(Above: A 1988 Newsweek magazine cover, signed by Steve Jobs. Sold by RR Auction for $50,587.)
RR to sell Steve Jobs autographs as highlight of Remarkable Rarities auction, Sept. 2018
RR Auction’s Remarkable Rarities auction (online bidding Sept. 13-20; live auction in Boston on Sept. 25) will feature several exciting examples of Steve Jobs autographs.
A renowned reluctant signer, the CEO and founder of Apple always asserted that his success was a result of team effort, and therefore often refused to give an autograph if the rest of his employees were not included. A fortunate few have obtained a Steve Jobs autograph, and several consign with RR Auction.
RR will present four spectacular examples of Steve Jobs autographs in our September auction, all in desirable formats with fascinating provenance. Here are their stories.
As a photographer in Silicon Valley in 1988, the consignor was hired by MacWorld Magazine to do a photo shoot in advance of the five-year anniversary of the advent of the first Macintosh computer. He used his own Macintosh Plus as a prop; at the end of the shoot, he asked the Apple employees present to sign the underside of it. Eight of the original key Macintosh team members were at the shoot: Andy Hertzfeld, Patti Kenyon, Guy L. ‘Bud’ Tribble, Joanna R. Hoffman, Steve Capps, Larry Kenyon, Mike Boich and Brian Howard.
The consignor photographed influential Apple marketing specialist Guy Kawasaki on another occasion, who also signed the computer. And though Steve Jobs wasn’t there on the anniversary photo shoot, the consignor photographed him four times over the course of his career, for various magazine assignments. At an assignment in 1993, he asked Jobs to sign the computer. “He showed his well-known reticence initially; but once he saw that his team had already signed it, he relaxed and agreed,” the consignor noted.
A Silicon Valley graphic designer, the consignor of this item was first approached in 1982 to design a catalog and poster for the fledgling computer company. “I didn’t even know Apple Computer existed,” he noted. “I was like, ‘who?’” After a subsequent five years of successful projects for Apple, he was eventually given the assignment of the annual report.
Upon completion of the 1982 Annual Report, the consignor was surprised with a thank-you dinner hosted by Apple, for his years of work and especially his design work for the annual report. “Steve really liked my design. He stated many times this annual report was his favorite!” the consignor said.
After “a great meal,” the consignor was again surprised to receive an Apple Hero Award – usually reserved for employees only – as well as the annual report signed by all the guests, including a rare Steve Jobs autograph. “It was really a memorable moment in my career to [become aware of] how good it was. It was a great experience and very fun.”
This consignor won a VFW Voices of Democracy essay contest as a high schooler in 1981. The many prizes included attending the annual American Academy of Achievement ‘Banquet of the Golden Plate’ award weekend, being held the summer of 1982 in New Orleans.
The teenagers attending enjoyed many activities, like a riverboat dance with Brooke Shields; “but the highlight for me was hearing Steve Jobs talk at the event,” the consignor recalled.
“I was just starting to get into computers. And while most of the speakers were titans of industry or military leaders – all very conservative, all dressed formally, all talking about working hard and following the rules – Steve Jobs was completely different. He wore a sports jackets that he just dropped on the floor as he began his presentation.”
The 24-year-old Jobs was already world-famous and running a rapidly growing company. The consignor got all the honorees to sign his copy of the program. He notes that “[all the banquet honorees were] very generous of their time and signed autographs for the teenagers, and that’s how I got Steve to sign this program.”
For 40 years, this consignor’s father collected tens of thousands of autographs – US presidents, entertainers, politicians. He would gather relevant magazine covers and send them with a handwritten letter requesting an autograph. “It was his passion,” the consignor said.
Going through his late father’s collection, “I didn’t know he had this Steve Jobs [Time Magazine cover] autograph; I just came across it. It’s probably because our family actually bought one of the first Apple II C computers. My father followed Apple ever after that,” he noted.
“When I found this autograph, I figured there would be a Steve Jobs following, but I had no idea on the value. Then I saw that RR Auction had recently sold the Newsweek one, so I contacted them,” he said.
The February 15, 1982 issue of Time has as its cover story, “Striking It Rich,” which portrays “Steven Jobs of Apple Computer” as one of “America’s Risk Takers.” At the end of the year, it was rumored that Jobs was under consideration as a finalist for Time’s ‘Man of the Year’—instead, Time named ‘The Computer’ as its ‘Machine of the Year.’ A superior signed piece rooted in the beginnings of Steve Jobs’s much-publicized success.
Read more about Steve Jobs autographs
RR Auction has had great success as we sell Steve Jobs autographs at auction.
Here’s an in-depth Steve Jobs autograph signature study by one of our experts, Tricia Eaton.
For more information on the Remarkable Rarities auction, or inquiries about consigning your own items, please contact us.