Bidding on 'Extremely Rare' Apple I Manual From 1976 Reaches Nearly $10,000 at Auction [Updated]

MacRumors

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Apr 12, 2001
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Back in 1976, Apple released its first computer, the Apple I. Over a span of about ten months, Apple co-founders Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs produced about 200 of the computers and sold some 175 of them, making it a valuable collector's item that has fetched up to $905,000 at auction in recent years.


As a testament to just how rare the computer is, an "extremely rare" Apple I operation manual alone is estimated to fetch over $10,000 at auction this week, with a most recent bid of $9,422 on the Boston-based RR Auctions website.

The vintage manual features Apple's original logo on the front cover, which depicts scientist Isaac Newton seated beneath a tree with a shining apple dangling overhead. The manual explains how to set up and use the Apple I and its monitor and includes a fold-out schematic of the system.


"Very few of the original Apple-1 operating manuals--perhaps 65 or so--are known to exist today," said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction. He added that this makes the manual a "highly collectible piece from one of the most valuable and successful companies in the world."

The manual is said to be in "very good to fine condition," with light irregular grid-shaped toning to the front cover, a short tear to the top edge of the front cover, and a light circular stain inside the front cover.

Perhaps most interesting of all is the owner's message to prospective bidders:
I truly hate to sell it as The Manual is one of God's, I mean one of Woz's greatest gifts to nerdkind. Now I am not a greedy man and have enjoyed The Manual for nearly two decades, surviving two longer-than-they-should-have-lasted marriages and about 5 or 6 moves all over California. Alas, my time with this beautiful artifact has reached its end and I am now passing the torch to you.
Bids are open until July 10 at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Update July 11: According to RR Auction, the manual sold for $12,956 to a technology entrepreneur who wishes to remain anonymous.

Article Link: Bidding on 'Extremely Rare' Apple I Manual From 1976 Reaches Nearly $10,000 at Auction [Updated]
 

JetTester

macrumors 6502
Feb 12, 2014
461
881
Gee, associate it with Jobs and Woz, and it is worth gazillions, otherwise, it is just an old manual that is taking up space and goes to recycling.
 
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ryanasimov

macrumors 6502
Apr 1, 2007
255
186
Every time I see that photo I think how perfectly it portrays their approach to the their business; Woz is staring at the circuit board and Jobs is peering directly at the camera (and thus the audience). Product focus vs. customer focus.
 
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omihek

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May 3, 2014
490
1,500
Salt Lake City, UT
I mean, what can you do with it besides read it? You can't even follow the instructions since you don't even have the Apple I. $10,000 to read it once and then put it on a shelf forever? I guess I'm just not getting why anyone would want an old computer manual.
 
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Crowbot

macrumors 6502
May 29, 2018
444
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I love an Operations Manual that comes with schematics which have funny/nasty comments on them :p
I had one for an ECG monitor and instead of the usual "heart" on the input they drew a frog splayed out with clips on the limbs. Strange group.
 

danckwerts

macrumors regular
Jun 7, 2008
141
88
Richmond upon Thames



Back in 1976, Apple released its first computer, the Apple I. Over a span of about ten months, Apple co-founders Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs produced about 200 of the computers and sold some 175 of them, making it a valuable collector's item that has fetched up to $905,000 at auction in recent years.


As a testament to just how rare the computer is, an "extremely rare" Apple I operation manual alone is estimated to fetch over $10,000 at auction this week, with a most recent bid of $9,422 on the Boston-based RR Auctions website.

The vintage manual features Apple's original logo on the front cover, which depicts scientist Isaac Newton seated beneath a tree with a shining apple dangling overhead. The manual explains how to set up and use the Apple I and its monitor and includes a fold-out schematic of the system.


"Very few of the original Apple-1 operating manuals--perhaps 65 or so--are known to exist today," said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction. He added that this makes the manual a "highly collectible piece from one of the most valuable and successful companies in the world."

The manual is said to be in "very good to fine condition," with light irregular grid-shaped toning to the front cover, a short tear to the top edge of the front cover, and a light circular stain inside the front cover.

Perhaps most interesting of all is the owner's message to prospective bidders:Bids are open until July 10 at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Article Link: Bidding on 'Extremely Rare' Apple I Manual From 1976 Reaches Nearly $10,000 at Auction
[doublepost=1562609605][/doublepost]The coer looks as though it were designed in about 1910.
 

GeoStructural

macrumors regular
Oct 8, 2016
223
625
Colombia
I'll print out the PDF, add some stains / yellowing to the paper, and put it up for sale discounted to $8K. What a bargain!

But seriously, $10K for an easily-reproducible paper artifact with no handwriting or signatures is a bit absurd.
Only a bit? I can't find any logical reason behind anyone paying 10K for something like this.
 

mikethemartian

macrumors 6502a
Jan 5, 2017
539
792
Melbourne, FL
I love an Operations Manual that comes with schematics. The good old days.
I worked at Agilent in 2000 and 2001 which was spun off from the original HP and HP was known at that time for providing schematics for their test and measurement equipment. I remember a manager making a comment about moving away from that since it taught its competitors how to make the product.
[doublepost=1562618907][/doublepost]
I mean, what can you do with it besides read it? You can't even follow the instructions since you don't even have the Apple I. $10,000 to read it once and then put it on a shelf forever? I guess I'm just not getting why anyone would want an old computer manual.
Same with old comic books.
 
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Crowbot

macrumors 6502
May 29, 2018
444
1,054
NYC
I worked at Agilent in 2000 and 2001 which was spun off from the original HP and HP was known at that time for providing schematics for their test and measurement equipment. I remember a manager making a comment about moving away from that since it taught its competitors how to make the product.
I worked with Agilent. Didn't they sell out to Philips?

Truth is, most shops can't repair surface-mount boards so it came down to board/assembly replacement. Figuring out which $1500 board to change was the challenge. So manuals MAY have a circuit flow diagram but no schematics anymore. Most manuals are a joke.

I was talking to a Philips tech once about one of their monitors showing an "Error 5". He said to change the main board. When I asked why he said he couldn't tell me because the unit was designed in Germany and they don't tell Philips US how their stuff works. Maybe, but it's a cute story.
 

michaelant

macrumors regular
Apr 8, 2006
157
111
Tim Cook should stop bidding up old Apple paraphernalia and get back to work designing new products with some innovation for a change! Tim Cook out! :eek: