Somewhere in Silicon Valley, there’s a woman who doesn’t know she has a $100,000 check waiting for her. No, she didn’t win the lottery. She recycled a vintage computer worth an awful lot of money.
In this part of the world, people recycle a lot of computers. But you don’t see too many Apple I models turn up. Apple I, as in: the first generation of computers that the company produced. Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ron Wayne made about 200 of them in 1976.
The folks at the recycling firm that received the computer, Clean Bay Area, realized what they had only when they opened the box a few weeks after a recently widowed woman dropped it off and refused to get a receipt or leave her name.
"We want to just find the lady, seriously," says Victor Gichun, vice president of the firm. He says they sold the Apple I for $200,000 to a private collector, and it's company policy to split the proceeds 50-50.
Gichun didn't believe he had a genuine vintage computer when he first saw it. "I didn’t think it was real. I thought 'It’s fake.' I thought somebody was playing in a garage, trying to pretend he was Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak. Something like that."