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Rare Apple I projected to fetch $500K in Christie's auction

Bidding will start at $300,000 and is expected to reach as much as a half-million dollars when a rare Apple I computer from 1976 goes up for auction.

Apple I on display at the Smithsonian. Photo via Wikipedia.

One of the first computers ever built will hit the market next week at legendary art auction house Christie's. The projected sale price was reported on Friday by the Associated Press.

About 200 Apple I machines were made, but most no longer exist. Estimates peg the current number of original Apple computers at between 30 and 50.

Just last month, a working Apple I sold for $671,400 in an auction in Germany. That system had the added bonus of being signed by company co-founder Steve Wozniak.

That sale exceeded the previous record of $640,000 for a working Apple I, which came from an auction sale in late 2012. Even individual parts from Apple I machines have proven valuable, as a working Apple I motherboard fetched $375,000 in an auction last June.