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T > TANDY RADIO SHACK  > Color Computer

Tandy Radio Shack
Color Computer

SERIAL NUMBER  #000001 !

This is probably the first Tandy CoCo ever manufactured!

Its proud owner, Lee Veal explains:
It is near-mint physical condition. Inside, the board is a Revision C board. Most non-Tandy memory upgrades that were published in magazines like Rainbow, The Color Computer Magazine, Hot CoCo and others never mentioned a C Board. The lowest revision that I ever saw mentioned was a Rev. D. Does that mean that the CoCo #000001 wasn't upgradeable, probably not. It just might've taken a bit of additional noodling.

The paper tag that I taped to the left side, shows what I paid for it and where I bought it.

And I paid $19.95 for the computer.

CoCo 1 specs stickers, where the voltages, etc were stated on the right also had a space for the serial number on the left. The actual number was then stuck onto the generic label. If you zoom-in on this photo you can see that the number is on another small sticker that is applied on top of the generic label.

How I came to own the #000001 goes like this.

In the late '80s and early '90s I regularly attended the Fort Worth CoCo Club (FWCCC). After the meetings, which were on a week night, many of us would retire to a nearby Whataburger and shoot the breeze for another hour or so.

One evening a the hamburger joint, I happened to be sitting at a table where I fellow was telling the rest of us at that table what he'd seen at the Radio Shack Outlet Store on the far northside of Ft. Worth. He told us that he'd recently seen several low-serial-numbered CoCos in the racks of used computer and other electronic equipment a the Outlet Store. He even mentioned that he'd actually seen the #000001 while he was going through the stacks. NOBODY at the table seemed to take any notice, even after he'd mentioned that he'd seen the CoCo with the lowest possible serial number. (Nobody took notice, except for me, of course.) As I recall, Mark Siegel (who was a CoCo advocate in the Tandy Towers in Ft. Worth and who fairly regularly attended our FWCCC meetings) was sitting at our table. As I recall he more or less shrugged off the info about the whereabouts of #000001. Likely, he had more pressing matters and battles on his mind as he had to constantly deal with Tandy management that wanted to drop the CoCo.

I'd been to the RS Outlet Store on a few occasions, but I'd been looking for used but usable copies of OS-9 Dynacalc and other CoCo application software. I'd seen the stacks of old CoCos, but I never dreamed that #000001 could have been among those that I'd seen. The next day, I reported to work as usual. After an obligatory morning meeting, which we affectionately called "The That Time of the Morning Meeting," I told the department head that I'd be taking a few hours off, and that I'd mark my time card for whatever number of hours I was gone. He asked where I was going. I told him, "CoCo stuff in Ft. Worth." He knew what a CoCo-nut I was, and just shook his head, then said, "Well, see ya' later."

I worked at the City of Garland at the time which is a suburb northeast of Dallas, Tx. The RS Outlet Store was (and may still be as far as I know) on the far northside of Ft. Worth. So, after about 40-mile drive I pulled into the Outlet Store's parking lot. I walked in, the clerk asked me if he could help me. I told him that I just wanted to look for some stuff in the racks. I headed for the stacks of CoCos and started the search. Within a very short time, I had discovered several low-serial-numbered including #000010, #000016, #000020, several in the 30s and, of course, #000001. The sticker now taped to the underside of #000001 was stuck to the top.

That day, I also bought #000010. It's now in New Hampshire. I sold it to fellow in the far north, unbeknownst to him, when I sold 20 large boxes of CoCo hardware and software to him in late 2000 or early 2001. He was quite surprised when he opened yet another box of CoCo stuff to find #000010 waiting for him. (My wife and I had started our move to Mexico in October of 2000. I reluctantly decided to sell all the CoCo stuff that I could, so, I did not pack any CoCo stuff for our move south of the border except for #000001.)

When I found it at the Outlet Store, CoCo #000001 was covered with sticker and notes about various voltage and other electronic readings. It was apparently used in the repair center as the model with which others would be tweaked to get them into spec. It would have been way cool to have actually bought the #000001 off the store shelf when it was brand new, but it was probably never sold in a store as a new computer. So, strictly speaking I am probably its first and only actual owner outside of the RS corporation itself.

I took #000001 to what I think was the last actual Rainbow 'Fest in Chicago. At the Radio Shack booth, there were several people standing around talking about how low a number they had on their CoCo. The RS rep at the booth, Barry Thompson, was touting his #000250 or something like that. He had the lowest number of anyone talking with him. It was interesting to see Barry swell with pride over having such a low-numbered CoCo.

I went out to my car in the parking lot and brought in my #000001, then took it to the RS booth. It was amazing how "unimportant" having a low-serialed CoCo suddenly became once Barry had been trumped so significantly. Barry was very quick to poo poo it by saying, "Well, at any one time in the assembly and testing process there were probably 20 CoCos or more working their way through the final assembly and testing room. So, a #000001 doesn't really mean all that much." I pointed out that it sure sounded like it meant a lot just a few minutes earlier, when he had the lowest number among the members of the group that had gathered at the RS booth. I further told him that "Yes, there may have been 20 or more CoCos in the assembly and test center, but the point is that this one was the first one to make it through the assembly and testing process. So, important or not, it was the first one to have serial number sticker slapped on it."

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