updated 02:10 am EST, Wed November 20, 2013
Unit one of only six known working units
A previously-reported auction in Cologne, Germany of a rare working-condition Apple I computer failed to meet the minimum bid of €180,000 ($242,820) but was sold after the auction had closed, Auction Team Breker has revealed. Two potential bidders were surprised that the item had failed to sell and put in their own bids, with the larger of the two being accepted - €246,000, or US $330,000. The same company had previously sold a rare functioning Apple I for over $670,000 in a previous auction.
The machines are thought to be two of only six known working units, and this latest one sold for about the same price as one purchased by bidders at Sotheby's and Christie's in New York over the past year. Like the previous unit, the one sold this week was signed by Steve Wozniak, the engineer who designed and hand-built most of the early units, including this one - labelled number 46 of the first batch of 50 sold to The Byte Shop in California in 1976.
Ultimately only about 200 Apple I units were made, with about 50 still thought to exist. This particular unit was unusual in that it still had its original shipping box and all its peripherals and software, all still functional.
"Not only were the monitor, software and peripherals in near-mint working condition," said an Auction Team Breker spokesperson, "but the motherboard also retained its original cardboard shipping box that had been signed and authenticated by Apple's co-founder Steve Wozniak."
The original series of Apple I computers were assembled in the Jobs' family home. The buyer has requested anonymity.
Courtesy Auction Team Breker