Signed by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs on Thursday, 8 July, 1976, the cheque was only for $175 (£140), meaning that it has seen an impressive 61,034 per cent increase in value in the intervening 47 years (albeit, without accounting for inflation).
This final sale price was also considerably more than what RR Auction was expecting when it listed the cheque. The company believed that the item, with its perfectly legible lower-case “steven jobs” signature, would sell for around $25,000.
There are a few reasons why it may have exceeded expectations. Aside from the clear signature on a Wells Fargo cheque — something more easily verifiable than a possibly forged scrawl on a scrap of paper — the item itself tells a story from Apple’s history.
At the time the cheque was signed, Apple as a company was only 98 days old, having been founded on April 1 that year. At that point, Apple was operating out of Jobs’s garage, and the address of 770 Welch Road in Palo Alto on the cheque is actually a mail drop and answering service.
Even the destination of the cheque itself — the bank account of management consultancy firm Crampton, Remke & Miller Inc. — captures a moment in time when Apple’s viability was far from certain, decades before the iPod and iPhone would point the company on its way to becoming the world’s first trillion-dollar firm.
Of course, most people don’t have cheques from Steve Jobs gathering dust around the house, but if you happen to have a still shrink-wrapped, first-generation iPhone you could be in for a big payday. Earlier this year, Karen Green was able to sell hers for $63,356.40 (£50,740.79) at auction — more than 100 times the cost of the phone when it launched in 2007.