Original 1976 Apple computer sells for $375,000

@CNNMoneyTech June 15, 2012: 5:39 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Think the iPad's price tag is steep? One famed Apple product, the original Apple I, sold for $374,500 on Friday.

Auction house Sotheby's sold a 1976 Apple I Computer -- which still works! -- in New York on Friday, after a bidding war broke out between two potential buyers.

The lucky winner? An anonymous telephone bidder.

That bidder's final price more than doubled the high estimate of $180,000, said Sotheby's, which hailed the Apple I as "the start of the personal computing revolution."

For $374,500, the buyer could have bought 750 entry-level iPads, more than 1,880 iPhones (with a two-year contract, of course) or around 650 shares of Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500).

Sotheby's touted the device's backstory in an email to press. Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak built the Apple I Computer in 1976 and attracted the attention of Silicon Valley store chain Byte Shop.

Store owner Paul Terrell ordered 50 of the computers for $500 each, which the late Jobs and Wozniak put together in just 30 days.

Terrell sold them for $666.66 each, and the Apple duo made 150 more to sell to friends and other stores.

The Apple I was a marvel for its time, but it was quite different than today's computers, Sotheby's noted: The Apple I lacked a monitor, keyboard, power supply and case. To top of page

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