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First generation iPhone goes to auction with $50,000 price tag

A piece of 21st-century history is going to auction this week and is expected to fetch more than 80 times the original retail price.

First-gen iPhone goes to auction with $50k price tag

Technology collectors will have the chance to own a piece of 21st-century history when a mint condition first generation iPhone goes to auction on Thursday. This boxed version of the original 2007 model represents the first stage of the smartphone revolution and goes to auction with an estimated value of $50,000.

The 15-year-old device, which first retailed for $599, featured a 3.5-inch display and a 2-megapixel rear-facing camera. It had basic internet functionality and access to iTunes, but storage was limited to 8GB and there was no App Store.

So why is it worth so much? The iPhone changed how people all over the world communicate, work, pass time and connect with new friends. When the device was first unveiled in 2007 Steve Jobs tod those gathered that that they would “make some history together today.”

Who is selling the first generation iPhone?

Such is the rate of technological progress, particularly in the field of cell phones, that devices even a few years old can seem very outdated. So what persuaded someone to keep their iPhone unboxed and unused for all this time?

Karen Green received the iPhone as a gift when she got a new job in 2007. However she had recently bought a new phone herself and Apple’s original offering was only available on AT&T, which was not her existing network.

Not bothering to even unpackaged the device, Green tucked it away in her closet, wrapped in a pair of pyjamas, and left it there for 15 years. This has ensured that the iPhone remains in perfect condition with all original stickers and labels. Green stands to benefit hugely from an unwanted $600 gift.

LCG Auction’s $39,000 sale prompts new interest

This will not be the first time that an original iPhone has racked up a huge price at auction and Green’s decision to sell was directly influenced by an identical model that was sold last year. In October a factory-sealed model was sold at LCG Auctions for $39,000, 65 times the original retail price.

For that auction the bidding began at $2,500 and soared to nearly $40,000. LCG Auctions founder Mark Montero explained: “The iPhone is one the most important inventions of the 21st century… When it was initially released fifteen years ago, we had no idea of the impact it would have going forward.”

Green, seller in the new auction, actually appeared on Doctor & the Diva in 2019, where an antiques appraiser set a value of $5,000 for the mint condition device. News of last year’s sale, roughly eight times the valuation set in 2019, convinced her to take the plunge and cash in on a piece of modern history.