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Antique Apple-1 sold out of Jobs' garage goes on sale next month

Gregg Keizer | Nov. 4, 2014
Christie's will auction off a working Apple-1 with a history so unique it spawned a book.

The story, which Luther recounts in his book, involved a Royal Air Force (RAF) officer who let others use his name in a 1999 sale of the computer, a dumpster-diving California songwriter who founded a used computer store after selling software manuals at flea markets, and the son of Charles Ricketts, who inherited the Apple-1 when his father passed away.

"It was a gut purchase," Luther said in an interview Monday. "I thought that anything associated with Steve Jobs was kind of unique."

Luther had first been drawn to the sheriff's auction because he knew that the sale was to include several Segways, perhaps some of the earliest off the manufacturing line. But the Apple-1 had caught his eye even before he went to the storage facility where authorities sold off Waldack's possessions.

And one thing led to another.

"The project [of researching the Apple-1] was all-consuming," said Luther as he explained why he was selling the computer. "I loved doing it, and at the end of the day, it was an incredible experience, but it's like it never ends. I've devoted a lot of time to it, and [the sale] marks the end of this project for me."

Luther's Apple-1 is in working condition after some minor restoration.

"Most Apple-1s can be made to work with a little effort," said Willegal, who builds reproductions as a hobby. "Parts are still available, although some are harder to find than others."

Also on the block at Christie's on Dec. 11 will be a collection of documents from Ron Wayne, the third -- and little-known -- co-founder of Apple. Wayne, now 80, was offered a 10% share in the new company, but days after joining the partnership in April 1976, he backed out. Wayne received $800 for his shares.

Among the items in the Ron Wayne Archive: Original working proofs of the Apple-1 manual, Wayne's original company logo -- perhaps the oldest copy of the logo in existence -- and design renderings of a proposed Apple II case. Christie's has pegged Wayne's collection at $30,000 to $40,000.

The original contract drawn up between Jobs, Wozniak and Wayne went for $1.6 million three years ago in an auction by Sotheby's. Wayne was the not the seller, however, as he had sold the contract earlier to an autograph collector for mere hundreds.

Meeting Wayne was one of the highlights of Luther's rooting through his Apple-1's history, Luther said today. "Meeting the people involved [with Apple] was pretty neat," he said.


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