Discarded Apple I Computer Sells For $200,000; Mystery Women To Get Half

| by Jared Keever
article imagearticle image

A California recycling center is trying to track down a woman — who dropped off a carload of discarded computers and other electronics — and give her a check for $100,000. 

The mystery woman threw out a vintage Apple-1 computer — probably without knowing what it was — when she dropped off her load at the Clean Bay Area recycling center in Milpitas a few weeks ago, The San Jose Mercury News reports.

The center’s vice president, Victor Gichun, said it took him a few days to sort through the things she left behind, but once he did he realized he had a rare, and valuable, computer on his hands. 

The Apple-1 was the first computer built by Apple co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in Jobs’ garage in 1976. Only about 200 of the first-generation desktop computers were ever built. 

Few are thought to exist these days, and when they turn up they usually fetch a hefty sum at auctions. 

One Apple-1 sold for $387,750 at Christie’s online auction, CNET reported in 2013. At the time it was the highest-priced item ever sold in one of the auction house’s online sales. 

Gichun told Reuters it took him a while to realize what he had on his hands. 

"The body was made out of wood. I've never seen anything like that. My first reaction was it was a fake. Then we started looking at it," he said. 

Once he realized what it was, the center put the computer up for private auction where it sold for $200,000, to a private collector. 

Gichun said he would like to split the money with the woman, if he can find her. 

He told the Mercury News that the woman told him her husband had recently died and she was cleaning out her garage and just wanted to get rid of all the old electronics. 

“I said, ‘Do you need a tax receipt?’ and she said, ‘No, I don't need anything,’” Gichun said, adding that he remembers her well because his company mostly deals with businesses and rarely has individual donors stop by to drop off items. 

He said she was driving an SUV, but he declined to give any other details. 

In order to collect her check, Gichun said, she just needs to stop by.

"To prove who she is I just need to look at her,” he said.

Sources: San Jose Mercury News, CNET, Reuters 

Photo Credit: Dai Sugano/San Jose Mercury News, Ed Uthman/Flickr