Rare Apple-1 computer from 1976 sells for £320,000

Rob Waugh
An Apple One computer from 1976 has sold for €400,000 at an auction in Cologne. It was bought by an unknown buyer via the internet. The former owner Rudolf Brandstötter was surprised by the amount the first computer with a screen and keyboard sold for. He has been collecting old computers for more than 10 years.

A rare Apple-1 computer dating back to 1976 has sold for £320,000 at auction.

The machine - one of only 200 ever built - sold to an unknown internet bidder at an auction in Cologne.

The machine was the first home computer which worked with a keyboard and screen, and was hand-built by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

It was the first product made by the company, at a time Apple still operated from Steve Jobs' parents' garage.

Apple 1 computers are now ultra-rare collectors' items - only 44 are known to exist. Seller Rudolf Brandstötter said he was 'surprised' by how much the machine sold for.

[Related: Apple seeks to ban Samsung Galaxy Note II]

The few surviving machines fetch five-figure sums at auction. Back in 1976, the machines sold for a more modest $666.66 - a figure chosen because Wozniak liked numbers that repeated.

To build the first prototype, Wozniak sold his HP calculator (then a hi-tech luxury) for $500. Jobs famously sold his VW van for $250.

Apple I paved the way for the PC era - despite having a mere 8k of memory and being able to show only a few characters on screen.

It was among the first computers to come pre-built - each unit being hand-soldered by Wozniak himself, with more than 50 chips attached to a circuit board.

Users still had to add their own power supply, casing, keyboard and display.

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