Christie’s online auction offering an Apple 1 computer May 23

Apple-1 personal computer, the motherboard labeled ‘Apple Computer 1 Palo Alto Ca. Copyright 1976,’ serial no. 01-0053 (probably for the Byte Shop) with user’s manuals. Estimate: £300,000-£500,000. Image courtesy of Christie’s

LONDON – Christie’s online auction titled “On the Shoulders of Giants: Making the Modern World” is offering an original Apple 1 computer. The auction is open for bidding now and concludes May 23.

The auction pays tribute to the brilliant minds whose discoveries have shaped man’s understanding of the universe and revolutionized the world. The sale is inspired by Isaac Newton’s famous reflection, that “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” Through letters, manuscripts, printed editions, and association objects it traces a path from Newton and Charles Darwin to some of the great 20th century theoretical physicists, including Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman and Stephen Hawking. The sale has a special emphasis on the history of computing.

The Apple-1 personal computer in the auction is housed in a briefcase (above). The motherboard is labeled “Apple Computer 1 Palo Alto Ca. Copyright 1976.” It is expected to be the top lot in the auction at upward of $382,000.

Arguably most important work in the history of science is Isaac Newton’s The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. Christie’s is offering a handsome two-volume set of the book, the first edition printed in English, printed in London by Benjamin Motte in 1729 (est. $51,000-$76,400). Newton’s great work was translated into English by Andrew Motte, who was a brother to the printer and himself a mathematician and natural philosopher.

Isaac Newton (1642-1727), ‘The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy,’ translated by Andrew Motte. London: Benjamin Motte, 1729, two volumes, octavo (194 x 115mm). Estimate £40,000-£60,000. Image courtesy of Christie’s

A signed and dated photograph of Charles Darwin, taken by his favorite photographer, Oscar Gustav Rejlander is another of the auction’s highlights. The photo is larger than the standard carte-de-visite images that most often appear at auction and was taken from one of the photographer’s original negatives of 1871. It was signed in the last year of Darwin’s life (est. $15,300-$23,000.

Photograph of Charles Darwin by Oscar Gustav Rejlander signed in full and dated on the mount (‘Charles Darwin / May 1. 1881’), print size 102 x 77mm, the mount 164 x 108mm. Estimate £12,000-£18,000. Image courtesy of Christie’s

The sale continues Christie’s history of offering the property of notable figures spanning science, royalty, the arts, culture and politics.