A Silicon Valley recycling firm, which sold an Apple-1 computer hand-built by Apple co-founder Steven Wozniak in 1976 for $200,000 in a private auction, is offering $100,000 to the woman who dumped the rare first-generation computer with the firm in April.
According to Victor Gichun, vice president of marketing for the recycling firm Clean Bay Area located in Milpitas, California, which deals in electronic equipment donated mostly by local businesses, the policy of the firm is to split sales proceeds 50-50 with donors.
While it might amaze those who are aware of the value of the rare Appple-1 computer that anyone would toss out such vintage artifact, the woman evidently thought it was worthless junk.
Gichun told NBC Bay Area that the computer was found in a box among other boxes containing old and worthless electronic equipment donated by the woman who was cleaning out her garage in April after her husband died.
The boxes were left unopened for several weeks after the woman left them because no one expected to find any valuable items in the boxes, Gichun said.
When the boxes were finally opened the computer was found under a pile of worthless personal computer parts and peripherals.
“We really couldn’t believe our eyes. We thought it was fake,” Gichun said.
“The body [of the computer] 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 added.
Gichun told San Jose Mercury News, “She said, ‘I want to get rid of this stuff and clean up my garage,’ I said, ‘Do you need a tax receipt?’ and she said, ‘No, I don’t need anything.'”
The woman also did not leave contact information. But Gichun said he would recognize her when he sees her, adding that she drove an SUV and was in her 60s.
“We are looking for her. I remember her. To prove who she is, I just need to look at her.”
He told the media, “Tell this lady to please come over to our warehouse in Milpitas again, and we’ll give her a check for $100,000.”
Given the publicity, it is only a matter of time for the woman to learn that she has a check of $100,000 to pick up.
Apple-1 was the original model hand-built by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Ron Wayne in 1976. The pair built only about 200 and sold them for $666.66 each.
Only a few units survive today.
Gichun declined to say who purchased the computer, but revealed it was a private collector.
While some have asked whether Clean Bay Area got the best price for the computer which fetched $387,750 at auction last year, the condition of the computer the recycling firm sold was uncertain.
The record purchase prize for the vintage Apple-1 is $905,000.
The woman’s case, however, emphasizes why it is always important to confirm the value of old equipment before tossing them out as junk.
[Images: Wikimedia Commons]