Auction Results

Steve Jobs note auctions for $175,000


A portrait of Steve Jobs holding an Apple iPhone 4 in 2010.
Steve Jobs pictured in 2010 with an Apple iPhone 4.

Notes for a 47-year-old ad draft hand written by Apple founder Steve Jobs sold for $175,759 in an online sale by RR Auction of Boston ending last Thursday, August 24th.

Jobs died in 2011 after a life that started with adoption and that seemed to epitomise the American dream.

He was the co-founder in 1976, with Steve Wozniak, of Apple, a technology company valued at nearly $3 trillion dollars today.

The Apple-1 is the machine that started it all. This draft is an early version of an ad for that machine.

It is ripe with technical detail of one of the key landmarks of the home computing revolution of the late 20th century.

For sale: An early advert for the Apple-1 that the auctioned notes probably helped form.

Jobs lists the chips to be sold on a board that hobbyists would complete at home. In this draft he plumps for a price of just $75. In fact, the Apple-1 retailed for $666 and was recognisably a desktop computer with keyboard and monitor.

Jobs was just starting out and the company’s address, listed in the ad, is that of his parents, where he lived.

This draft probably resulted in a full advert published in the July 1976 edition of Interface Magazine.

Early buyers could get an Apple-1 from the Byte Shop. For this sale, the draft ad was teamed with Polaroids of the machine in that store.

RR Auctions, a Boston headquartered firm who specialise in autographs, say the notes were given by Jobs to a friend. They had been previously sold – with an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000 – in 2018.

As surely as police officers seem younger as we grow older, so do the cutting edge figures of our youth become collectible historical figures.

The early days of computing are now a fertile ground for collectors and investors; and the minutia of the pioneers of that industry are potentially as collectible as the possessions of any rock star or film actor.

Jobs was a particularly charismatic figure and had a major following during his life.

His autograph is scarce (despite his celebrity status he believed Apple was a team success and often refused to sign things alone) and valuable and earlier this month broke records.

RR Auction were again the house for sale of a signed and inscribed Apple II manual for $787,484. This was more than twice the previous record for a Jobs-signed item from an estimate of $25,000.

Jobs is probably unique among early Silicon Valley figures for his personal appeal, compelling life story and early death (he was 56). However, investors interested in rising markets may find value by looking at the early days of the computer revolution, the internet age, and Web 2.0. There is no reason to suspect that material related to like of, most obviously, Elon Musk, will become similarly lucrative in time.

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