A real prototype of the Commodore 65 is being auctioned for thousands of dollars

If you have $30,000 lying around, I suggest going to eBay and bidding on an especially rare one. Commodore 65 prototype (discovered by HotHardware). This super hard-to-find computer is still somehow up and running, and bids are currently around $28,000. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was taller than that.

History class time! The Commodore 65 (C65 aka C64DX) was a prototype computer that was developed in the late 1980s and early 1990s by Commodore Electronics. It was intended to be the successor to the Commodore 64 (C64), but in 1991, the system was killed off due to company infighting and never saw a commercial release.

Interestingly, the success of the Nintendo Entertainment System (aka the NES) and the Apple II computer took market share away from the Commodore 64, leading to the development of the C65. Its CPU was nearly triple the speed of the C64 at 3.54 MHz, it had 128 KB of RAM (expandable to 1 MB), and its graphics chip could output 256 colors supporting a maximum resolution of 1280 x 400.

In 1994, when Commodore International was liquidated, anywhere 50 to 2,000 C65 prototypes reportedly found their way to the open market. The seller even posted a promotional video for the C65, all connected to running programs, including the classic game, The Last Ninja 2.

“This particular unit is still much rarer” than most existing units, the listing states. “The plastic molds aren’t rough, so the case still has a high gloss appearance, and the POWER and DRIVE text is missing. The plastic molded cases of these ALPHA Units are totally rare; only a handful exist. C65 has a ‘#27’ written on PCB.”

Had the C65 hit the market in the 1990s, it would have been expected to sell for $300 to $350, a tiny fraction of the current bid. But this C65 prototype is the holy grail for classic PC collectors because few of them are still around, and even fewer are in working order. Aside from a few scratches noted by the seller, this thing looks pretty good.

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(Image credit: Ebay – commotron_gmbh)
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Close-up Images of the C65 prototype.

(Image credit: Ebay – commotron_gmbh)
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Close-up Images of the C65 prototype.

(Image credit: Ebay – commotron_gmbh)
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Close-up Images of the C65 prototype.

(Image credit: Ebay – commotron_gmbh)
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Close-up Images of the C65 prototype.

(Image credit: Ebay – commotron_gmbh)
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Close-up Images of the C65 prototype.

(Image credit: Ebay – commotron_gmbh)
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Close-up Images of the C65 prototype.

(Image credit: Ebay – commotron_gmbh)
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Close-up Images of the C65 prototype.

(Image credit: Ebay – commotron_gmbh)
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Close-up Images of the C65 prototype.

(Image credit: Ebay – commotron_gmbh)

As the listing notes, this system runs on a European 220V/230V power supply, so any American or Canadian bidder will be an adapter. The Commodore 1084S monitor is also included in the system.

There are 50 bids at the moment with the current one being €25,615, which converts to less than $28,000. The bidding ends on Sunday. Not a bad deal for a small piece of computer gaming history.

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