The contract that established the Apple Computer Company sold at auction at Sotheby’s in New York on Tuesday, fetching way more than expected.
It’d been estimated that the company’s founding papers would fetch between $100,000 and $150,000, but thanks to fierce bidding among six interested parties, Lot 241 ended up fetching $1.59 million.
The contract included three typed partnership agreements that were signed in April 1976 by Apple’s three founders – Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne.
Eleven days after the papers were signed, Wayne decided to quit. The auctioned papers include an amendment relating to Wayne’s departure.
The highest bid at the auction came from Eduardo Cisneros, boss of Cisneros Corporation, a firm based in Miami that owns stakes in a number of real estate, TV and telecommunications businesses.
The seller appears to have done very well out of the sale – Wade Saadi, founder and chief executive of an IT recruitment firm, reportedly bought the documents in the mid-1990s for just a few thousand dollars.
Some of you may be wondering what happened to Ronald Wayne, the man who walked away from what became one of the most successful companies in the world.
According to an interview with Wayne last year, he decided to return to Atari – where incidentally he first met Steve Jobs – because he feared that if the new business venture failed he would end up in dire financial straits.
The auctioned documents show that Wayne received $800 for his 10 percent stake in the company when he left. It’s been estimated that had he stayed he’d be worth $35 billion today. Ouch! In an interview last year, Wayne said, “Would I like to be rich? Everybody would like to be rich but I couldn’t keep up the pace. I would have been wealthy, but I would have been the richest man in the cemetery.”