Original iPhone just sold for $190,000 at auction — but these gadgets cost more

Steve Jobs holding the original iPhone in 2007 at the launch event
(Image credit: David Paul Morris/Getty Images)

Some people don't want the latest and greatest best phones out there. They want a piece of gadget history, and they're willing to pay pretty much anything to get it.

Just this week an original iPhone from 2007 sold for over $190,000. As reported by CBS News, the unopened 4GB model was bought for nearly 400 times its original $499 price after 28 bids on LCG Auctions. A previous iPhone from 2007 fetched over $63,000. 

For those who don't remember, the original iPhone had a 3.5-inch display and a 2MP camera, which is a far cry from the 6.7-inch screen and 48MP shooter on today's iPhone 14 Pro Max

You might be surprised to learn that this is not the priciest gadget sold at auction. Here are the five most expensive to date. And yes, three out of five of them have an Apple logo.

4GB iPhone — $190,372.80

5 most expensive gadgets sold at auction

(Image credit: LCG Auctions)

The most recent crazy-money auction happened just this week, as a first-generation, still-sealed iPhone smashed the previous record, making the previous $63,356.40 sale look relatively sane.

Why did this one go for so much more? Well that’s partly down to the admin fees (the actual sale price was a snip at $158,644) and partly due to it being a worse model. Yes, “worse”: the stingy 4GB version was discontinued after just 68 days, making it more of a collector’s item than the 8GB version which sold for $100 more in 2007.

The original iPhone was enormously influential, but would be a bit underwhelming if you wanted to destroy its resale value by opening the box today. Not only would the 4GB storage quickly fill with 2MP photographs, but the 2G internet would no longer work in the USA. It’s enough to make you move to Android…

Nintendo Play Station — $380,000

5 most expensive gadgets sold at auction

(Image credit: Heritage Auctions)

No, that’s not a typo, and we’re not trolling for comments. The Nintendo Play Station was nearly a thing when the two Japanese giants worked together on this CD-drive packing prototype from the early 90s.

In the end, it wasn’t to be and Sony decided to make its own CD-based games console with the PlayStation. Nintendo would finally make that leap in 2001 with the GameCube which was… less successful (even if Super Monkey Ball remains one of the greatest launch games of all time). 

Anyway, this is one of the few known prototypes in existence and sold at auction for $380,000 in March 2020, which no doubt made the subsequent COVID lockdown a bit more fun for the lucky winner. 

Apple-1 — $905,000

Only 175 Apple-1 computers were produced according to Steve Wozniak, which is why they always go for a small fortune when one comes up for auction. 

This particular unit is the most expensive to date, purchased by the Henry Ford Museum — and it’s not even on exhibit to the public, according to the listing. Still, they did get an unboxing slideshow out of it

$905,000 is undoubtedly a lot of money, but if the museum wants to feel a bit better about its spending habit, it can point to the fact that a single Apple-1 motherboard went for $374,500 two years earlier.  

(Product) RED Mac Pro — $977,000

5 most expensive gadgets sold at auction

(Image credit: Apple)

Mac Pros can get expensive if you take all the tempting upgrades that Apple offers on its site, but this auction goes to show that it could always be worse.

While the regular Mac Pro got some stick for its design that was often compared to a trash can from the Death Star, this one-of-a-kind shiny red take on it for the (Product) RED charity makes it look like someone’s sanded down a giant can of Coca Cola. Which is definitely preferable — though maybe not $977,000 preferable

But hey, it was all for a good cause. At the same 2013 charity auction, someone paid $461,000 for some 18k solid rose gold EarPods. 

Leica 0-Series No. 105 — $15,149,000

5 most expensive gadgets sold at auction

(Image credit: Leitz Auctions)

Putting that all into perspective is the latest Leica 0-Series auction, where the century-old camera went for over $15 million — which is more authentic than using an Instagram filter for old-looking snaps.

Only around 22 of the 0-Series Leicas were produced back in 1923 as a test before the Leica A arrived in 1925. And every time one goes up for sale the price goes upwards.

If you want to see how an earlier bargain $2.4 million Leica auction happened it was all captured on camera. One of these 21st-century video ones, not an ancient Leica:

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Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.