One Woman's Rubbish is Everyone Else's £130,800 Vintage Apple-1 Computer

By Kate Knibbs on at

Most of the time, recycled electronics are too crappy to sell on eBay. But one California e-recycling centre recently received one of the most coveted gadgets ever: A genuine Apple-1 computer.

An unidentified woman dropped off the desktop computer, one of the original 1976 machines built by Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, and Rob Wayne, at Clean Bay Area in April. (As Steve Wozniak told Gizmodo last time we wrote about the Apple-1, they weren’t actually built in a Cupertino garage, as tech legend goes.)

According to Clean Bay vice president Victor Gushen, the mystery woman was cleaning out her house after her husband died. The backlogged center only recently discovered that she’d nonchalantly surrendered a piece of computing history, and now it’s trying to find her.

Clean Bay sold the computer for $200,000 (around £130,800) to a private collector, and wants to split the profit with the donor. But first they need to find her: Gishun says he’d recognise her, but all they know is that she drives an SUV, and she clearly didn’t get anything appraised before junking it.

One of the last remaining Apple-1 computers sold at over $900,000 (£588,465) in an auction last year, and only around 50 originals are thought to still exist, so this is incredibly rare.

Here’s hoping they can find the mystery woman! [San Jose Mercury News]

Image of another Apple I computer sold at an auction in Germany from AP Photo/Martin Meissner