Right: Original Macintosh with Carrying Case; left: Melted Macintosh Computer (all photos courtesy Roland Auctions unless otherwise noted)

On Monday, legendary tech shop Tekserve shuttered after a 29-year-run. Many have mourned the end of what was considered the precursor to the Apple Store — including a number of new media artists who reminisced about how the store helped them realize their projects. On August 23, though, you can bid to own a piece of Tekserve history, with nearly 500 objects that filled all rooms of the store going to auction, from old typewriters to bulky vintage cameras. Held on-site, it is organized by Roland Auctions, which has also published an online catalogue.

The blue robot that accompanies Tekserve to trade shows (click to enlarge)

As expected, there’s a lot of offerings for computer aficionados and collectors of gizmos. Tekserve, for instance, is searching for a good home for its famous “Mac Museum,” which comprises 35 computers that represent the development of Apple from 1984 to 2004. One of them is even signed by Steve Wozniak. Jan Albert, who is married to co-founder Dick Demenus, told Hyperallergic she would like a design museum or engineering museum to purchase it to continue inspiring artists and technicians to “Think different.” Much of Tekserve’s collection was amassed by Demenus, and his collection of vintage radios and microphones that lined the walls by Tekserve’s entrance is also entirely up for sale. Demenus is even selling his worktable, a mid-century-modern Jens Risom executive desk.

“The thought of packing it all up and putting it into storage was too much for Dick to get his head around, so we decided to give people a chance to take home a piece of Tekserve at the auction next Tuesday,” Albert said. You may actually literally do that, as even the famous turquoise Tekserve sign that adorned the storefront is up for grabs, as is the blue metallic robot that journeyed with the company for display at all the trade shows it attended.

And addition to the contraptions, there’s a number of artworks for sale that initially arrived from customers or were owned by David Lerner, Tekserve’s other founding partner. Available, for instance, is a signed Robert Rauschenberg exhibition poster, an abstract painting by one E. Victor Gotthelf, and this random plaster bust of Benjamin Franklin. Besides dealing with technology, Tekserve actually hosted a number of exhibitions over its lifetime, including a show of discarded laptops engraved by Michael Dinges; a display of Ken Brown’s films and animations shown on the store’s monitors; and a show of photographer Chester Higgins Jr.’s portraits from Africa.

“I loved the idea that while people were waiting anxiously to find out whether their data could be recovered, they could look at art in an unusual setting that wasn’t a museum or a white box gallery,” Albert told Hyperallergic. A mixed bag of obsolete tech, wall decorations, and simply kooky objects, the relics now for sale certainly reveal Tekserve as much more than your average place of business. 

A Philco Predicta TV

Crinoid Scyphocrinoid fossil

Early magic lantern slide projector

Braille display processor

Gouache on Paper by Guy Ducornet

Nagra 4.2 portable mono tape recorder

Russian ‘Doomsday’ clock

Photo by Rob Kinmouth of Dick Demenus’ desk (photo courtesy Jan Albert)

The facade of Tekserve

The interior of Tekserve

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Claire Voon

Claire Voon is a former staff writer for Hyperallergic. Originally from Singapore, she grew up near Washington, D.C. and is now based in Chicago. Her work has also appeared in New York Magazine, VICE,...

6 replies on “From a Melted Mac to Vintage Robots, Relics from Tekserve Go to Auction”

  1. So I doubt I”m the first to discover that sometimes HA doesnt know its right from its left. :-.

    But that little gaffe aside… you have an international audience. How about telling us what city this is in? It might be useful to those who impetuously decide to go.

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