As a testament to my advanced age, I wrote a few papers before the eprint epoch. Remarkably, they still compile and I even managed to distill PDF from them.
My first ever preprint was never released. I wrote it with
Takashi Kimura in 1988 and its working title eventually became
The vanishing vanishing theorem. As the name suggests,
a vanishing theorem (for semi-infinite cohomology) we thought
we had proven, itself vanished in a puff of logic; although
strictly speaking it was the proof which vanished.
Papers  and  were the product of a damage limitation exercise aimed at boosting morale after this fiasco. Probably they could have been published in lesser journals, but we were young and our philosophy at the time was CMP or bust!
Numbers [1-10] were written in 1988-9 while I was a graduate student at the Institute for Thoretical Physics at Stony Brook soon after Martin Roček — my advisor — asked me whether I didn't think it was time that I wrote a paper.