Vintage 1976 Apple Computer Sold for $210,000

Apple 1
Source: Chrisite's
Apple 1

Sometimes it pays to be an early adopter.

One of the first Apple computers made by Steve Jobs in 1976 was sold at auction on Tuesday for more than $210,000.

The computer retailed for just $666.66 almost 35 years ago ($2,559 in inflation adjusted dollars.)

“This is where Apple began. This is the very first product,” says Julian Wilson, a specialist in the books and manuscripts department at Christie’s.

The computer, which was sold at a Christie's auction in London, is a history lesson on how far computing has come.

In the '70s, computers were sold as do-it-yourself kits, with customers having to build and put motherboards together. The Apple I was the first to be sold with the motherboard—the brain of the computer—already built. Apple I customers had to build their own cases and keyboards to get it working.

But by 1977 Apple released the Apple II—which actually came with a keyboard—and the Apple I was discontinued shortly thereafter.

This Apple I comes with the original box in which it was shipped. The return address was the house of Jobs’ parents, where the Apple CEO started the company. Also included are the original manuals with the company's first logo: a drawing of Sir Issac Newton sitting under an apple tree.

And how's this for customer service? After the owner wrote a letter to the company because he had trouble getting the computer working, Steve Jobs responded in a signed letter, which is also included in the lot being sold by Christie's.

So, should people be saving their first iPods or iPads hoping to hit the jackpot in a couple of decades?

“If 40 years later you find an original iPod with a receipt from the Apple store, then I can’t see why that wouldn’t be a collectible,” says Wilson.

“I bet there isn’t a lot of original iPods out there,” he says. “They don’t have a high survival rate.”

Maybe that iPad Christmas gift is an investment after all.