A recycling centre in Silicon Valley is searching for a lady who dropped off one of the first Apple computers: a collectable item worth $200,000.

Victor Gichun of Clean Bay Area says the lady dropped off the boxes of electronics that she had cleared out from her garage after her husband died.

She did not want a tax receipt or leave her contact information, and it was not until a few weeks later that workers at the recycling centre opened the boxes to discover an Apple I computer inside one.

It was one of the first-generation Apple computers which were sold in 1976. The computers were sold as kits, which electronics enthusiasts had to build.

Gichun sold the computer to a private collection, and he wants to split the proceeds with the mystery donor.

"We are looking for her," said CBA Vice President Victor Gichun to Digital Trends. "I remember her. To prove who she is, I just need to look at her."

The Apple I computer originally sold for $600 but can now generate several hundred thousand dollars at auction.

The record for an Apple I purchase is $905,000, but that was the only known remaining model which was sold by Steve Jobs.

The computer comes with just 4K of memory, so it's not much use these days except as a museum piece.