An Apple 1 on ebay, whats the scoop on it?

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transwarp II guy's picture
Joined: Mar 7 2013
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http://www.ebay.com/itm/Early-1976-Apple-1-computer-from-the-garage-of-Steve-Jobs-/271836061695?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3f4ab11fff

Kind of curious if anyone here has worked on it?

The plastic case is very interesting as well. Also the same seller has an early rev 0 apple II.

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Re: An Apple 1 on ebay, whats the scoop on it?

This is the Joe Copson unit. If you read the description, I worked on it. But no I didn't load Microsoft basic, I loaded Integer basic, so there is a minor error there....

When worked on it last year to restore and bring it into running condition I also chemically stabilized it. Bringing up an Apple-1 safely so that you can keep it as original as possible takes a lot more than simply ESR on the caps and using a chip tester or scope. There are some videos and I have plenty of pictures of the work and hope to share them with the new owner. I expect the current owner to provide my information to them.

To give an example, last week I was filming for a museum exhibit and we had an Apple-1 on for hours. Unless the board was stored in a temperature and humidity controlled environment since the late 70's or early 80's, I would only attempt that on an original system with original caps if you do the right things to make sure the system is restored, not just fired up. Anyone can replace the caps and TTL chips and have a working system, but then only the fiberglass board is original Wink

At some point I should compile a book of the procedures I use when restoring a system. For example, some of this stuff like reforming electrolytic and even reconstituting ceramic caps on the board would be useful beyond the Apple-1 world.

Cheers,
Corey

transwarp II guy's picture
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Re: An Apple 1 on ebay, whats the scoop on it?

Thanks for the info Corey!

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Re: An Apple 1 on ebay, whats the scoop on it?

Corey does good work...Period.

Steven Smile

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Re: An Apple 1 on ebay, whats the scoop on it?

Thanks... I appreciate it.

Cheers,
Corey

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Re: An Apple 1 on ebay, whats the scoop on it?

Hey, Corey. Congratulations on getting to have the fun of taking part in another one of these auctions.

That said... I have a question about the restoration of this system. Well, actually, I don't, but there's another forum out there where a number of MMQB's are getting all hep-up about this but apparently aren't confident enough in their criticism to ask you themselves:

"What was the reasoning behind using Krazy Glue to repair the split expansion connector?"

Said backseat drivers seem convinced that using superglue to repair anything is somehow a sin. The naysayers seem to fall into two camps, those that think you should have desoldered the connector and replaced it, which, well, I know why you didn't, and those that think some sort of unnamed epoxy would be better. As far as I'm aware superglue should be perfectly fine for this unless the plastic is incompatible with it (which I don't think many plastics are) or if there were some fragments missing and you needed to fill a gap. Curious how you'd answer these people.

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Re: An Apple 1 on ebay, whats the scoop on it?

Ok. First which other board are they asking these questions. I'd love to answer. I really hate Monday quarterbacks/backseat drivers who are all talk and cannot actually throw a football. LOL.

If the edge connector wasn't repaired or replaced the system would not have been functional. A split connector is a fairly common problem on surviving Apple-1 since a hit to the ACI when installed can break it.

Second to answer the question, there was no missing plastic. It was a clean split on the seam. If there was I would have either used an epoxy color matched or I would have had to resort to replacing the edge connector. Which would have impacted the value. I strive to keep every original component in place. I will rejuvenate ceramic and electrolytic caps if possible. Repair what ever I can. I have access to some equipment that the average person many not have.

To repair the connector I used a superglue type gel epoxy, not cheap superglue you buy at the dollar store. It is compatible with the material used by Cinch the edge connector in the 1970's before TRW purchased them. I also wet sanded the seam so it not some sloppy job. I read manufactures data sheets on component materials, and even research known repair techniques for similar materials outside of computing. My skills and techniques come from automotive, marine, aerospace and other similar industries and are accepted practices. As a hobby before getting into vintage computers I have been know to work on very expensive vintage and new collectible cars. Trust me if I can wet sand a scratch on a Lamborghini, I can repair a connector on an Apple-1.

I wish some of these people would have been at VCF east this weekend and seen some examples of my restoration work you would understand I am neurotic about things being perfect and would not use substandard materials for a repair.

Cheers,
Corey

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Re: An Apple 1 on ebay, whats the scoop on it?

So curiosity got the better of me and thanks to a member here I got the name of the board where all the fun "SuperGlue" discussion is taking place. It seems to be one comment from one person who then disappears from the thread when challenged... I did love his used car dealer comment. Maybe he'd like to take a look at my car collection. LOL. Anyway, I thank the people there for setting the record strait. I love the link in the thread to the fact that they incorrectly repaired King Tut's beard by using epoxy.

So to set the record strait.... With this type of repair, you do not want to epoxy it with 2 part epoxy. The edge connector would not work right since that stuff is too thick and is better for two dissimilarly shaped surfaces to be repaired since it will most likely bleed out the side since you cannot layer it on thin enough and get a good bond. A one part epoxy would work a bit better, but normal epoxy really is only good where you need to weld two surfaces together that have some mismatched surface area. Any standard epoxy will still have similar bleeding issues and would have needed me to get into the edge connector to clean up any excess epoxy that pushed out, not a fun task. You also can't use MEK based plastic weld/glue that partially melts the plastic together as was mentioned in the thread. The plastic used in these connectors is wrong and it won't weld right.

You also do not want to use normal SuperGlue which is drippy and actually will have problems when in contact with 99% ISP or contact cleaner, something that will be commonly used on an edge connector. The actual glue, to shill the brand, was a gorilla gel "super glue" which is actually not really a normal super glue, but is more like a 1 part epoxy gel with rubber infused into it so that the joint won't re-crack easily. Calling it super glue is pure marketing...

Oh well, back to my real job...

Cheers,
Corey

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Re: An Apple 1 on ebay, whats the scoop on it?

Thank you very much for your comments, Corey986!

For the record, I did imagine that you'd probably be able to determine pretty easily where the source of the naysaying was, given the extensive overlap in membership between these forums, but when I opened this thread here I nonetheless felt I should make a token attempt to semi-anonymize the source just, well, because. Wink I've seen some of your other work in VCF threads (for instance) so I didn't have a whole lot of doubt that you knew what you were doing but I thought it might be educational to hear the reasoning "straight from the horses' mouth".

I do have sort of a followup question, although I would understand if it's the sort of thing you might not want to comment on until the current auction completes: Lately it seems as if there has been a lot of variation in the sale price of Apple-1s; in just the last few months of 2014 you had the mind-boggling 900k result from the Ford Museum sale while the "Ricketts" Apple-1 doesn't seem to have quite lived up to expectations. A lot of these machines have passed through your hands and, well... in your opinion, do you feel like there is any logic as to why one example sells for so much more than another that has something to do with the condition of the machine itself, or is it really just a lottery?

Anyway, thanks again. I'll be sure to try to ask you what glue to use if I'm ever lucky enough to find something *really* valuable that needs a minor fix.

(Any thoughts on how to get ballpoint pen scratches out of the metal keycaps of a PET 2001?) Wink

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Re: An Apple 1 on ebay, whats the scoop on it?

To answer your question about the variance in auction values, it's very easy. Works just like cars or comic books...
Ignoring if something is super unique (i.e. Steve Woz's personally Apple-1 for example, or as I saw this weekend, Bob Moog's personal Fairlight CMI synth)

First the difference in the types of sales...

If someone who has an Apple-1 board is hard for cash... you still can show up with a briefcase full of it and buy a board. How much cash... Not a trivial amount, but also not a million dollars. These deals usually happen in days or hours. Yes, these private sales happen, but you will never hear about them publicly. This happens for all kinds of collectables. I personally know of a "Warhol" painting that traded this way, and some personal items of Da Vinci as well.

Next you have the difference between eBay and Auction houses. eBay has a completely different audience than Auction houses. Auction houses can net the highest amount, but the time to sell at an auction house could be years as you wait for a slot in their sale schedule. They are very conscious not to flood the market and also spend a good amount of time and effort promoting the sale. This promotion is key to high end collectors be not only aware, but have the time to prepare to auction. Many people who can afford spending 1 million dollars on an Apple-1 are not 100% liquid and will need some time to get the cash or credit in-line. Their money is usually tied up in something that is making money and they simply need to get access or arrange credit in a few days.

Finally there is online auctions like eBay. eBay has a general public audience. Typically not the same level of promotion and stuff. It takes weeks to sell, not years like an auction house, but will only net a percentage of what an auction house will get. So I do not expect an Apple-1 or any collectible to get to the level of an auction house. The "flip" time to sell is much shorter so it can be good if you look at it from a profit to time kind of thing. Also from an investment perspective, if you can get something on eBay at a good price and can wait to sell at an auction house, you can do very well. But nothing is guaranteed simply using past history as a guide.

Now the big question, why the variance in values... Keeping the idea of the type of sale in mind, lets go over the reasons with some examples....
Remember some collectors value different things if they cannot get a 10.0 condition board with a full set of documentation from the original owner and canceled checks with Steve Jobs' signature on the back from the deposit.

Physical Condition, Operate-ability, Originality, Documentation... Board Run...

(2014) Henry Ford Board from Bonhams (900k)- Condition 9.5, Operates, Original Major Components, Limited Documentation (1981 owner paper trail), ByteShop
(2014) Ricketts Board from Christies (365k)- Condition 5, Operates, Original Major Components, Good Documentation including Canceled Checks (Researched in First Apple Book), No Original ACI, Early ByteShop
(2013) Fred from Lousiana- Brekker (671k) - Condition 7, Operates, Original Major Components, Complete Documentation (Fully documented including letter from S.Jobs), NTI
(2012) Huston Bros- eBay (75k), Condition 2, Cannot Safely operate, Original Major Components- Fire Damage and cut traces, Partial Documentation from H.Brothers ownership period only, Board and ACI only,ByteShop
(2012) Sotherby's (374k), Condition 6.5, Operates, Original Major Components, Full Documentation, NTI

I have left out a few as there have been a couple of others, but you get the idea. There have been sales without the Original Major components that have impacted the value and depending on those components it could be major or minor impact to value (i.e. Big blue cap vs missing white 6502) so the pricing matrix could get complicated so I don't want to get in to it now.

Current Copson Board...

Copson Board- eBay (????)- Condition 8, Operates, Original Major Components, Limited Documentation, Early ByteShop

If you want details on how I rate the boards, the rest of this week I'm busy at my day job, but will try to do something this weekend....

But I can give you an example about the Sotherby's board from 2012. The board had no damage, but had some minor wear to the finish. The 5300uf cap was dented, but all parts were original. 3-4 sockets on top row are not good and need either work or replacement as they are loose and sometimes need the chips reseated to work. I could have tried rebuilding the sockets to avoid replacing the them, but was only called in at the last minute to assist in getting it working since the video was "bad" and time was an issue. This was also before I did heavy Apple-1 repair work. I was doing the owner of the board a favor. I was able to bend the pins and reseat chips, but assume the problem will re-occur. The board was also missing a couple of pads in the proto area and few other minor things.

With all this being said, yes I won't give an idea publicly what the Copson board will sell for on eBay. I try not to publicly state estimated prices, only condition and previous sale history.

Cheers,
Corey

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Re: An Apple 1 on ebay, whats the scoop on it?

Corey986 wrote:

Ok. First which other board are they asking these questions. I'd love to answer. I really hate Monday quarterbacks/backseat drivers who are all talk and cannot actually throw a football. LOL.

The Naysayers are upset because they haven't got to put their hands on a system that will sell for $100,000.00 to $750,000.00..

"Your Golden"... Thanks for putting up with us Mere Mortals... Your Apple Greatness...

MarkO

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Re: An Apple 1 on ebay, whats the scoop on it?

Corey is the Apple I "Manic Mechanic"!

Steven Smile

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Re: An Apple 1 on ebay, whats the scoop on it?

I knew I should have set my max bid for a quarter of a million dollars!!
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evank's picture
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Re: An Apple 1 on ebay, whats the scoop on it?

Corey986 wrote:

understand I am neurotic

I can vouch for that! Smile LOL, plenty of times at our NJ museum I say "Good enough" and Corey goes on and on and on about perfection.

Corey986 wrote:

about things being perfect

...And yet his posts are littered with spelling mistakes. Ironic, isn't it?

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Re: An Apple 1 on ebay, whats the scoop on it?

Well since most of the time I'm doing it on my iPhone it's as perfect as autocorrect can be. I may have typed it perfect... it just wants to change it anyway... The rest of the time, Sri get's the blame.. then again I'm not a professional writer...

Cheers,
Corey