Thursday 20th July 2023 - Cara Bentham
A 2007 Apple iPhone has sold for a staggering $190,000 (£145,416) at auction in the US.
While iPhones usually decrease in value shortly after they’re purchased, this rare example shows that modern tech can be a good investment that provides significant returns in a relatively short timeframe.
This particular model was an unopened, first edition Apple iPhone with 4GB of storage. Because very few of these were produced at the time, this model is considered something of a Holy Grail amongst iPhone collectors.
Due to lagging sales, Apple made the decision to discontinue the 4GB version of the first edition iPhone just two months after it was launched which has contributed to its rarity and, thus, its value today. The 8GB version, which was launched at the same time, proved to be much more popular amongst consumers. This model gave users double the storage space for $100 extra on the retail price.
The first edition iPhone 4GB was released in the US in June 2007 and originally retailed for $599 (£457). The sale of the rare device was facilitated by LCG Auctions, and it attracted 28 bids in total before selling for almost four hundred times its original price. The final price includes the buyer’s premium on top of the hammer price.
The auction house described the lot as a ‘popular high-end’ phone that is a ‘red-hot collectible’. They noted that several other first edition iPhones have sold at record prices in the last year. The description on LCG Auctions website stated that the lot was an "exceedingly rare, factory sealed, first-release 4GB model in exceptional condition. Virtually flawless along the surface and edges, the factory seal is clean with correct seam details and tightness".
The sale smashed all previous records and far exceeded it’s estimate of between $50,000 and $100,000.
Co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, sadly passed away in 2011 at the age of 56. The tech giant, Apple, said he had been "the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives" and had made the world "immeasurably better". He was responsible for introducing many devices we have all known and loved over the years including the colourful iMac computer, the iPhone, the iPod and iPad. Rare Apple memorabilia and relics of Steve Job’s life and work crop up at auctions several times each year.
The sale of the first generation iPhone at such a high price shows us that certain retro technologies and devices are worth investing in. Auctions are a great place to hunt for vintage and retro devices, which can often be snapped up at bargain prices.
Some upcoming lots include:
This box of vintage cameras and mobile phones goes under the hammer on July 24th at Richard Winterton Auctioneers. There could be a few hidden gems in there and at an estimate of just £20-£30, it’s worth a look!
This lot of two Apple iPads goes under the hammer on July 23rd at Claydon Auctioneers. It’s estimated to fetch between £20-£30.
If you want to start or expand your retro tech collection, you can find plenty of lots from various auctioneers at Easy Live Auction. Set up alerts, search for specific items and register to bid live from the comfort of your own home.
Photo Credit: CNN Business