Sotheby’s to auction 1 of 6 working Apple I’s and rare Steve Jobs memo

Sotheby’s plans to auction two pieces of Apple history on June 15 in New York, including a rare document penned by Steve Jobs while working at Atari and an operational Apple I motherboard expected to fetch up to $180,000 USD. An excerpt from Sotheby’s description for the Apple I lot is below, and it claims less than six Apple I’s in working condition are known to exist:

As the first ready-made personal computer, the Apple I signaled a new age in which computing became accessible to the masses. The interface of circuitry and software that Woz created enabled users to type letters with “a human-typable keyboard instead of a stupid, cryptic front panel with a bunch of lights and switches,” as he explained to the Homebrew Computer Club. Even so, it was sold without a keyboard, monitor, case, or power supply, An exceptionally rare, working example with original Apple cassette interface, operation manuals and a rare BASIC Users’ Manual. It is thought that fewer than 50 Apple I Computers survive, with only 6 known to be in working condition. Read more

A visit to Stanford’s Apple Collection archives: Drafts of Jobs’ speeches, in-house video, and more

Stanford University’s Silicon Valley Archives currently holds “the largest assembly of Apple historical materials” stored within hundreds of boxes taking up over 600 feet of shelf space in an undisclosed facility outside San Fran.

The Associated Press published a story today detailing their recent visit to Stanford’s Apple Collection, which contains in-house video Apple recorded in the 80s, blueprints for early Macs, user manuals, company shirts, and drafts of Steve Jobs’ speeches.

Stanford historian Leslie Berlin had this to say about the collection:

“Through this one collection you can trace out the evolution of the personal computer. These sorts of documents are as close as you get to the unmediated story of what really happened.”

While you may have heard versions of how the name Apple came to be, an interview recorded with Wozniak and Jobs in the 80s (originally meant to be an in-house video for employees) has the two men recalling the exact moment:

Woz: “I remember driving down Highway 85. We’re on the freeway, and Steve mentions, `I’ve got a name: Apple Computer.’ We kept thinking of other alternatives to that name, and we couldn’t think of anything better.”

Jobs: “And also remember that I worked at Atari, and it got us ahead of Atari in the phonebook.”

That video and others were donated to Stanford in 1997 after Jobs returned to the company and plans for an in-house Apple museum were cancelled. Also included in the collection is this “Blue Busters” Ghostbusters-style internal ad featuring Apple executives, embedded below. The ad was originally shown in October 1984 at an international sales meeting in Hawaii. Blue Busters is obviously a not so subtle reference to their biggest competitor at the time, IBM.

Other items currently stored in the Stanford Apple Collection include (via AP): Read more

Founding contract that established Apple Computer Co. up for auction at Sotheby’s

35 years ago, Steve Jobs invited Ron Wayne to persuade Wozniak to join him in his entrepreneurial foray called Apple Computer Co. Jobs and Wayne go back a long way and had known each other from Jobs’s Atari days. Wayne drafted the original four-page founding contract that established Apple Computer Co. on a typewriter and came up with all the legalese of their partnership agreement.

Twelve days later, Wayne left the young startup and sold his stake. 35 years later, the original founding contract goes up for auction at Sothesby’s and is expected to fetch a cool $150,000. Apparently the consigner bought the legal papers back in the mid-1990s “from a manuscript dealer” who is thought to had acquired them from Wayne, Sotheby’s Richard Austin told the publication.

What’s interesting about the documents are the terms of Wayne’s withdrawal from Apple. So, how much did the two Steves compensate Wayne for his ten percent stake of the company, now worth $35 billion? According to Bloomberg:

On April 12, Wayne withdrew as partner. The move is documented by a County of Santa Clara statement and an amendment to the contract, both of which are part of the Sotheby’s lot. Wayne received $800 for relinquishing his 10 percent ownership of Apple, according to the document. He subsequently received another payment of $1,500, according to Sotheby’s.

Included right after the break is a video interview of Ron Wayne with The Next Web’s Matt Brian from September highlighting why he left Apple after just twelve days. One of the reasons is Wayne’s realization that he would be standing in the shadows of geniuses.


The original legal document that established Apple Computer Company (left) and signatures of Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ron Wayne (right).

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