05/01/2012 14:51 GMT | Updated 06/03/2012 10:12 GMT

Raspberry Pi, The British '$25 Computer', Sells For Thousands In Pre-Release eBay Auction

A computer intended to cost just $25 (£15) has surprised its creators by netting thousands in an online pre-sale.

The Raspberry Pi computer is aimed primarily at school-age programmers, and is intended to provide budding computer experts with a full development platform for much less than a fraction of the usual cost.

The credit card-sized circuit boards, which also include a USB port, an HDMI port and an ethernet connector, have been in development for about five years and are expected to go on sale at the end of January.

The charity that makes them - the Raspberry Pi Foundation - decided to release 10 beta versions of the computer in order to raise some extra funds and test demand.

The response has been almost overwhelming, with two of the kits already netting £2,100.

Several more of the boards have rocketed past £900.

While the charity is well funded and is supported by the University of Cambridge, executive director Eben Upton, said the auction would allow more units to be produced more quickly.

"We're surprised, and very flattered that people believe in the project to this extent," he told the Huffington Post UK.

"Although we're adequately funded within the foundation, extra income of this sort allows us to build larger batches of units, and to consider funding development some of the pieces of educational material which are currently missing."

The pre-released boards will be sent to the auction winners with certificates of authenticity and an SD card with a pre-release version of Linux.