Science and Tech


First-generation iPhone sells for record $190,000 at auction

The unopened, original Apple iPhone from 2007 sold for more than 300 times its original retail price.
Posted at 11:57 AM, Jul 18, 2023

A factory-sealed Apple iPhone from 2007 has set a new record after fetching $190,373 at auction — more than 300 times its original retail price of $499.

The 4GB first-generation device blew past initial sales estimates of $50,000 to $100,000 when it hit the auction block at the end of June. The starting bid was $10,000. It also shattered the previous record set in February when an unopened, first-generation 8GB iPhone sold for just over $63,000.

Louisiana-based LCG Auctions, which specializes in high-end toys and collectibles, described the phone as the "Holy Grail" of Apple devices due to its scarcity and predicted it would be one of the hottest items as part of its 2023 Summer Premier auction. 

"Despite the extensive worldwide media exposure our previous sales received and the hundreds of contacts we've had with consumers who thought they had a factory-sealed original iPhone, this is the only 4GB factory-sealed version to surface," LCG Auctions founder Mark Montero told Business Insider. "Based upon our recent record-setting sales and the fact that the 4GB model is probably 20-times rarer than the 8GB version, we are not surprised it established a new record price but surpassing the $190,000 mark was quite surprising."

The auction website notes that the phone belonged to a member of the original Apple engineering team from when the late Steve Jobs first unveiled the device. At the time, Jobs described it as a "revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone." 

"We are all born with the ultimate pointing device — our fingers," Jobs said at the 2007 MacWorld conference."And iPhone uses them to create the most revolutionary user interface since the mouse." 

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Jobs wasn't wrong. The device went on to revolutionize the industry and is currently the top-selling mobile device in the U.S.

Since its release in 2007, Apple has released 38 different iPhone models, including its latest iPhone 14 model. According to most recent statistics, more than half of all Americans own an iPhone.