An original 2007 iPhone, still sealed in its box, recently sold at auction for an eye-watering $63,356.40, over 100 times its original cost ($599 for an 8 GB model). The Louisiana-based auction house LCG Auctions, which specializes in pop culture collectibles, described the phone as a hot-ticket item for collectors and investors alike.
The owner of the phone, Karen Green, received the device as a gift from friends when she started a new job in 2007. She chose not to use it and kept it in its original packaging, realizing that it could become valuable to collectors in the future. Green’s hunch was confirmed when appraisers on a television program estimated its value at $5,000.
Bidding for the phone started at $2,500 and quickly escalated during 27 rounds. Ten bidders competed for the phone, which was ultimately sold to an unnamed individual from the US. Other factory-sealed, first-edition iPhones have done well at recent auctions, selling for $35,414 in August 2022 and $39,339 in October 2022. However, this particular phone is the first original model “in acceptable condition” to go up for auction since then, according to LCG.
The proliferation of online marketplaces has made it easier for buyers and sellers to find each other, and some experts suggest that demand-side factors, including nostalgia and the association with the beginning of a new era for advancements in smart devices, have made unopened first-generation iPhone into “extremely rare commodities, similar to precious metals.”
While not every old Apple gadget is fit for the auction block, the sale of this 2007 iPhone suggests that high-end collectors operate by the “Three R’s” – relevance, rarity, and replaceability. LCG Auctions expects more record-breaking sales to come for original factory-sealed iPhones, as they check all the boxes for high-end collectors and are expected to increase in value going forward.