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Ultrarare Apple-1 falls short of expected $1M auction price

Computer believed to be a prototype sells for $815,000 in an auction that sees a portion of the sale price being donated to charity.

This ultrarare Apple-1 sold for $815,000 at a charity auction.

This ultrarare Apple-1 sold for $815,000 at a charity auction.

Charitybuzz

An ultrarare computer from Apple's earliest days sold at auction Thursday for $815,000, short of its estimated $1 million value, according to 9to5Mac.

Created at a time when most personal computers were sold as self-assembly kits, the Apple-1 broke new ground as the first personal computer sold with a fully assembled motherboard. Known as the "Celebration" Apple-1, the computer is one of about 175 Apple-1s sold in 1976 for $666.66 (equivalent to around $2,770 in today's money).

Though 70 of those computers can be accounted for today, what makes the "Celebration" unit exceedingly rare is that no known printed circuit boards of this type had ever been sold to the public, according to Steve Wozniak, who built the Apple-1s in Steve Jobs' parents' garage. That makes this particular Apple-1 most likely a prototype or a preproduction unit of some sort.

Early Apple machines have become a recent favorite among collectors of vintage computers. In 2013, an Apple-1 sold for $387,750 in an online auction. The next year, a similar Apple 1 was auctioned off for $900,000.

Ten percent of the proceeds from the Charitybuzz auction will be donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.