Meet the Couple Who Paid $815K for a Rare Apple I Computer
It took a month of waiting and watching and bidding, but Glenn and Shannon Dellimore, co-founders of a popular skincare line named Glamglow, now own one of the first (if not the first) Apple I computers ever built.
Last week, the Dellimores, who sold their company to Estée Lauder in 2015 for an undisclosed sum, bought what Apple historian and Apple I expert Corey Cohen called a “unicorn” Apple I computer for $815,000. The computer is believed to one of the first Apple ever built in 1976 and was dated to the summer of 1976. An accompanying cassette that allowed it to run an operating system and simple applications like word processors and games, was signed by Apple’s 12th employee (and one of Steve Jobs’ best friends at the time) Daniel Kottke in 1976.
It is, according to Cohen, a unique Apple I computer—the product that helped turn Apple (AAPL) into a real business in 1976—and a real piece of history.
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“There were some odd experiments on the board that someone like Steve Jobs or one of the Apple folks would have done,” Cohen told Fortune in an interview, hinting that it holds a special place in Apple lore. “It’s not something that would’ve been done by a hardware hacker back in the day.”
In 2014, The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich., bought another Apple I computer in outstanding condition for $905,000. That price, coupled with the uniqueness offered in the “unicorn” Apple I, placed a value on the computer the Dellimores bought at $1 million. But after another bidder pulled his or her bid from the auction on CharityBuzz, the Dellimores walked away with an important part of Apple history for $815,000, giving them equity in what could be the first-ever Apple I computer ever built.
Fortune last week had the opportunity to interview Glamglow co-founder Glenn Dellimore about the Apple I computer he and his wife had bought, why they did it, and what they have planned for the future. We also found out the Dellimores were willing to spend much more just to get the piece of history.
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Below is a transcript of that interview, lightly edited for clarity:
Fortune: What kind of interest do you have in technology? Do you have a special connection to Apple?
Glenn Dellimore: It is incredible to think that this was most likely the very first Apple 1, the Unicorn or holy grail of computers, the original very first prototype. Based on conversations I have had with fine art experts, museums, and auction specialists, this Unicorn Apple-1 computer, the first of all Apple computers, will likely be as valuable as a Monet or a Picasso in 10-15 years from now.
Shannon and I have always talked about the close connection between beauty and technology and are especially interested in Apple products because Steve Jobs not only created the most technologically advanced products in the world but also the most beautiful ones. He wanted his devices to perform well, look extraordinary and be affordable and Shannon and I wanted that for Glamglow products too. When we sat down to create Glamglow’s packaging we researched Apple and why the brand was so popular. At that time Apple’s packaging was sleeker and more layered and consumers really responded to it. Glamglow’s packaging is sleek, layered, and sexy and has contributed to our success and popularity.
The introduction of computers and smartphones (especially Apple products) changed the way consumers shop and what they expect from products forever. We used to rely on cell phones to make a call, now we expect them to do much more. We use smartphones and computers to email, shop, connect to the internet, take pictures, and play videos. With each generation of products released we expect them to do more and perform faster. The same applies to beauty products. When we released Glamglow’s original mask YouthMud, we knew consumers wanted a fast-acting product that provided immediate results for a wide range of different skin concerns. Consumers have gotten used to having multifunctional products that work quickly and Glamglow provides this for beauty the same way Apple does for technology.
Tell me more about the company you and your wife, Shannon, co-founded.
We founded Glamglow in 2010 for backstage and professional use in Hollywood’s entertainment, music, fashion, and award industries. In 2011 we launched in retail stores increasing distribution to more than 86 countries with over 6,500 luxury retail stores, spas, luxury hotels, airlines, and cruise lines. In 2015, Glamglow was acquired by Estée Lauder and remains the world’s fastest growing skincare company with top-selling skincare products at Sephora and fine retailers worldwide. Women’s Wear Daily named Shannon and me among ‘The Top 25 Innovators in Beauty.’
What do you plan to do with the Apple I now that you own it?
This is the next generation’s answer to meaningful ‘great works of art,’ but this is more than just a collectible or investment for us. My wife Shannon and I would consider loaning the world’s first Unicorn Apple-1 computer to a world-class museum and taking it to schools and universities so that children and students can learn about its important place in history. The Unicorn Apple-1 was arguably the seed that changed the world, you just have to look in your pocket at your iPhone or smartphone.
How high were you willing to go in the auction?
It is incredible to think that this was most likely the very first Apple-1, the Unicorn or holy grail of computers, the original very first prototype. We had entered a maximum bid of $1.6 million, but if we were outbid in the last 10 minutes of the auction, we may have considered going up to $2 million.