Auction News

Even Steve Jobs’ suits are for sale


An Apple Macintosh pin badge once worn by Steve Jobs.
Images courtesy of Julien's Auctions.

Suits worn by Apple founder Steve Jobs are up for auction and are predicted to realise 10s of thousands of dollars apiece.

Jobs, who died aged 56 in 2011, is unusual among business figures for his strong personal following.

This is reflected in huge demand for items associated with him in the collectibles market.

On July 11, two suits are among seven items of clothing owned and worn by the computer pioneer on offer in a Julien’s Auctions sale in Los Angeles.

A pin-striped navy blue number by Brioni for Wilkes Bashford was worn for a photoshoot announcing the Apple Macintosh’s release in 1984. A small Apple Macintosh pin badge is included.

Star power: Jobs has an appeal that goes far beyond those interested in the minutiae of circuit boards.

A taupe and white striped wool suit by DiMitri Couture for Wilkes Bashford San Francisco was worn by Jobs to a friend’s retirement party in 1980.

Both carry estimates of $20,000 to $30,000.

To give the Jobs items some sort of context, they are sold alongside items from Howard Hughes and Mao Zedong.

A signed book of photographs celebrating the Chinese revolution has the same estimate as the Jobs suits.

The best expectation for a Howard Hughes item is the $3,000 estimate for a shirt he lost in a game of craps. This is a man whose life was instrumental to creating modern Hollywood and was colourful enough to be the subject of a huge biopic.

It’s clear what company Jobs should be considered in.

The contract with which he co-founded Apple made more than $1.5 million in 2012, an astounding 15 times its pre-sale estimate.

Apple is also a special case. Devices they made have now been around long enough that they are coming to sale.

Last year a 2007 iPhone sold for $190,000. Apple 1 computers, the company’s first model, have sold for $905,000 and $365,000 in 2014 auctions.

If you’ve got old electronics in the loft they’re probably worth checking.

Why do these devices and Jobs attract such figures?

It’s hard to quantify star power, but Jobs had it.

His early death adds scarcity, and perhaps – we should admit – a tragic mystique.

He was famous for being reluctant to sign anything. His autograph alone can be worth 10s of thousands of dollars.

Apple pioneered in the tech industry. And it has always had dedicated fans. Now those fans have money. And just as previous generations paid high fees for juke boxes and John Lennon gear, so this generation will pay for tech and heroes that shaped their lives.

Just Collecting