$200,000 Vintage Apple I Computer Recycled By Unsuspecting Mystery Woman

Next time you clean out your garage, you might want to get any old electronics sitting around appraised before resigning them to the scrap heap. A mystery woman went to the San Francisco electronics recycling company, Clean Bay Area to donate her late husband's electronics to make room in the garage. In doing so, she accidentally threw away a rare, vintage computer, worth $200,000. It may have looked like a random, old circuit board to the untrained eye, but the dusty electronics turned out the be an exceedingly elusive Apple I computer.

The donated computer was purchased from the recycling company by a private collector for $200,000. The company's policy is to split any earnings from sales with the donor, so the woman who was simply cleaning out her garage is about to get $100,000–if they can find her. As the woman opted to skip taking a tax receipt, the recycling company has no way of getting in contact with her.

The Apple I was the first commercial computer hand-assembled by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, back in 1976. It maintains to be quite the collector's item. Only 200 Apple I's were ever built, and in the year 2013 63 were confirmed to be still in existence. This latest discovery should raise that number to 64.

The woman donating random electronics from her garage may have lucked into some easy money, but whoever bought the Apple I for $200,000 may be even luckier. In 2013, a working Apple I sold for $668,000 in France. The record-breaking price was due to the computer having Wozniak's signature, the original owner's manual, and a business transaction letter from Jobs. (A similar set from Christie's auction house is seen below.) And, the Henry Ford Museum once paid almost $1 million for an Apple I and accoutrements in "outstanding" condition.

Clean Bay Area is likely to become hounded by people pretending to be the genuine donor, but there is no need to try to fool the owner, Victor Gichun. All she needs to do is come back to the warehouse. He says, "To prove who she is, I just need to look at her."

Source: Washington Post