The console has only Sony branding and pre-dates the 1994 release of the first Sony PlayStation that was produced without Nintendo. The name ‘Nintendo Play Station’ that the sold console goes by is largely accepted to be a nickname for what was intended to be a version of the already-popular SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) that ran CD-ROMs instead of cartridges.

It is thought that only 200 prototypes were built before the deal between Nintendo and Sony collapsed. The PlayStation went on to be the breakthrough console for CD-ROM gaming that is only in the past five years being largely replaced by digital downloads.

Image: Heritage Auctions

In a press release Valarie McLeckie, consignment director of video games at Heritage Auctions said, "The other 199 prototypes purported to exist were allegedly destroyed when the partnership between Nintendo and Sony was officially severed, and, though it isn't certain, it is entirely possible this unit narrowly missed that fate".

Allegedly the console belonged to Olaf Olafsson, the first CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment who left to join financial services firm Advanta in 1996. It was later sold to a man called Terry Diebold, who won an auction of leftover materials from Advanta offices after the company went bankrupt in 2009. Olafsson is said to have left it in a box in his old office. 

For his part, new owner McLemore says he is building a collection of video gaming hsitroy that he intends to display in a museum. "If that works, fantastic. If not, I've already identified other institutions that I think could be a good adoptive parent,” he told CNN in an email.