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A rare Apple I was auctioned off this week for $213,600, a huge premium for the machine built by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1976 that was offered to the public for $666.66.
Wozniak attended the auction at Christie's auction house in London, watching the bidding rise to levels he and Jobs could never have imaged in their wildest dreams. Wozniak, ever the gentleman, signed an autograph for the winning bidder, Italian businessman Marco Boglione.
The auction also featured the papers of computer pioneer and World War II code breaker Alan Turing, as well as a copy of the Enigma cipher machine that was utilized by Turing and other British intelligence cryptographers during the war. After reaching more than $300,000 in bids, Turing's papers didn't reach the minimum price set by the owner. An Enigma machine sold for $107,000.
"Today my heart went out as I got to see things auctioned off like the Turing documents and the Enigma machine -- and the Apple I," said Wozniak, according to the Associated Press.
Asked what his thoughts were about the Apple I, Wozniak said: "It really was an important step (even though) I didn't feel that way when I designed it."
The winning bidder of the Apple I is getting a "commercially rare letter from Steve Jobs," Christie's said, as well as manuals, a cassette interface card, a motherboard, and other components of the machine. Only 200 Apple I's were made.
Francesco Boglione, who attended the auction in the absence of his brother, said Marco Boglione bought the Apple I "because he loves computers."
The Turing papers were supported by an initial bid of $100,000 from Google, but the bidding stalled well below the amount that had been set for the materials. Turing, considered one of the world's most brilliant mathematicians, was a key player during WWII at Bletchley Park, where an early computer called the Colossus was used to break German wartime messages.
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