Where No Mac Had Gone Before

By  |  Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 4:40 pm

[UPDATE! The auction house selling this Mac is now saying that it’s an original Mac plus that was later upgraded–not a Mac Plus–and that the serial number doesn’t mean it was the first Mac of any sort. I should have figured out something was amiss about their identification when I noticed it didn’t have a Macintosh Plus label on its front. And as a former Mac Plus user, I should also have remembered that their keyboards had numeric keypads, which Roddenberry’s Mac didn’t. Still a cool collectible, but not quite as cool as the auctioneers led us to believe.]

Attention, antique computer collectors and Trekkies Trekkers! The first Mac Plus to roll off the assembly line is going to be up for auction, and so is Gene Roddenberry’s Mac. And they’re the same computer.

An auction house called Profiles in History is auctioning off the Mac Plus with serial number #1 (or F4200NUM0001 to be precise), which Apple presented to Star Trek’s creator, presumably in 1986. It’ll be up for bid at a Hollywood collectibles auction on October 8th and 9th, comes with a letter of authenticity signed by Roddenberry’s son, and is estimated to be worth $800-$1200. (Not that I plan to bid, but that sounds cheap to me for a Mac that’s historically significant in two ways.)

Here’s the serial number…

Gene Roddenberry's Mac

And here’s the computer in all its boxy glory, complete with its optional second floppy disk…

Gene Roddenberry's Mac

And here, for no particular reason, is my uncanny simulation of Gene Roddenberry’s Mac as it might have appeared if it had been a prop way back when, a couple of decades before the Mac Plus debuted.


Actually, you don’t need to be much of an expert on the voyages of the Starship Enterprise to recall that a Mac Plus did make a Trek appearance–but it wasn’t until Star Trek IV in 1986. It would be cool if it were Roddenberry’s Mac Plus, but if the above photo is accurate, that one didn’t bear a “Macintosh Plus” logo on its front–and the one Scotty encountered did.

One other Trek-Macintosh (Trekintosh?) factoid: In 1992, Apple engaged in an abortive attempt to design a Mac based on Intel’s 486 processor. Its code name: Star Trek. Maybe you know some more tidbits?


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12 Comments For This Post

  1. DaveZatz Says:

    Does it boot?

  2. Harry McCracken Says:

    I’m not sure–you thinking of buying it and using it as your primary computer?

  3. chimpsgomoo Says:

    Oh how I wish I had the money… That would be one cool conversation piece.

  4. osopolar Says:

    I bet it goes for $8,000

  5. Orion Blastar Says:

    Note that Roddenberry had the original Macintosh model the Macintosh 128 (serial #776), and later on Apple upgraded it to a Mac Plus and then added on the label. You’ll note the Roddenberry Mac has no “Mac Plus” sticker on the front and lacks the numeric key pad a Mac Plus has.

    As far as finding lost data via dd or other data recovery tools. The Mac Plus had no support for internal hard drives, only external ones via the SCSI1 connector. So if no external hard drive is sold with this system, nobody will be able to do a data recovery of Roddenberry’s lost works.

    This is a Roddenberry owned Macintosh, originally a Mac 128 upgraded to a Mac Plus, but it is not the first Mac Plus made because it was upgraded instead of built. It may be the first Mac 128 to Mac Plus upgrade, but definitely not the first Mac Plus off an assembly line.

    Sell it at Tiffanie’s Auction and it should get between $10M to $100M from big Mac and Star Trek fans with a lot of money.

  6. R.B. Says:

    Treat it with Retr0bright, quick!

  7. VoR Says:

    Trek influence is visible all throughout Apple’s product lines. You can’t tell me the iPhone/iPod Touch interface wasn’t inspired by the control surfaces in ST:TNG.

  8. druzilla Says:

    Using macfaq.org’s early Mac serial # decoder:

    “Your Macintosh 128 (M0001), with serial number F4200NUM0001, was the 776th manufactured during the 20th week of 1984 in Fremont, CA.”

    From that it was “born” sometime during the week of Monday, May 14th, 1984.

  9. moe88 Says:

    You ‘re a morron

  10. cd Says:

    It would be more cool if Gene Roddenberry signed the Mac.

  11. John Says:

    Forget the Mac. I want that formula for that transparent aluminum.

  12. bims Says:

    .) You made some decent points there. I looked on the internet for the issue and found most individuals will go along with with your website.

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