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Better watch what you throw away.

A woman in California dropped off an old Apple computer at a recycling centre without realizing it was worth $200,000. What she tossed in the trash turned out to be a vintage Apple I computer, one of about 200 first-generation desktop models assembled by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ron Wayne in 1976. Naturally, it’s a valuable collector’s item.

The good news? The recycling centre wants to find the woman and give her 50 per cent of the profit. The bad news? They have no idea who the donor is or where she lives.

Clean Bay Area Vice President Victor Gichun told The San Jose Mercury News that the woman showed up with boxes of computer parts she cleaned out of her garage shortly after her husband died.

“She said, ‘I want to get rid of this stuff and clean up my garage,'” Gichun told the newspaper. “I said, ‘Do you need a tax receipt?’ and she said, ‘No, I don’t need anything.'” She left the store without leaving behind any form of documentation.

In fairness, you can’t really blame her for thinking it was worthless at first glance. This is what an Apple I computer looks like:

Apple I
Doesn’t exactly scream “$200,000”, right?

Since the company had a backup of donations, it wasn’t until a while later that staff made the discovery. Since it’s company policy to split proceeds 50/50 with the donor, they want to track her down. But there’s only one way they can verify the woman’s identity without documentation.

“I remember her,” Gichun said. “To prove who she is, I just need to look at her.”

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