The gavel has fallen, and a job application filled out by tech mogul Steve Jobs in 1973 has sold for $174,757, according to RR Auction.
The application, which was for an unspecified position, reveals a young man appearing to be a far cry from a future Apple founder. Under address, Jobs hand-wrote “reed college” (lowercase). His major, “english, lit,” also wasn’t capitalized. When asked about access to transportation, he wrote, “possible, but not probable.” Under “Special Abilities,” he wrote, “electronics tech or design engineer. digital.-from Bay near Hewitt-Packard” — misspelling Hewlett-Packard. Less surprisingly, he noted he had skills with computers and calculators.
The application was filled out after Jobs dropped out of Reed College shortly following his enrollment for the 1972 fall semester. He stuck around the Portland campus for a year and a half to audit courses on calligraphy, dance and Shakespeare, eventually completing this application.
The sale price of the job application is quite a jump from when it was last auctioned off by Bonhams in December for $18,750. When it went up for bidding again with RR Auction, it was estimated to be worth more than $50,000. It sold for over three times that price.
Bobby Livingston, executive vice president at RR Auction, said the people who bid on the application were entrepreneurs and successful internet company owners who grew up admiring Steve Jobs and Apple.
“The document to them resonates emotionally about who Steve Jobs was,” Livingston said. “Here he was with nothing, and now he’s one of the most important people in the 20th century.”
Livingston said this is the highest-selling Steve Jobs-related item the auction house has sold. While he’s excited about the result, he says he can’t help feeling emotional knowing that handwritten applications like this are something we’ll lose in the digital age — thanks to advancements brought on by Jobs himself.
“There are personality traits in his handwriting that because of him and autocorrect, we’re going to lose,” he said.
The auction, which ran from March 8 to 15, included other Apple-related items like a Mac OS X technical manual signed by Jobs in 2001, which sold for $41,806. A signed newspaper clipping from 2008 about Jobs speaking at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference sold for $26,950. Those items also exceeded their estimated values of more than $25,000 and $15,000, respectively.
This isn’t the first time Steve Jobs memorabilia has done well at auction. In October, a magazine signed by Jobs sold for over $50,000. A signed contract from 1978 sold for $40,000 four years ago. Some of his personal items, including bathrobes and electric razors, have also previously gone up for bidding. His leather jacket sold for $22,400.
“Past generations might have collected The Beatles, but in the last 10 years, we’ve seen a huge growth in our technology auctions,” Livingston said. “There’s a market developing for Steve Jobs and other late-century icons of technology.”
The winning bidder of the signed job application is an anonymous internet entrepreneur from London.