This 45-year-old mystery is finally solved

Enthusiasts have wondered who ever hand-wrote the serial numbers on the original Apple-1s for 45 years. Several theories have emerged over the years, citing Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak among others. Today, thanks to Achim Baqué’s investigation, we finally know the answer.

Apple-1
The 1976 Apple-1. Credits: Karl Baron

In 1976, Apple was still a long way from being the company that made $1 billion a day. That same year, the Apple brand launched its very first computer, the Apple-1, designed by Steve Wozniak. Only 200 copies will be sold. Today there are only 82 left in circulation. Of these, 80 sport a handwritten serial number. Since then, the question remains unanswered: who could have written these serial numbers?

For 45 years, theories have been flying around. Naturally the first suspicions fell on Steve Wozniak himself. Only, the engineer has already denied the rumors. Therefore, the other prime target is none other than Steve Jobs. But, again, the founder of Apple would also have said that he is not the author. For more than four decades, other names will be mentioned: Daniel Kottke, the assembler of certain models, as well as other members of the original team.

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We finally know who wrote the serial numbers on the Apple-1

Enter Achim Baqué, the man behind Apple-1 Registry, a huge database of all known Apple-1s to date. In order to solve the old mystery, Achim went to the headquarters of PSA, an authentication company specializing in handwriting, with two computers in hand. The company then compared the models, in addition to several other photos of the serial numbers in question, and compared them with handwriting samples from people involved in the development of the Apple-1s.

This is how after 45 years, followed by 3 months of intensive investigation, the name of the author of these serial numbers has finally been revealed. It’s ultimately about Steve Jobs. Achim Baqué notes that it is likely that the founder of Apple simply forgot to be the source of these writings, not to mention that he never officially confirmed that it was not him. On the other hand, we will surely never know why the latter chose to mark these models in particular.

Source: Apple-1 Registry

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