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Lot #7013
Apple Lisa Computer

The innovative Apple Lisa, with its exceedingly rare original 'Twiggy' drives

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Estimate: $25000+
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The innovative Apple Lisa, with its exceedingly rare original 'Twiggy' drives

Although this isn’t the actual Lisa computer used in the Apple Computer TV ad with a young and pre-fame Kevin Costner (“I’ll be home for breakfast”, this is a rare functional Apple Lisa desktop computer originally purchased directly from Apple Computer in 1983 by Apple software pioneer Roger Wagner. This particular machine was used in the research and photography for one of the first published articles about the Lisa (“Lisa: Close-up & Personal) in the September, 1983 issue of Softalk magazine, a copy of which, signed by Roger Wagner, is included in this sale.

This computer was then used on a daily basis as part of the operations of Wagner’s software company, Southwestern Data Systems. His company was listed on one of the first Apple promotional posters for the Macintosh, which included photos of Bill Gates and Mitch Kapor and the companies that had committed to developing software for the new Macintosh computer.

This machine, with Apple label reading "Serial No: B08B831330328, Applenet No: 00103473, Manufactured: 83133," features the extremely rare original-configuration 'Twiggy' floppy drives, plus an uninstalled Lisa 2 upgrade kit, and includes all peripherals and accessories required for operation: an original Apple keyboard and mouse, an external Apple ProFile hard drive, nine boxes of software (LisaCalc, LisaDraw, LisaList, LisaGraph, LisaWrite, LisaProject, and Pascal), and Lisa Owner's Guide. The system is fully working, and both of the Twiggy drives work and are in alignment. Also includes the original Apple shipping box. 

The Lisa computer was the very first GUI (“graphical user interface”) computer imagined by Steve Jobs and his team after their 1979 seminal visit to Xerox PARC and seeing the Xerox Alto computer. The Lisa was a major project at Apple, with more than $50 million reportedly spent on its development, and is recognized by many as the functional prototype for the Macintosh.

Officially, "Lisa" stood for 'Local Integrated Software Architecture,' but it was also the name of Steve Jobs' daughter. The Lisa was first introduced in January 1983 at a cost of $9,995, as one of the first commercial personal computers to have a GUI and a mouse. This initial, original model of Lisa computer features the dual, custom, 5 1/4" 'Twiggy' drives. These floppy drives, designed in-house at Apple, were innovative—featuring a high capacity, variable spindle speed, and were double-sided. The Lisa had initially been designed with the idea of running its operating system entirely from these disks. But due to the lack of speed, and the increasing needs of the operating system, the Lisa shipped with an external 5MB ProFile hard drive.

The Twiggy drives, with their unique custom diskettes, high manufacture cost, and field unreliability, were soon replaced by Apple with a free upgrade to the later "Lisa 2" machine, which replaced disk drives with a single 3 1/2" Sony drive, and a new faceplate to accommodate it. As this was offered to customers at no charge, and Apple required the return of the original disk drives and faceplate, it is incredibly rare to find a surviving machine with the original Twiggy drives.

Ultimately, Lisa didn't find commercial success, and sold only 10,000 units before being discontinued in 1985. Many units were traded in to Apple for a substantial discount on the Macintosh Plus—another factor in the rarity of the Lisa today. A rare, desirable example of a famed Apple product.


For an in-depth history of the Lisa computer, see “History of Apple’s Lisa“


Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Apple and Steve Jobs
  • Dates: #615 - Ended August 19, 2021