Steve Jobs's 1976 $4 cheque auctions off for more than $36,000

Steve Jobs's 1976 cheque is written on an "Apple Computer Company" account at a Wells Fargo Bank branch in Los Altos, California

By Web Desk
December 08, 2023
Apple chief executive Steve Jobs unveils a new mobile phone that can also be used as a digital music player and a camera, a long-anticipated device dubbed an ‘iPhone.’ at the Macworld Conference 09 January, 2007 in San Francisco, California. — AFP

A $4 cheque written by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs to Radio Shack in 1976 was auctioned off for more than $36,000 on Wednesday at Boston-based RR Auction.

The autographed cheque, written on an "Apple Computer Company" account at a Wells Fargo Bank branch in Los Altos, California, joins a growing market for Jobs' autograph and memorabilia.

A $9.18 Apple Computer cheque signed by Jobs in 1976 sold for $55,000 last year; another from the same year, for $13.86 to Elmar Electronics, went for $37,564 in March.

On Wednesday, the $4 cheque sold for $36,850.

The Apple inventor’s signature on a job application for employment as an “electronics tech or design engineer” from 1973, classified as Jobs’ earliest known signature by the auctioneer, sold in 2018 for $174,757.

Sotheby's sold a signature from three years later, when Jobs was 21, on an original Apple foundation contract signed by Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne for $1,594,500 in December 2011.

Even Steve Jobs' business cards have monetary value: in May 2015, a trio covering his career at three distinct firms was auctioned off for $10,050 at a high school charity auction in California.

Not alone are Jobs' autographs drawing offers. A pair of worn-out brown leather Birkenstock scandals worn by Jobs in the early days of Apple went for $218,750 last year at Julien's Auctions in New York, the highest sum ever paid at auction for a pair of sandals.

Pricey, but barely a fraction of the $677,196 paid last year for an Apple-1 Computer prototype from the mid-1970s.

The most recent cheque to be auctioned off identifies Apple's initial official address as 770 Welch Rd, Ste 154, Palo Alto. The address is "the location of an answering service and mail drop that they used while still operating out of the famous Jobs family garage," according to the auction company.

According to a Mercury News executive, the artifact came from a private collector who held it in his possession since the 1990s.

Radio Shack is an "unsung hero" of the personal computing revolution, according to RR Auction, a Jobs and Apple memorabilia expert. It further mentions that co-founder Steve Wozniak would spend hours browsing the store's aisles.

It said “the biggest tech innovations of the 20th century are all, in varying degrees, indebted to the Boston-based electronics store” and the described the item on sale as “a superb check signed by the innovative persona”.