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

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.

Tag: Apple-1


Top Rated Comments

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1 week ago
I think this button should fetch more money for its irony...



Rating: 15 Votes
1 week ago
I love an Operations Manual that comes with schematics. The good old days.
Rating: 12 Votes
1 week ago
You can get a free PDF of this manual at http://apple1.chez.com/Apple1project/Docs/pdf/AppleI_Manual.pdf
Rating: 7 Votes
1 week ago

You can get a free PDF of this manual at http://apple1.chez.com/Apple1project/Docs/pdf/AppleI_Manual.pdf

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.
Rating: 3 Votes
1 week ago
There's a die hard fan out there with an Apple I and no manual.
Rating: 2 Votes
1 week ago

I think this button should fetch more money for its irony...

Perhaps back in the day ... my 1990s Quadra 605 cost about $2500 and had severe limits. But the 2012 Mac Mini I have now pays for itself every week. Perhaps today's sticker should be "Sound Investment. Outstanding ROI. It's that simple."

Rating: 2 Votes
1 week ago
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.
Rating: 2 Votes
1 week ago

[doublepost=1562609605][/doublepost]The coer looks as though it were designed in about 1910.


That was Apple's style back then. Like Beagle Brothers, a small software house for Apple II's



Rating: 2 Votes
1 week ago
While we can download that PDF version of the manual and print it out, this original Manual and the feeling when touching it and reading it is irreplaceable. I truly respect this book being sold in $10k. Not really worth it for most people but a valuable asset nonetheless. Part of being a collector is to appreciate the legend and story items have carried during all of those years, and fully understand how to preserve them as much as possible.
Rating: 1 Votes
1 week ago
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.
Rating: 1 Votes

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