Tech and Science

Old iPhone sells for eye-watering $280k


A first-generation Apple iPhone from 2007 has sold for an eye-watering $280,000 at auction — more than 300 times its original price.

The discontinued phone, which was dubbed the “holy grail” for Apple collectors, was first purchased for some US$499 — A$730 — back in 2007, the year Apple founder Steve Jobs launched the product that would revolutionise the tech industry.

The phone was still in its original packaging and in exceptional condition, according to its auction listing.

With a starting bid of US$10,000, the iPhone — a first-generation 4GB model, complete with a two-megapixel camera and “revolutionary” web browser — was expected to sell for up to US$100,000 (A$150,000).

LCG Auctions confirmed the “virtually flawless” product surprised appraisers, scoring 28 bids and selling for US$190,372.80 (A$279,200) when the auction closed on Sunday night.

The 4GB phone was especially rare because of its limited storage. The original iPhone was launched in 2007 as a 4GB and 8GB model, with most customers opting for double the storage space.

Amid lagging sales, the 4GB model was discontinued just two months after its release.

“(The iPhone) quickly became Apple’s most successful product, forever changed the smartphone industry, and was named the Time Magazine Invention of the Year in 2007,” LCG Auctions said.

Finding an original, factory-sealed first release 4GB for sale was “incredibly rare”, the auction house added.

“The original 4GB model is considered a ‘Holy Grail’ among iPhone collectors,” it said.

“Its extreme scarcity is directly related to its limited production. Collectors and investors would be hard-pressed to find a superior example.”

A factory sealed 8GB version of the 2007 first-generation iPhone was recently purchased for a record-breaking $92,000, but it’s clear this 4GB version was superior in collectors’ eyes.

Old mobile phones worth a small fortune

If you don’t happen to have a first-generation iPhone kicking about at home, there are plenty of outdated mobile phones that could be worth a pretty penny.

Auctioneer and valuer Adam McDonald says there are a few old phones Aussies should look for in their junk drawers.

One of those is the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X — considered the world’s first mobile phone — which is worth up to $4000.

“It was made famous from the show Saved By The Bell so it’s been coined the ‘Zack Morris phone’. It also made a comeback in Wolf of Wall Street,” Mr McDonald previously told Channel 7.

The old Nokia 8110, he added, is also worth a considerable amount.

“That one was also made famous in a movie. In The Matrix that was the phone he used,” Mr McDonald said.

McDonald said the Samsung N270 is also valuable, given it was featured in the film’s sequel, The Matrix Reloaded.

Most valuable old phones

  • Motorola DynaTAC 8000X
  • Samsung N270
  • Nokia 8110
  • BlackBerry
  • First edition iPhone
  • Motorola flip phone
  • Ericsson T39
  • HTC Touch Diamond2


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