A sealed iPhone 2G model sold for $40,000 at auction

There’s no doubt that the first iPhone is an electronic device of historic significance. It radically changed the way mobile phones are used today and introduced the masses to concepts such as multitouch touchscreens, mobile internet browsing, and the use of one device for all activities: music, browsing, email, messaging, etc. So the fact that a sealed model of the original iPhone, popularly called the “2G”, sold for nearly $40,000 at auction is hardly surprising.

This iPhone model was released in 2007 for $600.

Fifteen years ago, Steve Jobs heralded the first generation iPhone as an all-in-one device: a phone, an iPod, an internet browsing device. At the time, the iPhone couldn’t do much more, as the original vision was for developers to create web apps that users could attach to the main screen. The App Store didn’t come along until a year later, in response to the app stores that had begun to appear on jailbroken devices.

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One of the people who bought the iPhone on day one decided not to unbox it and keep it sealed, in the original box. Apparently the $600 he paid at the time for the 8GB version of the phone was a good investment. 15 years later, he managed to sell it for $39,339.60. The phone was auctioned off at the American auction house LCG Auctions at a starting value of $2,500. The auction ended at 15 times that amount.

Putting the iPhone’s original 2007 price in context, it has increased in value 66 times in that time.

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It’s unclear if the phone in the box still works

Of course, you can find an original-generation iPhone at derisory prices, though it’s getting harder and harder to find devices in good condition. Over time, many have deteriorated, either from heavy use, lack of use or improper storage. True collectors, however, seem to be willing to spend as much on a new electric car to have a piece of mobile device history in their portfolio.

It is uncertain, however, whether or not the device in the sealed box is still functional. As has been proven in recent years, lithium batteries degrade over time and can swell. Swollen batteries can shatter the screen and the glass protection above it, or catch fire. Unsealing this pack will probably also bring the price down significantly, so whoever won the auction will most likely keep it in the same condition.

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