The oldest complete Apple Mac is on sale on eBay right now, still with no bids, at a starting price of $US99,995 (plus $2,500 shipping). What’s special about this computer is that it is a complete and contemporaneous prototype with a built in 5.25” floppy drive. The prototype is dated 1982-83 whereas the first production Apple Macintoshes with the 3.5” floppy drives came out in January 1984, for sale at $2,495.
A couple of months before the launch of the Mac it was decided to switch from the 5.25” floppies to the newer more robust 3.5” format. In storage it was a bit of a downgrade, from over 800k “Twiggy disk” capacity to a 400k 3.5” single density floppy. The Twiggy disks were notoriously unreliable and also not the same as a standard 5.25” IBM compatible disk, the Twiggy had non-standard cutouts.
The Mac for sale is still in working order but lacks a working boot disk. The disk in the photo is not supplied and doesn’t work with the Mac, it’s from an earlier Apple Lisa computer which also used the Twiggy disk format. The seller writes “To date, only bits and pieces of the original "Twiggy Drive" Macintosh have ever surfaced... A motherboard here, a plastic case there, but never a complete machine or example. This is the only one! The computer and keyboard are authentic and original, dated 1982-83. The computer and its keyboard were acquired together and complete, and have not been pieced together from miscellaneous parts.”
Comparison of the prototype (left) and production Apple Mac
The auction ends on April 18th, so if you are planning to snipe it in the last seconds (I recommend $99,996.37) you should get it in your watch list! I love old computers but this is more of a museum piece than an enthusiast’s toy. The $2,500 shipping cost isn’t an outrageous example of eBay shipping gouging; the seller states he will charge the actual shipping and insurance costs only, it depends on where the winner resides.
A previous Apple museum piece, a complete original Apple 1, raised an impressive sum of over £133k at Christies in 2010.