrong ethnicity, are the real luxuries. Welcome to the 1%, you greedy bastard.
It's still cheaper than a Retina display MacBook Pro
>Mind you, I was apparently the greater fool back in the early 80s when a mate had three of these for sale,
I don't doubt that there are an awful lot of people who think the same thing every time something (relatively) mundane goes for silly money. I play bass and have the same feeling when a Burns Bison or Framus sell for 1000% more that what I sold em for 30 + years ago. Figuring out what is worth keeping and what is tat is a skill way beyond me.