A California woman may soon learn it really can pay to recycle.
The owner of CleanBayArea, a Milpitas, California, recycling firm, is currently trying to find the mystery woman to hand her a check for $100,000 – her half of the $200,000 a computer she recycled fetched at private auction. The firm’s policy is to split 50-50 any money realized from the sale of a recycled item.
According to Reuters, the woman dropped off some boxes containing old electronics to CleanBayArea after cleaning out her garage following her husband’s death. She didn’t realize that among the old keyboards and random computer parts was a piece of computer history: a 1976 Apple 1, a revolutionary home computer designed and hand-built by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
“It was the first time in history,” Wozniak has said about the Apple 1, “anyone had typed a character on a keyboard and seen it show up on their own computer’s screen right in front of them.”
Few Apple 1s, which originally sold for $666.66, are known to exist today.
Officials at CleanBayArea said the mystery woman’s boxes sat on a pallet for several weeks, as no one thought they contained anything of value.
“We really couldn’t believe our eyes. We thought it was fake,” Victor Gichun, vice president of marketing for CleanBayArea, told NBC Bay Area. Gichun said the body was made of wood and that he’s “never seen anything like it.”
Interestingly, an Apple 1 fetched an even higher price in October 2014, when one of Wozniak’s originals sold at auction for $905,000, twice what was expected, according to Time. That Apple 1 was purchased by The Henry Ford, and will be displayed in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.
This story, "Rare Apple computer rescued from garage fetches $200,000" was originally published by Fritterati.