Apple Computer Inc.'s first trade sign is up for auction

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak's first ever sign used to promote Apple at trade shows in 1978 has appeared in an auction alongside Wozniak's first toolbox at the company.

A few pieces of legendary tech industry history have made their way to a recent auction. It would seem that Apple’s very first-ever trade show sign has been unearthed and put up for auction. It is joined by another auction featuring Apple co-founder Scott Wozniak’s first toolbox he used when he began work on the then-startup company. The trade show sign auction has been launched with a starting bid of $50,000 USD.

Both of these items appeared over on the Alexander Historical Auctions website. The Apple Computer Inc. trade sign auction runs until January 27, 2023, and though it asks for a starting bid of $50,000, the estimated value of the piece is set around $100,000 to $200,000 USD. Meanwhile, the Wozniak toolbox auction also runs until January 27. It asks for a starting bid of $10,000 and has an estimated value of $20,000 to $30,000.

Apple's first trade sign as it appears in the auction
Apple's first trade sign from 1978 is looking none the worse for wear in its 2023 auction appearance.
Source: Alexander Historical Auctions

The Apple trade sign is purported to be the original 1978 sign Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak would bring to trade shows when Apple Computer Inc. was still a startup company. Obviously, Apple has come a long way since, becoming one of the most highly valued businesses in the world, but this sign features the humble beginnings of a juggernaut, complete with the original name of the company and Apple’s original, iconic rainbow apple logo.

The Wozniak toolbox is quite the piece too. A full-metal container, it features Wozniak’s name plate on top and is said to be the toolbox he worked out of during Apple’s early years and around the time of the Apple 1 personal computer’s development and launch.

Each of these items hold a lot of history in them, not unlike when we saw a prototype SNES PlayStation CD-ROM go to auction in March 2020. It will be interesting to see where the final prices land, but with the bidding started, it seems we can look forward to seeing how the auction for these Apple items turns out when the end of January comes around.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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