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

Gary C

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Much more likely is this part is the highest part of the board so weight would press on this bit and raise stress at the breaking point if it was in under a pile of stuff.
 

VERAULT

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Yeah but seems everyone wants the same brand and color of those Apple 1 caps... but not in a million years would someone wanting to build an apple 1 destroy an apple 1 to do it.. so that argument holds little water.
 

Chuck(G)

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I'd think that the transformers not on the PCB would be worth far more than the few discretes in the broken-off section.
There is, however a third possibility. Damage the unit irrecoverably so that it could not be refurbed and sold as new. That practice pre-dates the PC market by quite some time. I witnessed CEs taking sledgehammers to disk drives to render them unsalvageable.
 

Eudimorphodon

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There is, however a third possibility. Damage the unit irrecoverably so that it could not be refurbed and sold as new. That practice pre-dates the PC market by quite some time.

The lore is that this is what Apple did with all the trade-ins of Apple 1s for IIs, and it’s why it’s my pet theory that this either was a sold unit (maybe as part of the byte shop order that happened to be on a PCB from a preliminary test batch) or a shop mule that met the reaper that way but for whatever reason someone snagged this hunk as a souvenir. It might have been kicking around a cubicle for years, heaven knows I’ve kept some stupid stuff.

(Still have in the garage a milled aluminum prototype of the faceplates a company I used to work for bolted onto rack servers to turn them into “appliances“. Kept it because of a stupid joke we made about it during a company meeting that embarrassed them enough to change the color.)

A good question is if anyone actually involved with this legendary destruction is still alive and remembers doing it, I guess.
 
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Al Kossow

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A good question is if anyone actually involved with this legendary destruction is still alive and remembers doing it, I guess.

my pet theory.. it was done by someone that is left-handed.

the cut was done with a hacksaw from the back, they sawed through a bit of the ceramic cap
if that is true, the way the cut was made would have made sense for someone holding the saw in their left hand
 

Gary C

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my pet theory.. it was done by someone that is left-handed.

the cut was done with a hacksaw from the back, they sawed through a bit of the ceramic cap
if that is true, the way the cut was made would have made sense for someone holding the saw in their left hand
It is cut isn't it. The cut to the top thick track is just too straight to be broken.
 

falter

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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
I know memory is not 100% reliable and even to the founders of historical companies the prototypes are not always memorialized well. After Al dumped the two good ROMs from the Sol prototype, I went to Lee Felsenstein and Bob Marsh both to ask what the prototype's "firmware" enabled it to do exactly, since we didn't have the third ROM where much of the code was, as it had been damaged. Neither could remember any functionality, and Bob had had the thing in his possession for 40 years at that point. So yes, Woz could potentially be wrong. Over the years he's said a number of things that are demonstrably, almost laughably wrong.

That said, if I were bidding, would I take the word of a well respected expert who did not actually work on any of these things and was in short pants when the Apple 1 was being produced, over *3* guys who were directly involved? If I were placing a premium on that board being the one in the Polaroids, that would give me pause.

I've thought of all kinds of scenarios to explain this board's existence, from straight up it-is-what-it-is to outright forgery. Near as I can tell, they're all plausible. We don't have any photos of the backside of the board and the photos we do have are old, poorly lit Polaroids. For all we know someone could have gotten their hands on the photo negatives used for etching and banged off a board or two for themselves. I know of at least a couple of cases in the past where something like this happened. I've spoken to past employees who were allowed and even encouraged, as a perk of the job, to put something together for themselves. That may be how my Osborne 1 has that weird 'pre production' board in it.

While I deeply respect Corey's expertise, experts do get it wrong sometimes. If I were the auction house, I'd take the hit and modify the description to be less unequivocal and just say it's *a* pre-production prototype board, not *the* prototype, and leave it at that. There seems to be enough consensus among all the parties who would be in the know that it's at least that. Otherwise, they'd better hope another prototype board that looks more like the one in the photo doesn't pop up one day. I can imagine it would get quite ugly if it did.
 

oldpcguy

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There are only two people who I would trust to certify the authenticity of this board. I know neither of them and one of them has already passed away.
 

VERAULT

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Even though I am against the stupid money being thrown at this Apple-1 devices. I still would feel its absolute fraud if it came out that there are more "prototypes" out there and this one is not the one they claim it to be. Because at that point lets say its one of.. well 6. So there could theoretically be more still out there. I doubt anyone would pay APPLE-1 prices for a broken board if others are out there. It sets a really bad precident for online auctions and online auctions (specifally ebay) which are not rigidly controlled have had nothing put problems. If this goes throught it shows there isnt much you can trust when buying.. so just dont do it.
 

Eudimorphodon

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Honestly, as long as nobody can prove for sure that it's actually a fake I can't imagine condition or how many PCB brothers and sisters it might have would really make any difference to its "worth". Apple-1s both serve no practical purpose, nor are they actually historically significant. Their entire value store resides in celebrity narrative, IE, they're limited edition artifacts representing the heroic birth of Apple Computer/Steve Jobs, corporate genius. Whether this is the particular prototype in those Polaroids or just one of five units that used this board (why waste boards from that first batch the PCB contractor ran off if they work?) seems ultimately kind of immaterial to its intrinsic status as being one of those "value tokens". It might be a little embarrassing for the auction house if proof came to light after the auction that this wasn't *the* board, it was a shop mule that was used to test ICs for a month and then spent all the rest of the 1970's stuck under the leg of a couch to keep it from wobbling (and that's why it's broken in this weird way). But... simply because it's still an "Apple-1" its value as a token won't change much.

Not saying this to defend this ridiculousness, but it's how this market works. If I discovered a 500 year old piece of early Renaissance toilet paper that I could absolutely prove was smeared with Leonardo Da Vinci's leftovers, well, not going to say it's going to be worth as much as the Mona Lisa, but find me a good auction house and someone will give me a positively ridiculous amount of money for it simply because it's a "Da Vinci". Heck, I might even get some bonus points for it being such a unique offering in an unusual medium, but... again, it is just the name they're buying and in its own disgusting way it's interchangeable with the rest of his body of work.
 
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falter

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Well I think everyone agrees it is a prototype, so it'll command a comparable amount of money to production boards I would think. I can't say for sure a bidder would place a premium on it being the Polaroid machine, but given the insanity I've seen at the lower end of the hobby and how prices can be dramatically different over seemingly trivial details, I'd say it's fair to guess they might. And if they were relying on the auction house description and weren't made aware of the dissenting opinions of Woz, Terrell and Kottke, then they might get upset. Or they might opportunistically hire a lawyer (who doesn't love a good lawsuit in America, even a questionable one!) and try to get a partial refund. It would be more than a minor embarassment I think, if another contestant for the crown emerged, and the haughty lawyers get going. For experts who have missed big in other fields like art, it's a career ender. Why take the chance? UNLESS they have info in that report we don't.
 
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jafir

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Hasn't it been suggested recently that his memory of things from that long ago might not be completely trusted? No slight against him, memory is a strange thing, and while I remember my first day of kindergarten pretty clearly, I have had people add me on social media that I must have went to high school with that I cannot remember at all, and I have close friends that don't seem to remember things we did from less than 2 years ago.
 
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