As a rule of thumb, when you buy a bit of consumer tech, its value has already dropped before you even return to your car. Over the course of a year, you can expect your pride and joy to be worth less than half what you paid for it. It’s the circle of tech life.

But there are exceptions, especially if you were farsighted enough to leave your brand-new original iPhone unopened 15 years ago. That’s exactly what Karen Green did, and her untouched smartphone with its mighty 8GB of storage is expected to go for over $50,000 — around NZ$78,188 — when its auction listing ends in 16 days’ time. 

Actually, that’s not exactly what she did. In fact, Green owes her imminent payday to Apple’s traditional awkwardness — specifically, the fact that the original iPhone would only work on the AT&T network in the United States. 

The phone was a gift from friends to celebrate a new job, and she was tied into Verizon, so Green just put it in a cupboard and forgot about it… until she saw how much boxed, original iPhones were going for.

In 2012, one went for US$10,000 (~NZ$15,641). “I thought to myself, ‘Oh my God, I think I have the original,'” Green told Insider. “I called my son, and I was like, ‘Go get the phone and make sure it’s not opened.”

It wasn’t, but she held on to it, eventually hearing of another one selling last October for US$40,000 (~NZ$62,565). With a new tattoo business to fund, she’s reluctantly decided now is the time to cash out.

“If I could hold off on the phone for like another ten years, I probably would,” she said. “The only reason why I am selling that phone is because I need to support this business.” 

No kickback for the friends who clubbed together to buy the original phone, then, but hey: maybe they’ll get a discount on their next tattoo, assuming the phone hits its predicted sales price. Watch this space.