Makes you wonder if there are any more that will come to light like this!
Great story... and this stuff does happen in any type of collecting... We eventually knew this would happen. We also know someone will drop off a Mimeo, Newton or Obtronix at some point and someone will think its real and try to sell it not knowing it's not (nothing intentional, this is why I think Mike Willegal started the registry)
But my big question is, I can see why the company contacted the news to do a story to contact the woman, but usually someone has taken a picture of the item when they find it or of the item itself. I wonder where that picture is? I hope the new owner contacts Mike Willegal to get on the Apple-1 registry. I'm very curious to see the board.
I also wonder about the private auction... My guess if the whole story if true, the private auction actually was just a private sale to some the owner of the company knows or the owner himself paid the company an amount for it.
There's also the question of who did they get to authenticate it.
I've heard other stories like this. In most cases, the story teller says the unit went to the dump. Without hard proof, I start with the assumption that story isn't completey true. Often someone will confuse an Apple II board or other early computer as being the more valuable Apple 1.
One story that I believe is true, occurred when an Apple 1 owner got robbed. His Apple 1 disappeared along with the other stuff that the thief took. However, it turned up in a day or two when a neighbor kid found it in a nearby field and returned it. Apparently the robbers threw it away on the way out, as being too worthless to bother with.
The ironic thing would be if the recyclers pulled the 6502 and recycled it for the gold...
An example is Roy Borrill's story about an Apple 1 being given to to the US Olympic Tennis Team. The story is retold by Tom Owad in "Apple I Replica Creation: Back to the Garage", which can be found on this site. Apparently it was lost in a plane crash that took several of the tennis team members lives.
Despite the fact that airplane crashes are extrodinarily well documented on the web, I cannot find any reference to any US Olympic Tennis Team members being killed in any plane crash at any time. In fact, I can only find one reference to any tennis player being killed in an airplane crash and that was in 1948.
There was a crash in Poland in 1980 carrying a number of US Boxing team members. Maybe Roy's memory was faulty and it was really the boxing team that the computer was given to. Even if it was the boxing team, why would they be carrying an Apple 1 around the world in 1980, with the ready availability of far more sophisticated systems?
The story has been confirmed true by a knowlegable acquaintance that has a friend that volunteers for the store in question.