Indy man sells one of Apple's first computers to East Coast collector

Update: After bidding did not meet the seller's expectations at the close of the auction, RR Auction returned to interested parties and a sale was reached March 17, 2023. The buyer is an East Coast-based Apple computer collector who wishes to remain anonymous, RR Auction told IndyStar on March 21, 2023.

A piece of techie history with Indy connections is up for grabs – for a hefty price.

One of the first Apple computers — a demo unit of the Apple-1 that has been in possession of an Indianapolis resident for more than 40 years — is on the auction block.

The fully-functional Apple-1 is leading an auction of Apple collectibles by Boston-based RR Auction.

West side resident Doug McIntosh — his name endearingly similar to Macintosh, Apple's branding for its personal computers for years before being shortened to Mac — said he was pretty much given the machine in 1978, not long after the company introduced the world to its PCs.

McIntosh’s computer, in its orange case, was originally used as a demonstration system at the Data Domain computer store in Columbus, Indiana, in 1977. Now defunct, Bloomington-based Data Domain became one of Apple's first four dealers in 1976 and is thought to be whether the term “personal computer” originated, according to RR Auction.

This Apple-1 computer signed by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and owned by Indianapolis resident Doug McIntosh is up for auction through March 16, 2023.
This Apple-1 computer signed by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and owned by Indianapolis resident Doug McIntosh is up for auction through March 16, 2023.

Similar machines have sold for upwards of more than $900,000 in recent years.

That helped convince McIntosh, 66, to part with the collector's item.

“I’ve long considered it kind of a nest egg and that I would probably divest myself from it at some point,” McIntosh said. “I've had it long enough and I've enjoyed it as much as I can enjoy it.”

The machine leads the “Steve Jobs and the Apple Computer Revolution” auction RR Auction is conducting through March 16.

The Apple-1 was the first personal computer sold ready to use.

Steve Jobs and Steve “Woz” Wozniak originally conceived it as a bare circuit board to be sold as a kit and completed by electronics hobbyists, according to RR Auction.

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They wanted a larger audience though and Jobs approached a California personal computer store about selling them. The store agreed to buy 50, provided the computers were fully assembled.

The Apple-1 being auctioned was restored in 2019 by Apple’s 12th hire, Daniel Kottke, and signed by Wozniak.

McIntosh first laid eyes on the machine as a 20-something, hanging out at the Data Domain store at a Columbus mall.

“Once I touched a computer, that was it,” he said. “I kind of became a fixture there.”

McIntosh learned enough about the Apple-1 through playing with it at the store to the point where he would answer customer questions and was entrusted to man the shop when employees went on breaks.

“I was an employee in every way other than a paycheck,” he said.

The Columbus store closed abruptly and when McIntosh saw a former store employee he asked to borrow the demo Apple-1 with which he'd spent so much time. The employee brought the computer to McIntosh at the Indianapolis Data Domain. But that store soon closed as well, and management told McIntosh he could keep the Apple, he said.

“It just became mine,” he said. “At that point, it was worth a couple hundred bucks.”

'Started a lifelong love affair'

McIntosh started a career in computers; software development. He became acquainted with Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak. And he's chatted up Jobs, Kottke and other computer industry luminaries.

McIntosh, who retired about a year ago, founded an Apple computer club.

“I started a lifelong love affair with Apple equipment. I pretty much exclusively have used Apple stuff ever since then. I have a whole mini museum of old Apple Macs and stuff in my spare bedroom-slash-computer museum. “

The Apple-1 is rare and computers like it have typically fetched about $500,000 at auction, said Bobby Livingstone, executive vice president at RR Auction.

Potential buyers are likely to be internet entrepreneurs or engineers, he said.

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“They are of the age that remember the Apple-1 or the Apple-2 and that were deeply affected by the original Apple products,” Livingstone said. “These were the first ones that you could actually write your own programs at home.”

McIntosh would like someone in Indianapolis to buy the computer and keep it local.

“I’m going to be very sad to see my little orange friend go, but it’s time to let somebody else have fun playing around with it,” he said.

For details on the “Steve Jobs and the Apple Computer Revolution” auction, ending March 16, visit

Contact IndyStar reporter Cheryl V. Jackson at or 317-444-6264. Follow her on Twitter:@cherylvjackson.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Indy man sells one of Apple's first computers to East Coast collector