Breker bracing for surge on early Apple computers Nov. 16

Prototype of the Twiggy Drive Macintosh, 1983. Auction Team Breker image.

Prototype of the Twiggy Drive Macintosh, 1983. Auction Team Breker image.

COLOGNE, Germany – In May, AuctionTeamBreker made news by breaking the record price for an Apple-1 computer. The 1976 original unit surpassed all expectations when it sold for 516,461 euros ($671,400). On Nov. 16 Auction Team Breker will be offering another Apple-1 computer, but this time with its original white cardboard box (estimate: 250,000-400,000 euros/$300,000-$500,000). LiveAuctioneers.com will provide Internet live bidding.

The unit comes from the first batch of 50 computers by Apple’s first client, the Byte Shop. “No. 46” is one of very few Apple 1 computers still in working order, as well as the only known example in its original box. A scarce photograph of the bedroom in Jobs’ parental house shows a stack of identical boxes of the first order of 50 units.

Although 500,000 euros/$670,000 for a computer that does not even have the Internet may seem staggering, the Apple 1 phenomenon has had a steady build-up. Early model Apple computers have been changing hands privately for many years but have only lately started to appear at public auctions.

Even rarer than the Apple-1 is the prototype of the Twiggy Drive Macintosh from 1983, only one other is known worldwide as it was Steve Jobs’ order to destroy all prototypes as soon as production started. This “original Macintosh” prototype is unique as it shows the signatures of the “Macintosh Division” molded on the inside of the cover, also from Steve Jobs and “Woz” Steve Wozniak. The keyboard with pullout card tray did not make it to production. This is a rare machine in fully working condition, this is one of only two worldwide existing examples known today. Included in this lot is a letter of authenticity signed by Dan Kottke, an early Apple employee who worked on the Macintosh team with Jobs. Also his signature is shown on the inside cover (estimate 40,000-70,000 euros/$50,000-$90,000).

Another landmark computer by the young Apple Inc. was world‘s first mouse-operated Apple Lisa-1, 1983, which was sold for six months only. This rare and historically important computer comes up at the same specialty auction in Germany on Nov. 16 (estimate: 15,000-30,000 euros/$20,000-$40,000).

Predating the Apple 1 by some 150 years is a rare 1835 Arithmomere—the first commercially viable mechanical calculator—in a boulle housing with engraved dedication from its inventor, Thomas-de-Colmar, (20,000-40,000 euros/$30,000-$50,000). Another legend is a 1944 example of the three-rotor Enigma ciphering machine of World War II, whose codes dramatically influenced the war so (20,000-40,000 euros/$30,000-$50,000).

Typewriter collectors will be delighted by the attractive North from 1892 (5,000-8,000 euros /$6,500-$10,000) and a fine Crown Model 1 from 1888 in original carrying case (9,000-12,000 euros/$12,000-$15,000).

In addition to early computer technology and office antiques, the sale features a private collection of scientific instruments from the Age of Enlightenment to the late 19th century.

Among the devices for timekeeping are a Universal Ring Dial, c. 1840 (1,200-2,000 euros/$1,500-$2,500) and a superbly engraved equinoctial silver sundial by Jose Marino Zilveti, c. 1790, (1,000-1,500 euros/$1,300-$2,000).

Eighteenth century British pieces include a lacquered brass reflecting telescope by James Lynch of Dublin, c. 1770 (1,500-2,500 euros/$2,000-$3,000) and mahogany waywiser, or surveyor’s wheel, by the royal instrument maker George Adams, London, c. 1740 (1,500-2,500 euros /$2,000-$3,000). Also from London comes an extensive Wenham’s binocular microscope compendium by Ross, circa 1875 (3,000-5,000 euros /$4,000-$6,500), while amicroscope compendium by Parisian maker Nachet, circa 1875 (2,000-3,000 euros/$2,500-$4,000) leads a selection of Continental instruments that includes an impressive astronomical transit telescope by Brunner Freres, circa 1870 (3,000-5,000 euros /$4,000-$6,500). Instruments of surveying and navigation, the majority with their original original patina, are also included.

From the mighty to the miniature, the auction showcases a selection of self-playing musical instruments, many from a distinguished private museum collection. The largest is a majestic Belgian Decap dance organ, 1950s, with illuminated facade housing a mechanical orchestra of bass pipes, three drums and a glockenspiel (20,000-35,000 euros/$25,000-$45,000). One of the smallest is an exquisite diamond-set musical jewelry box in the form of a grand piano, circa 1880, created for a senior guard of the Cossacks Regiment (30,000-50.000 euros/$40,000-$65,000).

Among the highlights from a lifelong Eurospean toy collection is a Gauge I Marklin H steam locomotive from circa 1930 (4,000-6,000 euros/$5,000-$8,000). A fine horse-drawn carriage, 1909, by the same maker, with original lamps and livery, conjures a graceful form of bygone transport (7,000-10,000 euros/$9,000-$13,000). Marklin was renowned for its pond yachts and miniature steamers such as the clockwork pleasure boat “Loreley”, 1914, (12,000-15,000 euros/$16,000-$20,000).

Toys by other makers are equally well-represented. Pristine automobiles by Carett, Bing and Tipp & Co. line the shelves alongside many near-mint motorcycles by Kraus and Distle and boxed examples of Ernst Paul Lehmann’ whimsical work.

Combining train and automobile with a particularly French frivolity is the surreal train automobile Renar, circa 1905, which was retailed exclusively by the Parisian department store Magasin du Louvre, and still retains its original box almost 110 years later (10,000-15,000 euros/$13,000-$20,000).

Representing the magical side of life is a collection of 19th and early 20th century French automata. One of the highlights is the beautiful Magicienn by Roullet et Decamps, circa 1890, with bisque portrait face, whose tranquil gaze makes the strange contents of the pots all the more surprising (40,000-60,000 euros/$50,000-$75,000).

Also associated with magic is Le Magnetiseur by Phalibois, Paris, c. 1910, (30,000-45,000 euros /$40,000-$58,000), probably modeled on Harry Kellar’s famous act, the “Levitation of Princess Karnac.” Another piece that seems to defy the laws of gravity is Renou’s Metamorphic Man, circa 1910, who increases in height as the temperature rises, until he is taller than the thermometer itself (6,000-8,000 euros/$8,000-$10,500).

Equally fantastical are Roullet et Decamps’ Monkey Patissier, circa 1885, with kitten pie, (8,000-12,000 euros/$10,000-$15,000) and a full-size wax working model of the Death of Cleopatra, circa 1890, (10,000-15,000 euros/$13,000-$19,000).

For details phone + 49-(0) 2236-38 43 40 or email auction@breker.com.

View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Prototype of the Twiggy Drive Macintosh, 1983. Auction Team Breker image.

Prototype of the Twiggy Drive Macintosh, 1983. Auction Team Breker image.

The Apple-1 computer. Auction Team Breker image.

The Apple-1 computer. Auction Team Breker image.

Arithmomere mechanical calculator, 1835. Auction Team Breker image.

Arithmomere mechanical calculator, 1835. Auction Team Breker image.

Le Magnetiseur Phalibois automaton, Paris, circa 1910. Auction Team Breker image.

Le Magnetiseur Phalibois automaton, Paris, circa 1910. Auction Team Breker image.

Belgian Decamps dance organ, 1950s. Auction Team Breker image.

Belgian Decamps dance organ, 1950s. Auction Team Breker image.

Marklin Loreley clockwork toy boat. Auction Team Breker image.

Marklin Loreley clockwork toy boat. Auction Team Breker image.