MILPITAS (KPIX 5) — The search is on for an elderly woman who dropped her deceased husband’s old computer off at a recycling center. It turns out it’s worth a small fortune.
You know that final scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where the ark is once again lost in a gigantic warehouse? That same thing almost happened in Milpitas.
“We just work with business equipment. If you look at the shelf, it’s all, like, industrial stuff,” says Victor Gichun.
Gichun works at Clean Bay Area, a company that collects old equipment from businesses and resells it online or passes it along for recycling. About a month ago, the woman dropped off some boxes of junk that belonged to her late husband. She didn’t give her name, or address — she just left them.
Gichun paid the boxes no mind. “It was just stuff,” he said.
They sat on a pallet for weeks until they rummaged inside and found something that looked really weird.
“It was like somebody used some knife to work with wood… like “Apple”… very, very, like… rough,” said Gichun, referring to the letters A-P-P-L-E carved into the wood.
And there it was —the holy grail of computer collectables — an Apple 1.
It’s the very first computer sold by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs. Only 200 of them were ever made.
The Computer History Museum in Mountain View has an Apple motherboard, but even it doesn’t have what Gichun and his boss were looking at.
“I said, OK, I think it’s $10,000. He said no, it’s way more,” said Gichun.
His boss was right. As soon as the word got out, a man showed up and instantly handed over the asking price of $200,000, no questions asked.
“He just took it and drove away,” said Gichun. “I said, let’s check. Something’s wrong with that picture. Why so fast?”
Maybe it’s because the last Apple 1 put up for auction got half a million dollars, and a few years ago one sold for $900,000.
But Gichun said he’s satisfied with his take and he has only one more problem –finding that elderly woman. You see, the company usually splits the proceeds of a sale with its clients and they say they now have a $100,000 check waiting for her.
“I hope she will see this report and she will come,” said Gichun. He doesn’t know her name, but he’d definitely recognize her face.
Besides, it might be fun to see what else she has in her garage.