Dubbed the “Holy Grail” by auctioneer LCG Auctions, the 4GB model was expected to fetch in the region of $50,000-$100,000.
But after attracting 28 bids online, the phone’s value quickly rose and Sunday’s final sale price was $190,372.80.
On the listing, LCG Auctions says that, in the last nine months, a pair of 8GB versions of the 2007 factory sealed first-edition iPhone sold for “record prices.”
And this 4GB model – described as “an extraordinary collectible” that’s in “exceptional condition” – is even more “elusive.”
The phone was discontinued after only two months on the market due to “slow sales” after the updated 8GB model was released with double the storage space for just $100 more, according to LCG Auctions.
It is this “extreme scarcity” and its “limited production” that made the phone so rare and valuable, they added.
The iPhone – which remains in its original packaging and has never been opened – is likely to remain sealed to prevent its value from plummeting.
Earlier this year, a first-generation 2007 iPhone sold for more than $63,000, while another unopened first-generation iPhone sold for more than $39,000 in a listing also by LCG Auctions in October.
The iPhone changed the way billions of people around the world communicate, make payments, do their jobs, take photos and even how they wake up in the morning. It killed dozens of industries (camcorders, MP3 players, flip phones) and gave life to many more.
Speaking at Apple’s annual Macworld expo in 2007, late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs opened his presentation with: “We’re going to make some history together today.” Jobs called the new smartphone a “revolutionary mobile phone” that will feature an iPod, phone and what he called an “Internet communicator.”
“It’s bad out there today,” said Jobs of mobile Web browsers. “It’s a real revolution to bring real Web browsing to a phone.”
Other rare Apple memorabilia or relics of Jobs’ life have also sold at auction for eye-watering prices.
In November, a buyer spent more than $200,000 on a pair of old Birkenstock sandals owned and worn by Jobs – setting a record for the highest price ever paid for a pair of sandals at auction, according to auction house Julien’s Auctions.