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In what could very well be one of the best retrospective moments of Apple History, a group of vintage Apple collectors managed to not only get their hands on a pristine original Apple Computer 1 motherboard but also its legendary original inventor, too.
The AAPL Collection, located in Dubai, is described as “one of the most comprehensive private collections of vintage Apple computers and accessories in the world.” This week, the organization proudly “reunited the Master with one of his creations” at the Dubai Mall.
It’s not clear under exactly what pretense Steve “Woz” Wozniak was invited to meet with the group, but it’s clear he wasn’t expecting to be handed a motherboard from one of the first Apple computers he ever made.
A short video shared on Twitter shows the motherboard being handed to Woz, whose surprise and excitement are both palpable and delightful.
Oh, that’s an Apple 1. WOW…. Where’s a pen? I gotta get a nice pen.Steve Wozniak
After carefully signing the motherboard, Woz adds with wonder that it’s “too precious” and then asks if he can also sign one of the chips. Asked which one is his favourite, he points to and signs the 6502 CPU while also commenting that this board “would also work with a 6501” and describing how it would be plugged in.
What’s also interesting is that the woman in the background who asks if it’s a “fake one,” as it’s being pulled out of the case, is actually Mrs. Woz — Steve’s wife, Janice Wozniak.
As the group explains on Twitter, the Wozniak’s are used to seeing countless replicas, so she naturally assumed that this would be another one. The presence of an actual original Apple 1 motherboard — especially in such excellent condition — was not what they were expecting.
To understand the significance of this, the Apple 1 was the first product to come out of Apple Computer in 1976 and sold for $666.66 at the time — a price that was supposedly chosen to reflect Woz’s penchant for repeating numbers.
Only 200 Apple-1 computers were ever made, with the electronics designed and engineered by Steve Wozniak. The computers were then assembled and tested by Steve Jobs, his sister, Patty, and his erstwhile friend Daniel Kottke. Versions of this legendary system have fetched hundreds of thousands of dollars at auctions over the past few years.
Hence, it’s fair to say that an original Apple 1 motherboard is worth a fair bit of money even by itself, and with Woz’s signature on it, it’s downright priceless. In the video, Janice Wozniak asks the owner of the mainboard, who is presumably one of the curators of The AAPL Collection, about the location of some other Apple collectible, to which he responds that it’s in his office, as his wife won’t let him keep it at home. It’s probably safe to say this motherboard is similarly intended to be kept as a museum piece rather than being put up for auction.