A three-page contract, which resulted in the creation of Apple Computer Co. and was signed by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne on April 1, 1976, was sold at an auction for $1,594,500 on Tuesday.
At a Sotheby’s auction in New York City on Tuesday, about 20 people attended the bidding of the document. Six bidders were on telephone and online. Finally, it went to a telephone bidder Eduardo Cisneros, the CEO of Cisneros Corp.
According to Sotheby's Fine Books and Manuscripts auction, the result of the bidding was beyond their expectation as the pre-sale estimate was just between $100,000 and $150,000. Since the nearly $1.6 million sale price includes buyer’s 12% premium paid to Sotheby's, the value of the founding contract is actually $1.35 M.
After Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs passed away on Oct. 5 at the age of 56, interest in Jobs’ life has peaked.
Sotheby's head of books and manuscripts, Richard Austin, said the contract is a foundation document in terms of financial history, social history, and technological history.
The auction of the founding document came at a perfect time. On Monday Amazon announced that Walter Isaacson's biography of Jobs was its best-selling book in 2011. It is also reported that a Hungarian software company will unveil a 7-foot, 485 pound bronze statue bronze statue of Steve Jobs on December 21 in recognition of his leadership and vision, and appreciation for his support for the fledgling firm.
The auctioned document was initially owned by Ronald Wayne, who withdrew from the partnership eleven days after signing the contract. His move is documented in an amendment of the contract included in Sotheby’s lot.
Wayne left Apple because he was worried if the company failed, his assets would be grabbed by Apple’s creditors. According to the amendment in the document, Wayne was paid $800 for relinquishing his 10% stake in Apple. Later he received an additional $1,500. Today, based on Apple’s market value, Wayne’s 10 percent ownership would be valued at least $36 billion.
Wayne later sold the document to a manuscript dealer, who re-sold it to Wade Saadi, founder and CEO of the IT recruitment firm Pencom Systems.