Thursday, June 19, 2014

Vintage computers - The Hunt for Apple-1 computers

Apple 1 Computer
(Updated 2/29/16) I am ask many times how did you build your computer collection.  A real help for the microcomputer memorabilia collection was - I was teaching  digital electronics and computer automation & instrumentation before the first Intel microprocessor was introduced in 1971.  My period of teaching at Virginia Tech was 1967 to 1998.  A good part of the answer is "I was at the right place at the right time".  The majority of my collection was acquired  from 1975 to 1995. During that time the computers were generally of little or no value and the owners just dumped them in the trash. Many were happy to find a crazy guy like me that actually wanted to keep an old computer.

I advertised in various publications for most of the 45 years . The one that brought in the most calls was a small classified ad in "Computer Shopper". The ad was very simple and looked like this - Wanted pre1980 microcomputers for historical collection". Over the years I recieved 1000's of calls or offers for microcomputers. I continue to run an ad in the Ham Radio magazine "QST"


Here are a few of the responses with offers for Apple-1 computers.

Craig Solomonson offered me this Apple-1 computer July 1996 for his price of less then $40,000.

WOW I sure missed a computer that made the big time - Auction at Breker Nov 28, 2010 - Yes, Italian collector Marco Boglione paid $212,000 for a 34-year-old Apple-1

Click on photos to enlarge
Craig Solomonson  Apple 1
Craig Solomonson  Apple 1
The information below is from the Apple-1 Registry 

Solomonson Apple-1 
NTI logo. This computer was first Frank Anderson. 
Next it was  purchased from Frank Anderson, an electronic dealer in Great Falls, Montana by Craig Solomonson for MECC.  Craig reports that this computer was sold by Jobs and shipped from his parents address. Woz seemed a bit confused when Craig showed him the invoice and asked about it. He said "Not sold by us, although Job's may have sold it without telling me." 
  • Sold by Craig to Jesse Sackman in California
  • $50,000 unit sold in Ebay auction 320447681957, late in 2009
  • This is the unit auctioned by Christies in London for 133,250 pounds in November of 2010 to Italian businessman and private collector Marco Boglione


During the 80/90's I was offered about 10 Apple-1 computers and managed to purchase 4 of them. One offer was for me trade a new automobile van for his computer. This was a reasonable offer but I declined the purchase at the time as too complex. I heard later that some other collector made this trade.


Adam Schoolsky letter
Schoolsky Apple 1
Schoolsky Apple1 Computer
Schoolsky Apple-1 Computer
I did purchase this Apple-1 Microcomputer from Adam Schoolsky & you can see in the letter many other nice items as well. Here is a video about this computer in our "Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum" 'CLICK'

Schoolsky's Apple-1  came in a box like these shown in Job's bedroom. The box has Woz written on the top. I will never know but Schoolsky's computer may be in this photo.


This computer has been made fully operational by Win Heagy in late 2015 and has been passed on to the Lonnie Mimms collection at the Computer Museum of America.
Click on photos to enlarge
Forest Duston Computer letter
Forest Duston phone log

 Apple 1 computer
Forest Duston Apple-1 computer 
I  keep a  phone log of all the calls about computers that are available. The photo to the left is copy of call from Forest and he told me he had 2 Apple 1 computers. I was skeptical about that however over the next year I found it was true and purchased both of them. It was fortunate for me and he got his price. 


Click image to enlarge
Snyder Apple 1 computer
Snyder Apple-1 computer 

This Apple-1 computer offered to me by the law firm for $15,000 was a great offer. Unfortunately at that time I was not able to make  a deal.  I don't know who  ended up with Apple-1. The computer had an interesting history and original letter from Steve Jobs with it.  Even lawyers seemed find my little classified advertising.  


apple 1 computer
Apple 1 purchase from John Burch
Here is a video of  Apple-1 I purchased  from John Burch in the mid 90's. It was a simple deal - he told me most of the collectors wanted him to just give the computer to them. He gave me a price and we had a deal.

Video of this computer has had nearly 250,000 views during the past 5 years "CLICK here to see video"

Click on photos to enlarge
Apple 1 computer
David Larsen working on Apple 1

This is one of the finest examples of an Apple-1 computer and in January 2016 was passed on to the Lonnie Mimms collection at the Computer Museum of America in Roswell, Georgia.

Here I am working on the "John Burch"  Apple-1 computer.

Apple 1 computer
Apple 1 computer documentaion

I received lots of great original documentation with this computer.

Here is a little tidbit about Steve Jobs house and where and who designed the Apple-1 & 2 .
(Steve Wozniak designed them independent on his own)

My 45 years of collecting effort resulting of an inventory of more then 10,000 microcomputer memorabilia items in moving to Lonnie Mimms Computer Museum of America. All the items have been packed. Packing took 10 days with a crew of 3 to 6 and as I write this update the last 500 or more packed boxes will leave the Bugbook Computer Museum warehouse today.  2/29/16
David G Larsen
David Larsen
The hunt for computers during the past 45 years has been fun. Now my family and friends ask - What are you going to do with them. We have inventored more then 10,000 items in our collection and still have more to add to the data base - lots of computers and memorabilia. I have set up a small museum and hope to have an endowed museum here in Floyd Va - place  the computers with the other museums or with serious collectors before I move to Heaven. I am 75 now and only have 25 more years to go - Any ideas for my collection - give me a call.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I look forward to your comments and will respond.