Vintage Apple Computer Worth $200K Dropped Off For Recycling

Image courtesy of (Ed Uthman)

(Ed Uthman)

Here’s an Apple I on display at the Smithsonian. Check your garage. (Ed Uthman)

Back in April, a woman in her sixties dropped off a box of what she said was her late husband’s computer junk at an electronics recycling company in California’s Bay Area. She didn’t want a donation receipt, and just wanted the stuff out of her garage. It was only after she left that anyone looked through the box. They found something astonishing: one of the first few hundred desktop computers that Apple sold in the ’70s.

The Apple I was hand-built, and sold for $666 in 1976. It’s worth a lot more than that now: Clean Bay Area sold the machine for $200,000 to a private collector. Half of that money rightfully belongs to the woman who dropped the box of stuff off, and they would really, really like to find her.

You can’t blame her for not realizing what treasure was in what probably looked like a box of random computer junk. Every household now has at least one box of old computer towers, giant trackball mice, and tangled parallel cables. Anyone who has gone through the belongings of a loved one who has died knows how this works. There’s all of this stuff to get rid of, and the owner isn’t around to tell you what belongs together and what’s valuable.

Generally, the company promises 50% to the “donor” if items picked up for recycling still have any value. They generally deal with businesses, but they accept donations from individuals too. From now on, the company says they won’t let people drop off boxes of equipment and take off without leaving contact information.

After all of this publicity, we hope that her identity remains private after she comes forward to claim her money.

Apple I discarded as junk sells for $200,000; mystery woman stands to get half [San Jose Mercury News]

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