It’s no secret that Apple products come with a premium price tag. However, even diehard Apple fans might raise an eyebrow at the price tag of over $63,000 for a first-generation iPhone. Surprisingly, that’s precisely what LCG Auctions fetched in its February 2023 sale of a sealed iPhone, with RR Auctions following suit in March 2023, clearing almost $55,000. But why would someone pay such a steep price for an obsolete device?
The iPhone Mystique
The iPhone has always been a status symbol, the epitome of luxury in the smartphone market. The flagship product line of Apple has consistently set the bar for high-end smartphones in terms of form, function, and price. For Apple enthusiasts, owning a piece of the future is worth paying $1,000 or more.
The Appeal of First-Generation iPhones
Despite being a relic in terms of functionality, the appeal of first-generation iPhones lies in their historical significance. Auction houses and resellers value old technology based on age and cultural impact, akin to how car collectors value classic cars or art aficionados appraise artwork. Owning a piece of technological history, even if it’s not functional, is worth the price for some collectors.
From Machine to Artifact
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In a sense, collectors of old technology treat these devices as artifacts rather than tools. The Henry Ford Museum’s purchase of an antique Apple 1 computer for almost a million dollars is a perfect example. The museum wasn’t planning to use the computer for practical purposes; instead, it was a valuable piece of history for visitors to experience the strides of America’s greatest minds. The first-generation iPhone has become an artifact, a reminder of the significant impact that Apple and the iPhone have had on the tech industry.
The Future of Collecting Old Technology
As time goes by, more and more technology will cross the invisible line between “obsolete tools” and “priceless piece of history.” The evolution of the collector’s market will determine how buyers and tastemakers locate that line. For now, we know that the first-generation iPhone has secured its place in posterity.