Got an old iPhone? It could be worth $50,000

Steve Jobs holding the original iPhone in 2007
(Image credit: Apple)
iPHONE 15: What you need to know

A first-generation iPhone is set to break records at auction this month by selling for over $50,000.

Karen Green, a cosmetic tattoo artist, was gifted an 8GB Apple iPhone as congratulations for starting a new job in 2007. The iPhone, boasting a 3.5-inch display and a 2-megapixel camera was the first of its kind retailing for $599 -- a long way from the best iPhone of today with its 6.7-inch display and 48-megapixel camera.

The original iPhone was released on AT&T in the United States and Green had phone lines with Verizon. Not wanting to lose her phone number and make things complicated, Green decided to leave the iPhone unused on a shelf in her house. Fast forward 16 years and that same unopened iPhone is worth over 80 times its retail price.

iPhone investments

LCG Auctions have listed the iPhone for sale with bidding ending on February 19 and bids starting at $2,500. The price of original iPhones has soared in recent years with prices going as high as $39,000 last year for a sealed first-generation iPhone.

When Green heard about the rise in prices of sealed original iPhones she couldn’t help but finally cash in. "I thought to myself, 'Oh my God, I think I have the original,'" she told Business Insider. "I called my son and I was like, 'Go get the phone and make sure it's not opened."

Green previously appeared on a day-time tv show called "Doctor & the Diva" in 2019 for a segment where viewers appraised the item in question. Green's iPhone was given an estimated value of $5,000.

Fast forward to 2023, and Green’s sealed iPhone is expected to sell for $50,000 or more due to the increase in media coverage and based on October’s record-breaking sale. Green is now ready to part ways with her immaculate collector’s item for a mind-boggling amount of money, but should she be holding off just that little while longer?

John-Anthony Disotto
How To Editor

John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself.

Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings.

John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019. 

John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.

In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit.