Back in 1976, when Apple still operated out of cofounder Steve Jobs’ garage, he signed a $175 check to a consulting firm. And someone just paid $106,985 for it, Boston-based RR Auction said Thursday.
That’s one pricey piece of paper. And another one, a Jobs business card from NeXT, brought in a more affordable $3,076. Both sums far exceeded the auction estimates.
Steve Jobs-signed check from 1976 paid out $175. Now it brings in $106,985.
The typed check from “Apple Computer Company,” dated July 8, 1976 and payable to Crampton, Remke & Miller, Inc. for $175, carries Jobs’ signature. He signed it “steven jobs.”
While the “fine to very fine”-condition check sold for a staggering $106,985, its auction estimate stood at a mere $25,000.
The check’s value comes from its association with Jobs, of course — he didn’t sign tons of autographs during his life, so they’re relatively rare — and because it uses the company’s first official address at “770 Welch Rd., Ste. 154, Palo Alto,” RR Auction said.
That was the address of an answering service and mail drop the company used while operating out of the garage, where Jobs and Steve Wozniak toiled away on the Apple-1.
The auction company described the check’s importance this way:
During this period, the company had recently developed the Apple-1, secured its first big order, and set about trying to fulfill it. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had to secure parts and components on credit, build the computers, and deliver them to retailers and individuals. A highly desirable, essentially flawless check from a central moment in the history of modern tech.
Shows a focus on the long term
The business consulting firm that received the money, Crampton, Remke & Miller, worked with Northern California tech companies including Atari, Memorex, National Semiconductor and Xerox.
Jobs demonstrated his focus on long-term growth by hiring a firm like that, RR said.
“It’s a remarkable flawless check from when Steve Jobs hired Apple’s first consulting firms — a central moment in the history of the most innovative and influential companies,” noted Bobby Livingston, executive VP at RR.
“These great looking early checks are highly desired because they not only tell Apple’s founding story, they are signed with perfect examples of Steve Jobs’s autograph. Plus, bank checks allay collectors’ concerns about the authenticity of Steve Jobs’s signature,” he added.
Jobs’ NeXT business card
Other Steve Jobs-related lots in the auction included a NeXT Business Card from the early 1990s listing Jobs as Chairman and CEO. In “very fine condition,” it shows the NeXT logo designed by Paul Rand. It lists the company’s second official address, where it moved in 1989.
The information is also printed in Japanese on the back of the card.
After being pushed out of Apple in 1985, Jobs founded NeXT, which aimed at business and education markets but made computers that competed with the Macintosh. He returned to Apple in 1997. The rest, as they say, is history.
The card fetched $3,076. RR estimated its sale value at just $800.
The auction, which included many signed documents and other items from science and technology figures, began April 17 and concluded May 10. Read more about it.