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Buyer bites into rare slice of Apple computer history

10 January 2013Written by Jonathan Franks

Auction Team Breker in Cologne have sold a technical rarity of the highest order – one of the six known working models of the first computer ever made by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, the founders of Apple.

In 1976 the duo had set up the company and put together their Apple I in the garage of the house belonging to Jobs' parents in Palo Alto in California.

 This was the basis for the first personal computer; the buyer still had to add a keyboard, a video display and a cassette recorder for use as a storage medium.

About 200 Apple I computers were manufactured and sold for $666.66.

Of these, 43 are thought to survive, so the discovery of a working model caused a major stir in computer circles.

Breker beat the drum in the run-up to the auction on November 24, even advertising the sale on the electronic screen in New York's Times Square.

With an estimate of €120,000-150,000, there was plenty of scope for bidders. After all, in July 2012 Sotheby's in New York sold another working Apple I for $310,000 (then £198,960).

On auction day the bidding went way past this mark and reached €400,000 (£325,205) before the anonymous buyer, appropriately enough bidding online, could settle the matter. With premium, that is almost €500,000 - or about $630,000.

The buyer's premium was 22.97%

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