“Ricketts” Apple 1 Sells Below Expectations at Christie’s Auction

With auction prices for genuine Apple 1 systems rising steadily over the last few years, there was a lot of speculation about whether the one sold today would break the $1 million mark. It didn’t. In fact, the sale fell below the low range of auction house Christie’s estimate at $365,000, including buyer’s premium. Christie’s estimated it would sell between $400,000 and $600,000.

Why another Apple 1 sold for $905,000 in October and this one for a little more than a third that number is a little puzzling. The example sold today is referred to as the Ricketts Apple 1. It was purchased new by Charles Ricketts from Steve Jobs, and the canceled check and other documents establishing provenance were included in the sale. It is the only Apple 1 documented to have been purchased directly from Steve Jobs.

Both the system sold in October and the Ricketts Apple 1 are fully operational. With the special provenance of the Ricketts Apple 1, you might expect a premium. As I said in an earlier post, the market for Apple 1 computers might be reaching a saturation point where most of the wealthy collectors and institutions that want one have acquired one.

Also part of today’s auction was the personal archive of Apple co-founder Ronald Wayne. The archive includes an original proof copy of the Apple 1 operation manual and early drawings and blueprints for the Apple II case, It sold for $25,000 including buyer’s premium. This lot also sold below the low end of Christie’s estimate of $30,000.

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