If you thought the person buying a first-generation iPhone for NZ$78,188 had a bit more money than sense, then the latest Apple auction will leave you blinking in bewilderment.

One lucky (?) buyer has just forked out US$190,372.80 (~NZ$302,808) on an objectively worse model

Its weaker specs are actually the key selling point, though. Because only a masochist would buy a first-generation iPhone in 2023 for the user experience, such collector’s items are left in the box as rarities. And this is the 4GB version which only lasted for 68 days before Apple discontinued it, because even in 2007 4GB was a bit miserly.

So it was available for under three months 16 years ago, and barely anybody bought one. That means finding one still boxed and sealed is pretty unusual.

Still, that final sales price is a bit misleading, as it includes admin fees. Quite a lot of admin fees as the winning bid is listed as ‘only’ US$158,644 (~NZ$252,215), which suggests running an auction company might be the way to quickly earn enough money to regularly make such ludicrous purchases yourself.

It’s stating the bleeding obvious to say that spending over NZ$300,000 on something with less power than your average smartwatch isn’t the best use of money, but amazingly it’s actually relatively small fry in the world of Apple auctions.

Apple-1 computers go for a lot of cash, given just 175 were ever made. The most expensive to date was bought by the Henry Ford Museum for a whopping US$905,000 (~NZ$1,438,778) and apparently it isn’t even on display

And Apple occasionally cashes in on its own collectibility to raise money for charity. In 2014, it produced a shiny bright red Mac Pro for those that like their desktops to mimic the ostentatiousness of a sports car. It went for US$977,000 (~NZ$1,553,400).

At the same auction, Apple also sold off a pair of one-of-a-kind 18k solid rose gold EarPods for US$461,000 (~NZ$732,976). Hopefully the company gifted the lucky buyer some AirPods and a can of gold spray paint when it went wireless three years later. 

Alan Martin
Alan is an experienced and versatile writer with the unique distinction of having written for both The New Statesman and Nuts. The list of publications Alan has written for doesn't stop there. His work has also been published in: Wired, CNET, Gizmodo UK, ShortList, NME, TechRadar, The i, The Independent, The Evening Standard, City Metric, Macworld, Pocket Gamer, Expert Reviews, Coach, The Inquirer, Rock Paper Shotgun, Tom's Guide, T3, PC Pro, IT Pro, Ideal Home, Livingetc, Stuff, Business Insider, theBit, Wareable, and Trusted Reviews. Alan now covers a range of subjects for ReviewsFire, with a focus on news - his unique style of covering technology news is a key part of ReviewsFire's success.


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