March 3, 2024

Original Factory-Sealed iPhone Sells for Ridiculous Price at Auction

A rare, first generation 4GB iPhone which had remained sealed and unopened for over a decade was recently sold at one auction for a whopping price of over $190,000. With a starting bid of $10,000 and 28 bids over a two-week period, the seller of this rare iPhone netted a profit of over $180,000 when the auction closed.

Initially launched in 2007, the first generation of iPhones came in two versions of 4GB and 8GB, which is a paltry amount compared to the storage available in later models. The small amount of space available, the exclusivity deal with AT&T in the US, and the initial cost of $499 for the 4GB model put off some users at the time. Despite its flaws, the iPhone was considered a success and managed to put Apple on the map in the then fledgling smartphone industry. Although later generations of iPhones featured technology from other companies such as Sony, the first iPhones were still the target of collectors.

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While $190,372.80 is a huge sum of money, that’s exactly how much a collector paid for a sealed, shrink-wrapped iPhone 4GB at an auction hosted by LCG Auctions that ran from June 30th to July 16th. According to Gizmodo, the last bid for this particular iPhone was $158,644, which is more than three times what the first generation 8GB iPhone sold for back in February. However, the story behind this iPhone could justify its final price. According to the auction listing, the seller was on Apple’s engineering team in 2007 when the iPhone launched. The listing did not mention how the seller came into possession of this 4GB model, which could add some intrigue during the bidding period.

Louisiana-based LCG Auctions previously auctioned a 4GB first-generation iPhone late last year. By comparison, that auction closed at $39,339.60, about a fifth of what the most recent auction raised. Between the limited features of the first iPhones compared to later products, and the starting price of just $499 in 2007, paying six figures for outdated technology in 2023 may seem absurd to most users.

Although the iPhone 14 runs circles around the original iPhone from a technical point of view, the fact remains that factory-sealed iPhones are still hot items among collectors. It remains to be seen if any future auctions will exceed the $190k price point.

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Source: LCG auctions (through Gizmodo)

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