Sold on eBay: New-in-box Apple II, never to be opened

January 13th, 2011 9:14 AM
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Filed under Hacks & mods, Mainstream coverage;
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About this time three years ago, Dan Budiac made headlines when he bought a new-in-box Apple IIc for $2,553. Although Apple II hardware is sold on eBay every day, this purchase was unique for a combination of three factors: the high price it fetched; the rarity of an Apple IIc whose original packaging had never been opened; and the fact that Budiac, rather than preserving that state as any collector would, instead removed the computer, booted it up, and played Oregon Trail.

Another such opportunity has come about, this one landing in the hands of Alabama's J. Scott King. He purchased the IIc from a dealer in Chicago for a sum far greater than Mr. Budiac paid: according to the eBay auction, the final bid was $4,995.

That's a lot of money to pony up for a 25-year-old machine, and Mr. King won't even get the joy of the machine that Mr. Budiac did: this IIc is staying in its box. He justifies his investment and decision: "I didn't buy the machine for its utility value, or even its stand alone value as a new machine," he explains. "No, I bought it because it was new in the sealed boxes and might be (maybe not) the only sealed factory box set left — to me that makes it highly collectible. I'll promise you this: in 10, 20 or 30 years from now and I going to be worried I might have paid to much — I don't think so."

He recorded his purchase's arrival in this YouTube video:

A photo gallery of the IIc is also available on Mr. King's Web site.

Mr. King emailed me earlier this month with the offer of an interview; unfortunately, his email response landed in my junk folder, which is why this blog post was beaten to the punch by the latest episode of the RetroMacCast podcast, which interviews Mr. King starting at time index 16:56. My apologies for the late report.

Collectible Woz

October 18th, 2010 12:27 PM
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Filed under Mainstream coverage, Steve Wozniak;
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Like every Apple II user alive, I think the world of Steve Wozniak. He deserves every award, accolade, honor, and recognition the world can bestow upon him.

Thanks to the art of Len Peralta of Jawbone Radio and the humor of Paul and Storm, Woz is one step closer to that rightful immortality. He now has what every superstar hopes and dreams for: a trading card.

Geek A Week Challenge: #27: Steve WozniakBy the time the year-long Geek A Week project wraps up in March 2011, it will have honored 52 geeks with trading cards, featuring an original illustration and writeup. Woz, pictured to the right, has on the back of his card the following bio:

Flux capacitor? Child's play! That is to say, he invented it as a child, in 2063. That afternoon he affixed it to his AirSegway, rocketed off, and quickly found himself stranded in the 1960s after the prototype device burned out. With spare time on his hands, he went on to assemble the first successful personal computer at the "suggestion" of his new friend, Steve Jobs. They formed Apple Computer in 1976, and when the company went public in 1980 they both became millionaires, enabling The Woz to purchase the plutonium he needed to continue his well-documented travels. Of course he constantly checks in on our timeline, fostering technological innovation and spreading goodwill with each landing.

The complete set of trading cards is a who's-who of geekdom, counting among its honorees Star Trek alumnus Wil Wheaton, musicians Jonathan Coulton and MC Frontalot (the latter whom was featured on Get Lamp), actors Felicia Day and "Hi, I'm a PC" John Hodgman, author John Scalzi, MST3K alumni teams RiffTrax and Cinematic Titanic, creative genius Weird Al Yankovic, astronomer and skeptic Phil Plait, and gamer Major Nelson.

In addition to the downloadable cards, Mr. Peralta has also produced a podcast in which he speaks with each of the featured geeks. The episodes are available from the project's Web site or from iTunes. Woz's interview is episode #23.

Where do I sign up to reserve a physical edition of the complete set of cards?

(Hat tip to Ann Hoevel)