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Apple-1 sells at auction for £240,000, makes iPad seem cheap

A vintage Apple computer has set a new record at auction house Sotheby's.

The original Apple-1 has sold at auction for a whopping $374,500 -- that's equivalent to a cool £238,269.

The computer, made in 1976 by the late Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, lacks a keyboard, monitor, keyboard, or a case, CNN reports. It's just a motherboard really. But it still works, which is pretty amazing. It makes me wonder why every iMac I've ever owned dies after about two years.

Auction house Sotheby's sold the Apple-1 yesterday in New York. It more than doubled the predicted price of $180,000 after a furious bidding war broke out between two potential buyers. An anonymous telephone bidder was the eventual winner.

Apple founders Jobs and Wozniak built the device in 1976 and attracted the attention of Silicon Valley store chain Byte Shop, who ordered 50 of them for $500 each. Jobs and Wozniak put together the order in just 30 days. Sotheby's touted it as "the start of the personal computing revolution."

At the end of 2010, an Apple-1 encased in wood sold at Christie's for £133,250 -- which was a record at the time. Though both of these pale in comparison to the papers detailing the founding of Apple, which went for a cool million last year. They were sold by Ronald Wayne a few years previously, for "several thousand dollars", so Mr Wayne must be kicking himself. He also handed back his 10 per cent stake in Apple for two payments: $800 and $1,500. Apparently he thought Apple would fail.

More recently a prototype iPad cropped up on eBay with two docks, for landscape charging and syncing. That went for £6,500. The seller said Apple came up with the idea for two docks "late in the process", and decided against it "at the last minute".

How much would you pay for a vintage piece of Apple memorabilia? I think I've still got an old 40GB iPod knocking about somewhere if anyone's interested. Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.