Handwritten note from Steve Jobs fetches £138,000

Handwritten note from Steve Jobs fetches £138,000

A handwritten draft of an advertisement for an Apple computer, composed by Steve Jobs, has been sold online for nearly £140,000 ($175,759). Originally penned around 1976, the advertisement was featured in an RR auction with an estimated value of $30,000 (£24,000), but it significantly surpassed that initial valuation.

This historical artifact provides a glimpse into Apple’s early days, evident from the address listed at the bottom, which corresponds to Jobs’s family residence. The company’s origins are famously traced back to Jobs’s parents’ garage.

The advert’s details outline the specifications of the Apple-1, a personal computer designed by Steve Wozniak and introduced in 1976. It describes the PC as a “real deal” priced at “$75,” although the actual Apple-1 was sold to the public for $666.66 (approximately £530).

As part of the auction listing, an advertisement for the machine from the July 1976 issue of Interface magazine was included to illustrate how closely Jobs’s handwritten notes aligned with the final ad. The advertisement highlights the “on-board RAM capacity of 8K bytes,” a stark contrast to today’s laptops, which often boast 8GB RAM—representing a million-fold increase in capacity.

In addition to acquiring the handwritten draft, the winning bidder will also receive a couple of Polaroid photographs showcasing an operational Apple-1 computer. The seller shares that they became friends with Jobs during school in 1968 and had the privilege of witnessing pivotal moments in the genesis of Apple firsthand.

“During the time that the Apple 1 was in progress, I visited Steve several times (Christmas of 1975, spring break 1976, and summer of 1976) and saw computers being tested in boxes in the garage,” they write.
“It was during one of these visits that Steve gave me a Polaroid photo of the computer, a Polaroid screenshot of Apple 1 Basic, and a handwritten offer of bare boards for $75 each.”

A concise history of Apple

In a separate auction that concluded on the same day, an authentic Apple-1 computer bearing the signature of its designer, Steve Wozniak, was sold for £177,000 ($223,520). The listing affirms that this handmade computer is still fully functional, even after 43 years since its acquisition in 1980. Notably, in 2021, another of these early Apple computers was sold for an even higher price, surpassing £300,000 in today’s currency exchange rates, as reported by the BBC.

Around 200 Apple-1 computers were crafted by Jobs and Wozniak, and these served as a catalyst for the development of the Apple II. Released in 1977, the broader Apple II series would go on to achieve sales of approximately six million units over its 16-year production lifespan. The Apple II series even outlasted Jobs’s initial stint with the company; he was ousted in 1985 due to significant disagreements with then-CEO John Sculley. Jobs’s return to Apple took place in 1997 after his computing firm NeXT was acquired.

During this period, Apple faced the brink of bankruptcy, primarily due to the failures of various products including the Newton PDA. A year following Jobs’s appointment as CEO, Apple unveiled its first iMac in May 1998, marking a pivotal turning point for the company. This iMac was renowned for its distinctive color accents, a design element attributed to Apple’s then Chief Design Officer, Jony Ive.

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