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They may have found (most of) the Apple 1 Prototype Board

VERAULT

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Yeah I remember the card and comic shows.. Heck we had a couple come to our elementary school. Thats when I learned which kids were into comics or not. I had a spoiled friend whose parents were slumlords (The label is accurate in everyway, trust me) and bought him whatever he wanted. I found it odd how he old collected for value and I liked the stories. Anyway, same kid got all the new computer stuff too.

One of the reasons I stopped collecting (even though I was not a kid anymore) was my favorite shop Closed. I just sort of gave up on the hobby at that point. Weird thing was they moved only 2 blocks further just out of main BLVD and never posted a sign! I have no idea for years.. but by that point I moved on to other things.

Buying scrap previous metals is still viable.. You just cant buy them from shops who charge well above market. I keep ALL the copper I come across. I burn off shielding from wires and other things to get bare copper. I dismantle old coils and transformers. Every year or two I bring a bucket to the scrap place and sell off my copper.. Usually with a small amount of brass to make a few bucks.. Usually with some old car batteries as well. Good money in Lead ya know.. Shoot I bought a full trailler of steel scrap in when I decided to clean up my shed from things that I no longer needed or were just taking up space. They pay you, the dump makes you pay...which one makes more sense?

Reminds me of the guys who would scramble to call DIBBS on the scrap Tungsten from the Linear Accelerators which were being decommissioned. They would make on Avg $5K in scrap Tung..... That is until they caught on that the stuff was still mildly radioactive and started having uncalibrated dosimeters to see if the stuff was still "hot".. that made it messy until they were correctly informed on wait times and had proper meters.

Everyone wants to get rich quick.
 

Unknown_K

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Gold scrap is always viable, but nobody wants to buy it on the long way down if they get stuck with it, they lose money.

I always wondered how scrappers made any money driving around and picking up scrap steal. I assumed they picked it up while looking for something more valuable to help pay for gas. Aluminum (cans) are worth $.34/Lb and I have bags and bags of them I am too lazy to take to the recycler and nobody wants to pick them up. Catalytic converters are worth $140 to $250 each depending on brand so I can see why people steal them.

 

VERAULT

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If you have a flatbed or a long bed pickup with a trailer.. you can easily find a few hundred dollars in a weekend in scrap steel. Obviously, the scrappers know the alluminum and such is worth more and they do a basic sort. But these are the same guys who tear computers (old and new) apart for wires and steel cases. Why do you think there are tons of CRT's out there with the power and data cables snipped. Even shielded cables pay something. They look at the 15 cents and not the money the monitor can bring. They dont know and have no knowledge of selling and shipping.

but there are scrappers and there are junkers. Junkers are the guys who may or may not sell online or at swapmeets and tagsales.. They look for old engines and collectibles to flip and things like that.

Oh stainless pays well. I had the stainless chimney cap on my roof replaced. I flattened and kept the old one and decided to sell it when I did a scrap run. I got $36.00 for just the stainless in the chimney cap. And it was completely covered in creosote.. They just check to make sure its not magnetic and pay you.
 

Eudimorphodon

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I am aware of exactly what you are referring to here. That is why I said " i Know they are not worth anything and i am sure noone will want them when im gone."

Sure... and if you enjoyed the sort of comics that came out in the 1990's, well, hey, I'm not going to judge. But the point was that during the 1990's there were a lot of... questionable, editorial decisions that happened explicitly in the name of artificially trying to hype every... single... issue as if it was some kind of amazing event that was totally going to be collectable someday. (So you'd better darn well make sure you buy at least two of each of all four alternate covers and save them in plastic baggies so they'll pay for your kids' college education someday.) Earth-shattering "Deaths" of major characters became a dime a dozen, franchises spun into a million different little threads to maximize the count of "Number One" issues, there was this big push to fluff the celebrity status of individual creators (Rob Liefeld, anyone?), again in the name of trying to pump the perceived value of the comics not just as entertainment material but as potential investments... etc. Again, whether you think Shatterstar and Cable were the best characters of all time or not it's hard to argue that "artistic integrity" wasn't the industry's greatest concern, and it kind of blew up in everyone's faces before it was all over.

"Investments" structured around artificial scarcity and manufactured hype are always built on sand. All I can say is at least if you blew all your money on comic books and Beanie babies back in the day at least you got a few hours of entertainment and some reusable pillow stuffing out of it. When you go full meta like crypto you don't even get that, the only tangible evidence that anything existed at all is it's a few micro-degrees warmer outside because of the heat emitted by those ASICs as they turned your money into nothing.

(Heck, a Pokemon card or Pog collection could at least be used to level quite a few tables with one short leg, can't say that about a bored ape.)
 
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VERAULT

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I can say the 90's destroyed comics. popular names were offloaded on green writers who ruined old story lines. Artists moved on and new less skilled ones took over. No the 90's bastardized comics.

If I had to guess it was last ditch efforts to bring money back into the franchise.. but they were not changing with the times. Thats why young people dont read them. Well young people dont seem to like anything tangible except expensive disposable electronics.

But Yeah the 90's started out fine.. but by the mid 1990s Comics really suffered. 10 variants of every issue. Price gouging. Every single left to a cliff hanger that ultimately went nowhwere. A total mess.

You wont get any argument from me. But hey the cheese factor of the late 60's early 70's isnt missed either. Its like the 50s into the 60's and the 70's into the 80s were really great times.. But it comes and goes up until the end I suppose.

Soon Disney will own it all and deficate on every character that brought someone joy at one point or another.
 

Hak Foo

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Yes. Basically, you know the sort of grading systems you have for evaluating the condition and rarity of junk like comic books, baseball or Pokémon cards, whatever? The play is to set up a company that assigns grades to items *and also* conveniently assigns a ”fair market value” based on some secretive but totally for reals and not completely malleable secret formula. Then the trick is to build this enterprise into being the ‘industry standard’ for the field that “Pro Investors” rely on, ideally becoming the sole monopoly on valuation. Once you’ve hit that jackpot you’re free to manipulate the market all you want. It’s not going to be free, to be convincing you’re going to have to arrange a bit of shady auction behavior to make the case the valuations are ”real”, but once you’ve built enough hype the fleecing can begin in ernest.

I think it's interesting how all of these certification models seem to emulate the original play on professionally certified coins.

That's a story literally 100 years in the making.

During the late 1800s, they produced a large number of "Morgan" type silver dollars. There wasn't much demand for them at the time, big clunky coins just as the economy is getting comfortable with paper currency, gold coins, and modern banking. So they sat in vaults, largely in uncirculated condition, until the 1960s when it became clear that the US was going to switch away from silver coinage and people started pulling them out to redeem their "payable in silver coin" banknotes.

This created an interesting scenario: You do have items of known and agreed-upon scarcity (the mintages were more or less public record, and the survival rates were sort of well established-- some dates that were scarce before the vault unloading of the 60s became common) and a relatively narrow band for condition. This led to a theory that they could be turned into a nearly fungible asset-- any one 1878 dollar in grade "63/70" was, for business purposes, identical to any other.

Bringing in third-party graders made this as close to a reality as possible. The grader was paid independently of the sale of the coin, so they had no skin in the game to create the appearance of dishonesty, and they were able to provide some legitimacy by saying "we're also guaranteeing authenticity-- if you find that the coin we claimed was a super-rare 1895 was actually fake, or a modified 1892, we'd buy it back from you."

This hit full stride in the 1980s, but it has still had a lot of teething troubles. There have been a billion "services" come and go-- some had obvious conflicts of interest or failed to display a track record of consistent results, so only a few earned market trust.

This could have been a viable thing for some of these new assets, but for video games in particular, it feels like they skipped the "spend 30 years establishing an ecosystem" part and moved directly to the "trust us, we're experts."

Even in the "well established" coin ecosystem, there's still a lot of meta play-- new services come and go, there's a fair audience that will pay a modest premium for old certificates because they believe standards have slipped, and there's now "meta-certification"-- organizations that will say "Well, PCGS says it's a 62, but it's a REALLY GOOD 62"

Electronics are an odd collectible play because there's a functional condition dimension I'd suspect that they can't/don't test. Does that "9.8675309" certified grade tell me that the game was played in a machine whose +5 rail was a little hot, causing permanent degradation of the chips within? Will there be a certification for Dell GX270 mainboards that says "original capacitors, doomed to die in six months?"
 

daver2

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Of course, in this case, we still have the guy that actually made the thing in the first place alive (Woz). He is the most authority on these things surely?

If he can't (or won't) authenticate something he made, that must tell the auction house (and the bidders) something...

Dave
 

Eudimorphodon

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Its been said that he had a plane crash and that it seems to have scrambled his memory.

Honestly, that excuse gets pretty worn out. (And is kind of insulting; the guy did have a career after the crash, he hasn't been babbling in a wheelchair ever since.) Supposedly he had "retrograde amnesia" for a few weeks that "prevented him from forming new long term memories" and was confused/delirious for a while in the immediate aftermath, but... seriously, blaming every misremembered date or just "I dunno, it wasn't that important to me" slip on that event is pretty over the top.

I've done some "exciting" things over my work career, but that doesn't mean I have photographic recall of every single detail of every item that ever passed through my hands along the way. And whether or not this is "the" board from those pictures and is a prototype of some stage, well, hate to point this out, but just because something is a "prototype" doesn't mean it's automatically exciting. (It might be to a rabid fanboy, but to you it's just your job.) The real prototype is the pile of wires he fondly remembers showing off at the home computer club. This is a production prototype, IE, it's a functional test unit of a design that already has enough of the bugs worked out of it to be confident enough to build a PCB, and Woz didn't even lay it out, someone else did. Even if he did solder it, the claim for which is based on some third party swearing to be able to know for sure by looking at the lumps (Is there such a thing as solder phrenology? Guess there is now!), why should we assume this was an exciting day for him, vs. an hour or two of sheer unadulterated drudgery that he *wanted* to forget?
 
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Gary C

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I cant work out the 'soldered by Woz' bit anyway.

It is what it is, a pre-production board, broken and missing lots (if not all) original IC's

Still interesting.
 

VERAULT

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As someone mentioned. I like them solder all the time. No two of my solder points stick out as being similar or cant be pickd out in a line up. So I call BOGUS on that.
 

Eudimorphodon

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an analysis of how the board was broken on twitter

This "someone wanted to save the power supply" theory is everyone's favorite, but... color me slightly skeptical on this theory. The Apple-1's power supply is dead simple: it's two sets of diodes arranged into full bridge rectifiers, some fat smoothing capacitors, and four single-package LM32x-series direct-drive regulators. I mean, I guess you might save a little time snapping that chunk off, assuming you didn't crack all the traces and ruin it in the process, but it's such a brain-dead circuit you'd probably be better off just heat-gunning off the components and reusing them on a perfboard. I mean, maybe someone did that, but considering the stories about how Apple trashed trade-in Apple-1 boards by sawing them up I wouldn't rule out that the hacksaw'ed part of the split was done to weaken the board so it'd tear in two more easily. (If it *didn't* have a weak spot like that it'd take a lot more brutality to get it to go, and you might just break a little corner off trying.) I could totally see someone stuck with the job of hacksawing a pile of this trash apart experimenting with methods to speed it up.

I think you'd have a way better case for sawing up a PCB and saving the chunk with the PSU if it were something like the TRS-80 Model I's PSU section, which was made up of a bunch of discrete spaghetti that would be a genuine PITA to replicate. (Two 723 regulators with separate drive op-amps for +5/12v, a simpler zener regulator for -5v, etc. It's a complicated mess but Radio Shack did it that way because all these parts were actually cheaper than the integrated regulators when bought in sufficient bulk.) I would also think if you were really trying to save the PSU you'd bite the bullet and saw more so you didn't, as mentioned above, wreck it while snapping it apart.

An in-between theory is they intentionally broke the boards at about that point because the bits with the PSU components went into a "salvage" pile; those regulators and capacitors would be the pieces most worth saving.
 
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