In 1986, the Computer Museum in Boston declared the Kenbak-1 the world’s first personal computer. Built in 1971 by John Blankenbaker, the Kenbak-1 was (and still is) a controversial choice. Some argue that it’s not even a true computer since it uses discrete logic rather than a microprocessor. Other systems were advertised around the same time.
When a leading museum labels a system historically important, it tends to enhance its value with collectors. If that system is put up for sale by its creator, that puts a premium on the unit being sold.
John Blankenbaker’s Kenbak-1 is now listed on eBay. At this writing, it has one bid of $4,000 with nine days left. How high will it go? Given recent auctions, there is a strong market for significant early systems. My estimate is $8,000 to $9,000, but I would not be surprised if it went higher.
Of the 50 Kenbak-1’s built, a good number have survived–at least a dozen. That makes it less more rare than, say, the Apple 1.