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The Allure Of Steve Jobs And The Apple Computer

April 16, 2024

The recent auction hosted by Boston-based RR Auction, titled Steve Jobs and the Apple Computer Revolution, showcased the enduring allure and value associated with items linked to Apple’s iconic co-founder, Steve Jobs, and the groundbreaking company he helped build. Despite recent antitrust scrutiny, Apple’s reputation remains intact among its dedicated followers.

Steve Jobs 1983 business card adorned with Apple's emblem.

Steve Jobs 1983 business card Courtesy: RR Auction

Some of the auction’s standout offerings were six lots featuring Jobs’s signature, with two commanding six-figure sums. Notably, a 1983 business card soared past its estimated value, selling for an impressive $145K (est. 10k+, $181K w/p). Not only does the card have Jobs’s signature, but the top is adorned with the vintage, rainbow-colored logo Apple used between 1977 and 1998. A little later on in the sale, a Wells Fargo check from 1976, likely funding the early Apple-1 prototypes, fetched a remarkable $141.5K (est. $50K+, $177K w/p). These sales underscore the profound impact that Steve Jobs and Apple have had on modern society.

Apple-1 board that was signed by Steve Wozniak

Apple-1 board
Courtesy: RR Auction

The auction also spotlighted significant artifacts that trace Apple’s evolution into America’s most valuable company. Particularly noteworthy was a fully operational Apple-1 from 1976. This was the very first product made by Apple Computers, but it may not seem recognizable as a computer today. It mostly consists of a central processing unit, a microprocessor, and memory chips on a circuit board. Buyers were expected to have their own monitors and keyboards so they could hook them onto the Apple-1. The Apple-1, however, was not much of a success. After selling the first twenty-five units, Jobs spent all the company’s money to make one hundred more despite there not being comparable demand. Its CPU was not powerful enough to compete with other personal computers available on the market at the time. Though not as successful or iconic for the company as the Apple II or the Macintosh, the fact that the Apple-1 was the first anything from a now-legendary company has made it a part of history. The particular computer sold at RR Auctions is signed by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. This board nearly reached its estimated value, selling for $260K (est. $300K+, $324K w/p).

Sealed first-generation iPhones and other early Apple products remain highly coveted, with a 4G model fetching $118K (est. $50K+, $147K w/p), further illustrating the enduring demand for Apple-related memorabilia.

Overall, the auction underscores the surging interest in Apple-related collectibles, reflecting an ongoing fascination with the company’s storied history and Steve Jobs’s visionary leadership. Memorabilia from Apple’s formative years and items associated with Jobs himself have emerged as a distinct and lucrative category in the auction market, preserving the legacy of one of the most influential companies in modern technology.