Rare Apple 1 computer from Dubai collector sells for $340,100

Jimmy Grewal still has another of the vintage computers from 1976

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A rare Apple Computer 1 owned by a Dubai collector and signed by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has sold at auction for $340,100 (Dh1.25 million).

The computer was auctioned off on eBay by owner Jimmy Grewal, whose AAPL Collection documents the first 30 years of Apple's existence from 1976 and is widely considered the rarest selection of Apple products in the Middle East.

He told The National that “anything above $300,000 was a win”, and was confident of selling it for more than that, having not set a reserve price.

The computer, which still works, was valued at $485,000 before the start of the auction. It is one of only 200 that were made.

The new owner is an experienced vintage computer collector and Apple aficionado in the US.

The auction listing attracted more than 130,000 visitors and was actively “watched” by more than 6,500 eBay members. A total of 28 qualified bidders participated in the auction and submitted 113 bids.

Mr Grewal plans to use the proceeds to “further our plans to create more opportunities for the public in the UAE to interact with our extensive collection of vintage Apple products dating back to 1976".

He has another Apple 1 computer, which he said he will keep, but needed to sell one of them in order to invest in and expand his collection, and, hopefully, open a museum one day.

A pop-up shop is his main focus now, although he says it is early days and would need to organise some help moving the equipment. He currently has no plans to sell any more of his collection.

Although the selling price of his Apple 1 is below what it was valued at, it is some mark-up on the $666.66 it was sold for when first made in 1976 by Steve Jobs and Mr Wozniak.

The record sale for an Apple 1 computer is $905,000 at Bonhams in 2014. It was described as being “in beautiful working condition”.

Mr Grewal's collection includes the complete line of the Apple II and Macintosh families, early hand-held devices, printers and displays, and the original iPod, iPhone and iPad.

“Our mission is to preserve this story by collecting, restoring and displaying nearly 200 computers and hundreds of accessories and artefacts from Apple’s first 30 years,” he said.

“The fact that our collection is based in Dubai and is recognised globally should come as no surprise, given the UAE’s passion for technology and its broad adoption across all sectors of business and society.

“The UAE has one of the highest per-capita ownership of Apple products and is the regional hub for the company’s Asian operations.”

Dubai collector puts Apple's first computer up for auction

Apple-1 auction preview. The auction of the two computers will take in place in weeks' time, and it's estimated to go for north of Dh1 million. Collector Jimmy Grewal with one of the computers.
Antonie Robertson/The National

Anyone with grand ideas of holding on to their current iPhone or iPad will need to remember that the devices are one of millions that have been manufactured.

Mr Grewal said there was only a handful of Apple products that are now worth more than when they were first released — and those tend to be the ones that were sold in limited numbers.

Of the more recent products, he said the first iPhone and iPod are worth more than when they were first launched.


Apple iPhone through the years

Updated: June 14, 2022, 11:22 AM