At a recent auction in Germany, a functioning Apple I computer fetched a record $671,400. The Apple I, made in 1976, is one of the very few known-working models (thought to be around six units) and fetched a healthy increase over the previous record for an Apple I. The buyer, a wealthy entrepreneur from the Far East, according to The New York Times
, has remained anonymous despite the size of the bid.
Prior to Saturday's auction, the record price paid for a functioning Apple I was $640,000 paid at the same auction house. Prior to that, a buyer paid $374,500 at a Sotheby's auction in New York.
The unit sold on Saturday was originally owned by Fred Hatfield, a retired electrical engineer. Hatfield had held onto his Apple I until earlier this year, only selling the then-non-functioning device for a price of $40,000.
The initial buyer then acquired components to get the Apple I back into working condition. Once the device was working again, the buyer took it to California in order to get it signed by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, which further enhanced the value.
Apple memorabilia regularly shows up for sale in different venues, both online
and at established auction houses
. A contract essential to the founding of Apple, complete with signatures from the three original principals, went on the auction block at Sotheby's in 2011, with its price initially estimated between $100,000 and $150,000. It ended up selling for $1.6 million.