Mystery Woman Accidentally Recycles Apple I Computer

Ed Uthman, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0
Ed Uthman, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0 / Ed Uthman, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0

Nowhere in the world is respect for tech culture more deeply ingrained than Silicon Valley, and yet, a woman—presumably without realizing it—recently discarded an Apple I computer worth $200,000.

The computer was sold at auction to a private collector and now the recycling company who received the iconic machine is trying to track down the mystery woman to give her half of the profit, in alignment with company policy. CleanBayArea said the woman donated several boxes of e-waste in late April following the death of her husband, but didn’t ask for a tax receipt or leave any contact information.

It took a couple of weeks for the center to go through the boxes and discover what they had in their possession.

"We really couldn't believe our eyes," said CleanBayArea Vice President Victor Gichun in an interview with NBC Bay Area. "We thought it was fake."

About 200 Apple I computers were built, and only 50 or so are believed to still exist today, although most don’t work anymore. They went on sale in July of 1976 and at the time, the brand new technology boasted a whopping 4 KB of memory.

Gichun also said he remembers what the woman looks like, so prospective con artists should be wary of trying to claim the $100,000.