Sotheby’s sold an Apple-1 for $374,500 last year. A few months later in Germany, one sold for $640,000.
Sotheby’s sold an Apple-1 for $374,500 last year. A few months later in Germany, one sold for $640,000.

Apple’s stock price may be well down from its peaks last year, but the market for the company’s oldest computers continues to set records.

An Apple-1 computer, made in 1976, sold for a record $671,400 on Saturday at an auction in Germany. That surpassed the $640,000 record for an Apple-1, set last November at a sale at the same auction house in Cologne, Germany. The fall 2012 sale was a sharp rise from the previous record price for an Apple-1 of $374,500, set in June 2012 at an auction at Sotheby’s in New York.

The high prices paid for the machines seem to be explained by the combination of scarcity, a fascination with the early history of the computer age, and the mystique of Apple and its founders, Steven P. Jobs and Stephen G. Wozniak. And some irrational exuberance in the prices, for a machine that can do very little and originally sold for $666 (about $2,700 in current dollars).

“This really confirms the value of Apple-1’s,” Uwe Breker, the German auctioneer, said in an interview on Saturday.

The buyer, Mr. Breker said, was a wealthy entrepreneur from the Far East, who wishes to remain anonymous.

Part of the allure of the earliest Apple machines, Mr. Breker said, is not what they are, but what they represent. “It is a superb symbol of the American dream,” he said. “You have two college dropouts from California who pursued an idea and a dream, and that dream becomes one of the most admired, successful and valuable companies in the world.”

The anonymous buyer, who can afford to spend more than $670,000 on an old computer, seems to have enjoyed some version of the entrepreneurial dream come true, as well.

Source: NY Times