A rare functioning Apple 1 computer – the company’s first product – has been sold at a New York auction for $374,500.
The price was more than double Sotheby’s high estimate and sets a new record for the collector’s item.
A memo written by Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs when he worked at Atari sold for $27,500 at the same New York event.
The original estimate for the four-page handwritten note was up to $15,000.
Only about 200 Apple 1s were ever created. The computers were hand-built by Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak and originally sold for $666.66 as a fully assembled circuit board.
He later said he picked a sum with a repeating number “because it was just an easier way to type”.
Only about 50 Apple 1s are still believed to be in existence. The auctioned model is one of the very few that still works.
Sotheby’s said there was a battle between two parties for the item which also included the original manuals. A set of bids was executed by the auctioneer on behalf of an absentee collector, but a telephone bidder proved more persistent and eventually clinched the sale.
Their identity has not been revealed.
The Atari memo was written in 1974 and consists of four pages detailing the late Steve Jobs’ thoughts on how to improve its arcade football game World Cup.
Steve Jobs was 19 years old at the time. The pages include circuit drawings and diagrams showing how the paddle-based game could be made more fun to play.
The notes are stamped with Steve Jobs’ Los Altos home address and a Buddhist mantra – “gate gate paragate parasangate bodhi svahdl”.
It translates as: “Going, going, going on beyond, always going on beyond, always becoming Buddha.”
Sotheby’s said there had been “at least three bidders” for the item.
The high sums are the latest confirmation of demand for memorabilia connected to Steve Jobs, who died last October.
Apple’s founding papers, featuring Steve Jobs’ signature, sold at auction in December for close to $1.6 million.