Reminder: Don’t Recycle That Priceless Apple 1

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Hardware depreciates; it’s a sad fact of life. That thousand-dollar laptop you bought yesterday? Two years from now, you’ll be lucky to sell it on Craigslist for a hundred bucks. Almost every desktop, laptop, and phone—no matter how powerful its specs—is eventually bound for the landfill or recycling center, worth only its weight in scrap.

That is, except for the Apple 1 PC.

According to CleanBayArea, a Silicon Valley-based e-waste and recycling company, a woman in her 60s or 70s recently dropped off a box containing an original Apple 1, a rare machine hand-built by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and released in 1976. Originally sold for $666.66, surviving models have auctioned for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But the mysterious woman didn’t realize she’d tossed a valuable piece of tech history. “She said that her husband had passed away and that she had decided to clean up their garage,” CleanBayArea posted to its blog. “She dropped off a couple boxes of e-waste and drove off without leaving any contact information.”

CleanBayArea sold the device to a private collector for $200,000, and it has a $100,000 check (i.e., 50 percent of that sale) to give to the woman, should she turn up at some point.

And remember: While most hardware isn’t worth much a decade or two after its release, you never know when that old PC might turn out to be a collector’s item.

Image Credit: Ed Uthman/Flickr Wikipedia CC BY _SA 2.0

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