From Exhibit Trash to Cash

Trade show sign becomes valuable collectible

apple signPaging Antiques Roadshow: An 8-by-2-foot Plexiglas sign (above) used by Apple Computer at its first trade show in the late 1970s recently sold for $18,000 at a Connecticut auction. Few discarded exhibit booth displays taking up space in storage could fetch such a price (it's best not to ink auction revenues into next year's budget), and fewer have had as interesting a story as the Apple sign.

According to the auction catalog, the sign also was used outside of Apple headquarters for a short time before a permanent sign was made. Eventually, the sign was placed in a Dumpster and saved by M. Thomas Liggett Jr., then an Apple facilities engineer. He sought and received permission to keep it as his own property, and saved it for nearly three decades before putting it up for sale last November.

Alexander Autographs, the Stamford, Conn.-based auction house, would not release the identity of the buyer.