Auction house Sotheby's on Friday sold a rare working model of Apple I - the first Apple computer with the original cassette interface - made by Apple's iconic founder Steve Jobs and his partner Steve Wozniak for $374,000 at an auction in New York.
The auction fetched more than double the price expected, and the winning bid was made by an anonymous person over telephone.
Less than 50 Apple Is are estimated to be in existence today, with only six known to be in working condition. The offer included operating manuals and a rare BASIC Users' Manual.
The device was included in the Books and Manuscripts sale on June 15. It was estimated to fetch $120,000 - $180,000.
Also part of the auction was a memo written by Steve Jobs in 1974 while he was working at gaming company Atari. This piece was sold for $27,500 - nearly double its estimated worth of $10,000 to $15,000.
The Apple I kick started the personal computing revolution as users could type letters on a keyboard rather than working through a panel of lights and switches.
In 1976, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak created and presented Apple I to the Homebrew Computer Club in Palo Alto. Despite being the most complete device of its type available at the time, the Apple I did not come with the monitor, keyboard, power supply, or case that constitute the modern computer.
The computer did not receive a good response and was dismissed by everyone except Paul Terrell, the owner of a chain of stores called Byte Shop. He ordered 50 units for $500 each, which he then offered to the public for $666.66 a piece.
Terrell insisted that the circuit boards come fully assembled rather than as kits. Jobs and Wozniak built the 50 in just 30 days. An additional 150 units were developed by Jobs and Wozniak, which they sold to friends and other vendors for the retail price.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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