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Vintage Computer Festival - Commodore 64 Prototype Auction

Commodore 64 Prototype up for Auction!

The Vintage Computer Festival is proud to be presenting a Commodore 64 Prototype up for auction from Monday, October 6 through Sunday, October 12, 2003.

View the auction listing on the Vintage Computer Marketplace

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This computer is Serial #19 and contains a Revision 6 motherboard built just after Commodore debuted the 64 at the January 1982 Winter Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The computer is in working condition and features ceramic prototype chips developed specifically for the 64 by Commodore's MOS Technology semiconductor division, including the 6581 Sound Interface Device (SID), 6567 Video Interface Chip (VIC II), and 6526 Complex Interface Adaptor (CIA). The 6510 CPU is a very early production unit (most likely one of the first few out of fabrication).

The auction lot features:

  • Commodore 64 Prototype (serial number 19)
  • Preliminary Technical Manual

The following items are also included:

  • Commodore 64 User's Guide
  • Commodore 64 Technical Reference Manual
  • Commodore 1541 Single Disk Floppy Drive
  • Power Supply
  • I/O and Video Cables
  • IEEE Spectrum March 1985 (Volume 22, Number 3) featuring a design case history of the Commodore 64
  • Quantum Link program diskette (pre-cursor to America Online)

Notes About This Computer

The seller, Charlie Winterble, is the former Director of Worldwide Engineering for Commodore International Ltd.

Regarding the prototype he states, "We put together 20 of these prototypes for the Consumer Electronics Show [in January of 1982]. This is, I am almost certain, the only one left existing of the originals." The chips used in the prototypes at the show "were rushed from the fab at MOS Technology as soon as they were done and put into machines to test. The amazing thing was that we did something like 6 new ICs just for this in 9 months and they all had enough functionality in the first couple of passes to make a functioning computer. This was in the early days where a lot of the chip layout was done by hand."

While the computers demonstrated at the show were functional, there were, among other issues, minor design glitches with the SID and VIC II chips. The date codes on the main function chips (SID, VIC II, CIA, etc.), which are all ceramic prototypes, would indicate that they were later revisions. "The prototype chips in it are probably the first pass we made after the show with some of the design fixes incorporated," says Winterble.

On the enclosure, Winterble notes, "The case [of the prototype] is a VIC 20 plastic case we had run off in a different color. The two labels, 'Commodore' and 'Power', were made in a local shop and glued in place in the last minute."

Winterble adds, "It is a fully functional computer, although there are still some subtle design bugs typical of a prototype. Except for standard TTL it has only prototype chips; even the RAM chips are sample ceramic prototypes. The software 'operating system' functions but it is prototype as well. None of these bugs are defects in the computer, they are just representative of the prototype stage of this machine."

Click on these links to see photos of the machine and its various accessories:

As has been stated, this is most likely the only prototype Commodore 64 in existence. This represents your one and only chance to add such a significant piece of computer history to your collection.

The auction will start at 8:00 AM (Pacific Standard Time) on Monday, October 6, and is secheduled to conclude at 3:00 PM (Pacific Standard Time) on Sunday, October 12. Potential bidders are required to register for an account on the Vintage Computer Marketplace where the auction will be held.

Read the official press release for more information.

Read what the press is saying about this auction:

To participate in this auction, you must register at the Vintage Computer Marketplace. Only registered bidders will be allowed to participate in the auction.


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