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When Karen Green got a new job in 2007, some of her friends pitched in to buy her a new iPhone.
And while hundreds of thousands of Americans clamored to get their hands on the first version of the revolutionary (as Apple correctly predicted) smartphone, Green was not one of them – in part because he upgraded the his new (non-smart) phone is not. long ago and reportedly did not want to switch from Verizon to AT&T.
“I don’t want to throw away my new one [not-smart] phone, and I thought it was an iPhone, so it couldn’t be out of date,” Green told the daytime television program. The Doctor and The Diva in 2019 (the same month Apple unveiled the iPhone 11).
Green kept the first-generation, eight-gigabyte phone sealed in the box, knowing over the years that a collector might find it valuable. His guess was confirmed when the show’s appraisers estimated it at $5,000.
But the results of an online auction shattered all expectations this weekend, when Green’s iPhone sold for $63,356.40 — more than 100 times more than its original cost, and more than any other vintage iPhone before it.
Louisiana-based auction house LCG Auctions, which specializes in pop culture collectibles, described the phone as a hot ticket item for collectors and investors. It “appears beautifully, featuring sharp front and back corners, rich color, and ‘case-fresh’ features,” it said.
Some of the notable features include the phone’s 2-megapixel camera and web browser, and the “iconic” box with a life-size image of an iPhone with 12 icons on its touchscreen. .
LCG Auctions founder Mark Montero told NPR via email that because the original iPhones were expensive ($599 for an 8 GB model) and their future impact was unknown, almost all were opened and used. as intended.
“Discovering an original first release model from 2007 that is still brand new with no factory seal intact is very rare,” he wrote. “The wonderful story behind it is just icing on the cake!”
Bidding started at $2,500 and quickly rose to 27 rounds. Montero told CNN that there were 10 bidders competing for the phone, which ultimately went to an unnamed individual from the US
Other factory-sealed, first-edition iPhones have done well in recent auctions, selling for $35,414 in August and $39,339 in October.
But this particular phone is the first original model “in acceptable condition” to go up for auction since then, according to LCG. And it expects more record-breaking sales to come.
“High-end collectors operate by the ‘Three R’s’ – relevance, rarity, and replacement,” says Montero. “An original factory sealed iPhone checks all the boxes and we believe it will only increase in value going forward.”
Sean Gasser/LCG Auctions
It’s been a few years since iPhones became a hot new product
It is difficult to overstate the historical significance of the original iPhone, introduced by Apple CEO Steve Jobs in January 2007.
“The iPhone was a revolutionary and magical product that was literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone,” Jobs said at the time. “We were all born with the ultimate pointing device – our fingers – and the iPhone uses it to create the most revolutionary user interface since the mouse.”
The iPhone became Apple’s most successful product to date and earned the title of PERIODThe invention of the year in 2007. Much has been said about how it changed the way people communicate, work and live.
But why would anyone pay so much for one in 2023?
Some experts credit our collective cultural nostalgia (and the hype around Apple in particular) for fueling the vintage electronics market — even though the supply of unopened iPhones remains very limited.
Bisrat Kinfemichael, a professor of accounting and finance at the New York Institute of Technology, told NPR via email that demand-side factors make unlocked first-generation iPhones “very rare commodities, similar to precious metals.”
People may value a product like the original iPhone for personal reasons in addition to its intrinsic value, he explained. That could be because of its nostalgic value, or because it “represents the beginning of a new era for developments in smart devices.”
In addition, Kinfemichael says, the proliferation of online marketplaces (such as eBay) has made it easier for buyers and sellers to find each other — and there may be more potential buyers now than ever before.
“Immense fortunes have been made since the release of the original iPhone,” he wrote. “It is possible that some individuals who have benefited from the wealth creation of the technology industry may value such devices and be willing to spend a lot of money for them.”
Of course, not all old Apple gadgets are eligible for the auction block (in that case, consider recycling, selling or trading your used iPhone).
Montero told Insider that LCG Auctions received a lot of calls after the successful October sale, but “99% of them didn’t have the same item.”
The notable exception was Green, who decided to sell his phone to support his recently opened cosmetic tattoo business. He told Inside otherwise he would not be in a hurry to part with it.
As he said, amazed, on TV about four years ago: “What will it be worth in 25 years?”