World’s First Integrated Circuit Prototype Remains Unsold after Auction

Christie Auctions the World’s First Integrated Circuit Prototype

The world’s first integrated circuit prototype was created by Texas Instruments, Jack Kilby in 1958. The microchip was designed by Kilby’s co-workers, relatives of Tom Yeargen. When a decision was made to sell the circuit prototype, Christie, a top auction house, announced the sale. Christie’s spokeswoman, Sun Hee Park, indicated in an interview that there had been much “pre-sale interest.” However, the world’s first integrated circuit prototype remains unsold after auction. One of the reasons might be related to the auction price tag at between one to two million dollars.


Jack Kilby, Texas Instruments Integrate Circuitry

Jack Kilby was a leading Texas Instruments electrical engineer. Texas Instruments is a top US semi-conductor business that has produced a diverse line of instrumentation for hi-tech use. Although, Jack Kilby passed away in 2005, in 2000, he was a recipient of a Nobel Prize in physics.


Failure to Sell at Auction May Lead to Private Sale

Many times when Christie’s auctions items of great value that don’t appeal to bidders, it can be purchased by private buyers or may be subject to sale at a future auction. Several of the original circuit prototypes have been circulated prior to the sale. One of these can be found at the Smithsonian. Texas Instruments has also kept one of these originals in their possession.

Who Will Be a Potential Buyer?

The appeal of purchasing at auction the world’s first integrated circuit prototype would mainly lie with buyers with an interest in hi-tech instrumentation or possibly collectors of originals. Since there are other original circuit prototypes, the price to purchase one may not be as appealing. Bidders at auctions prefer to be “sole owners” of unusual items that have the distinction of being the first and only of its kind.


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