A woman cleaning out her garage after her husband’s death discarded a rare collectible along with three boxes of electronic junk: An Apple 1 computer worth $200,000.
The woman pulled up to Clean Bay Area’s e-waste recycling facility in Milpitas last month, just as the warehouse was closing. She asked the workers to recycle the boxes of electronics she had just hauled from her garage but declined a receipt, saying they contained nothing of value.
“She said, ‘No no no, it’s total crap. Just take it and recycle it,'” recalled Vice President Victor Gichun. “She drove away and didn’t give me any information.”
Two weeks later, one of the employees in the recycling center contacted Gichun and his partner to alert them to an unusual find.
The partner, a former biotech engineer, recognized the gadget as one of the first-generation desktop computers put together by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1976.
Gichun said Clean Bay Area sold the vintage computer to a private collector for $200,000 in cash. Now, he is attempting to locate the original owner to split the proceeds.
“We tried to find her locally,” said Gichun, who has spoken with local media outlets, including the San Jose Mercury News. “I will see her car and recognize her and give her a $100,000 check.”
The unidentified collector may have gotten the true steal: A working Apple 1 computer fetched $905,000 at auction last year, according to ComputerWorld.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.