Unopened first-generation iPhone set to sell for $50,000 at US auction

Phone from 2007 with 2 megapixel camera and 8GB storage had sat on Karen Green’s shelf for years before she realized its worth

A first generation, unopened 2007 iPhone is expected to sell for more than $50,000 when it goes to auction on Thursday.

The phone, which has a 2 megapixel camera and 8GB of storage, was given to Karen Green as a gift when she got a new job, Business Insider reported.

But Green already had a new phone, and moreover, the iPhone was not compatible with her existing cellular network.

Rather than open the iPhone, Green stuck it on a shelf. It remained there, “wrapped in a pair of felt pajamas”, for years.

In October, Green heard that a first generation iPhone from 2007 had sold for $39,339.60.

The cosmetic tattoo artist contacted LCG Auctions, the auction house that handled the sale and had found itself inundated by owners of old iPhones.

“We got calls from everybody but 99% of them didn’t have the same thing,” LCG Auctions founder, Mark Montero, told Business Insider. “But Karen had a really unique piece with a great story behind it.”

He added: “It was shocking because we had gotten so many duds.”

LCG Auctions put a price estimate of “$50,000 and up” on the phone. The auction opens on Thursday and will end on 19 February.

The first generation iPhone was available with 4Gb of memory for $499 or 8Gb for $599.

“The touchscreen handset will combine internet access and iPod music with a built-in 2 megapixel digital camera and video playback features,” the Guardian reported at the time.

In the decade following its launch, Apple sold 1.2bn iPhones, dominating the smartphone market.

In 2019, Green appeared on the TV show Doctor & the Diva, where the antiques appraiser Lori Verderame valued her iPhone at $5,000.

The price has risen since then. Green said she decided to sell the iPhone now to support her fledgling cosmetic tattoo studio in New Jersey.

“If I could hold off on the phone for like another 10 years, I probably would,” Green told Business Insider. “The only reason why I’m selling that phone is because I need to support this business.”

Arwa Mahdawi

Columnist, Guardian US


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