Factory sealed first-gen iPhone sells for over $63,000 at an auction

Feb 21, 2023

A factory sealed, first-generation iPhone has been sold for over $63,000 at an auction. The mobile's owner had a rather remarkable story behind why the device remained unopened for a decade and a half.

Factory sealed first-gen iPhone sells for over $63,000 at an auction

The first iPhone was announced 16 years ago, on January 9th, 2007 at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco, by Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs. It was an iconic event, you can watch a video of it on YouTube. The 2G mobile, which was a state-of-the-art device at that time, was priced at $599. The original iPhone had a 3.5-inch display with a resolution of 320 x 480 pixels. It was equipped with a 2 megapixel camera, ran on iOS and had a web browser, Safari. The tech specs may not sound impressive, but the iPhone ushered in the digital age of smartphones, and reshaped our lives. The original press release can be found on Apple's website.

Image courtesy: LCG Auctions House

Factory sealed first-gen iPhone sells for over $63,000 at an auction

There is an interesting backstory behind the sealed iPhone that was auctioned recently. A few years ago, the owner of the mobile, Karen Green, came across a listing for an unopened iPhone on eBay for $10,000. She checked her factory-sealed box to verify whether she was in possession of a similar phone, she did.

Green appeared on a show called Treasure Hunt Tuesday With Ph.D. Antiques Appraiser Dr. Lori, in 2019 to understand how much her phone would be valued by collectors. When the hosts asked her why she had never opened the phone (at around 7:25 in the video), she said that she got the iPhone as a gift from her friends in 2007, when she landed a new job. But since she had another new phone, this one was left unopened. Green also explained that a couple of years later, someone told her that an Apple collector might be interested in buying it, and that was the reason why the phone went into storage. The hosts of the show valued the sealed iPhone at $5000, but Green decided not to sell the phone at the time.

Business Insider interviewed her earlier this month, where Green said that she had not one, but three phone lines with Verizon in 2007. The iPhone on the other hand was only compatible with AT&T, and she decided to keep the phone in storage, rather than risk losing her number and to avoid paying large termination fees. As a precaution, she had wrapped the phone's box in a pair of felt pajamas to protect the device.

AppleInsider reports that an unboxed iPhone was sold for over $35,000 in August 2022, while another was sold for nearly $40,000. After hearing about the recent sales of the first-generation iPhone, Green made the decision to put up the mobile for auction in order to raise funds for her business, a tattoo studio in New Jersey.

She approached the LCG Auctions House to help her sell the device. The appraisers were surprised to discover that unlike 99% of people who had falsely claimed to have the device, Green actually possessed an original, unopened first-gen iPhone. They estimated that the phone could fetch her around $50,000, about 80x its price. The auction for the device began on February 2nd, 2023 and the bidding started at $2,500. It ended on February 19th, with the iPhone being sold for a sum of $63,356.40. That is over 100 times its original price, and is a record sale for the iconic device.

Factory sealed first-gen iPhone sells for over $63,000 at an auction
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Factory sealed first-gen iPhone sells for over $63,000 at an auction
A factory sealed first-gen iPhone has been auctioned for over 100 times its original price. The device was sold for $63,000.
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  1. iSheep said on February 21, 2023 at 11:24 pm

    A fool and his money are soon parted. When the price is higher, another even more foolish person will repurchase it, and the cycle will continue.

    1. NA said on February 23, 2023 at 9:06 am

      “I’m not saying it’s aliens, but it’s aliens.”

      I’m not saying it’s money laundering, but it’s money laundering.

      Certainly, it’s less worse than some of the “art” that goes for much more.

  2. John G. said on February 21, 2023 at 5:10 pm

    Not too much expensive as it seems. Thanks @Ashwin for the article! :]

  3. eddie said on February 21, 2023 at 2:30 pm

    This is why our species will go extinct.
    For we value trash more than nature.

    1. Jody Thornton said on February 21, 2023 at 4:05 pm

      Oh come on! We’ve valued art, records, maps, buildings, bridges, vintage electronics. Demand is whatever the public seeks. It’s not to say the same people don’t like nature. Sheesh! Live a little.

      Do you guys ever think that maybe …. just maybe, the reason that we’re seeing all of these Shaun and Russell articles on Apple, Microsoft and Astronomy, is because we’re such a grumpy, Negative Nellie audience, and Ghacks owners would to find a cherrier, more uplifting one?

      Just a thought. … and yes, I realize that this article was from Ashwin.

  4. Someone said on February 21, 2023 at 2:29 pm

    I bought my first smartphone, in 2011 with the start of the samsung galaxy series. From one decade and more, I’ve changed 2 phones, I never liked nor wanted an brand-new iPhone that costed 900$ and more. That auction proves that greedy people is exist.

    1. Jody Thornton said on February 21, 2023 at 4:06 pm

      I just buy or inherit second-hand iPhones, most 5s and 6x series, cheap!

  5. basingstoke said on February 21, 2023 at 1:55 pm

    Why not wait another 2, 5 , 10 years -and really increase it’s value? heck, even longer?

    It’s a sure thing, the price can literally only go up.

    1. Ashwin said on February 21, 2023 at 2:30 pm

      The last line of the Business Insider article answers your very question, she needed the money to support her business.

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