YouTube legend spends $40k on a sealed original iPhone — and then opens it...

MKBHD opens a sealed iPhone
(Image credit: Marques Brownlee/ MKBHD)

A new-old iPhone doesn't appear very often, but this year there have been more than usual. There was an unsealed original iPhone that went to auction in February, and sold for a record $63,000, a similar one that sold in March for around $54,000, and then finally one in April that went for $40,000.

We know all these prices because tech YouTuber MKBHD took the plunge on the final sealed iPhone for a video, launching a great deal of money at the auction. And then, to everyone/no-ones surprise he nuked all that value; and opened it.

$40,000 to almost nothing

The iPhone features a Lucky You sticker, upside down at the top of the box. Marques tells us that nobody really knows what this sticker means – even people working for Apple. He thinks the reason that his iPhone, despite this rare sticker, went for less money than the other two, is because of a small slit in the plastic sealing the box.

The iPhone came boxed in a massive wooden crate to protect the $40,000 contents in shipping. So what do you do when you buy a very rare, very valuable iPhone that is still covered in all its factory packaging and plastic? Make it neither very rare nor particularly valuable and open up the package, giving an interesting window into the iPhone 16 years ago.

In the box, there is the iPhone, the old 30-pin charger, a dock to slot your iPhone in, and a charging brick (remember when you got those in your iPhone box?). The packaging is a curiosity as well, being much larger, chunkier, and more filled with lovely, planet-ruining plastic.

The iPhone itself required an overnight charge from something a little beefier than the power brick that came in the box before it was good to go. Unfortunately, thanks to the original iPhone requiring a boot from iTunes (Thankfully something the iPhone 14 doesn't need), it looks like we won't be able to see much of that original iOS apart from a 'plug into iTunes screen'. 

Tammy Rogers
Senior Staff Writer

As iMore's Senior Staff writer, Tammy uses her background in audio and Masters in screenwriting to pen engaging product reviews and informative buying guides. The resident audiophile (or audio weirdo), she's got an eye for detail and a love of top-quality sound. Apple is her bread and butter, with attention on HomeKit and Apple iPhone and Mac hardware. You won't find her far away from a keyboard even outside of working at iMore – in her spare time, she spends her free time writing feature-length and TV screenplays. Also known to enjoy driving digital cars around virtual circuits, to varying degrees of success. Just don't ask her about AirPods Max - you probably won't like her answer.