Apple II manual, a rare collectible inscribed and signed by late Apple founder Steve Jobs in 1980, has been auctioned for a whopping $787,484 (roughly Rs. 5.85 crores) on August 19. The buyer is Jim Irsay, the owner of the American football team Indianapolis Colts. Boston-based RR Auction sold the 41-year-old Apple II Reference Manual last week. The manual, that ran into 196 pages, was inscribed and signed opposite the ‘Table of Contents’ in blue ink by Jobs and Apple’s former angel investor and second CEO, Mike Markkula. The manual contains technical details of Apple II’s architecture and operation.
Jobs had written, “Julian, your generation is the first to grow up with computers. Go change the world! Steven Jobs, 1980.” He referred to Julian Brewer, whose father Michael negotiated exclusive distribution rights for Apple in the UK in 1979.
In a note on its website, RR Auction stated that “Jobs’ inscription, penned in the year of Apple’s stock market flotation, powerfully conveys his grand ambition and vision for the future of Apple Computer, Inc. and personal computing as a whole”. It adds that when Jobs and Markkula signed the Apple II manual, they were in the UK to promote the company.
The note further states that the manual was “in fine condition, with a few small stains on the front cover”.
The auction house sold a few other items related to Jobs as well. One of the other items sold included a signed letter from Jobs where he’s written, “I’m afraid I don’t sign autographs”, that received 55 bids and was sold for $479,939 (roughly Rs. 3.56 crores).
Brewer, who was a teenager when Jobs signed the manual, was quoted as saying by RR Auction, “I was sitting in my bedroom writing games on my Apple II when dad called me down to meet some guests. To my amazement, it was Steve Jobs and Mike Markkula. I had the manual with me and only later understood how rare it was for Jobs to sign anything, let alone to write an inscription like this. He got on well with dad, so I feel the inscription was made with care.”
For the then-struggling company, Apple II — one of the first computers made for the mass market — went on to become one of its biggest products.
Brewer says that he also met Jobs on another occasion when he had accompanied his father on a visit to the Apple office in California. “I’d just bought an Apple II game called ‘Temple of Apshai’ and couldn’t wait to get it back home to the UK to play. Dad took me to an office where Steve was sitting with his sandals on his desk. I couldn’t believe my luck when he took me to an Apple II and let me load up the game and play it!”
Jobs passed away in 2011. In recent years, the prices of anything signed by him have skyrocketed.
While expressing what the Apple II manual meant for him, Irsay said in a statement provided to the auction house that Jobs was among the “most innovative minds of the past two centuries.”