Rare Handwritten Apple-1 Ad Created by Steve Jobs
When it comes to Apple artifacts from the past, they consistently command impressive prices at auctions. Whether it’s one of the company’s earliest computers from the 1970s, an original iPhone still sealed in its box, or even a pre-Apple job application submitted by Steve Jobs, the visionary who co-founded and later revolutionized the tech giant into an unrivaled success story.
Turning our attention to Jobs once again, another significant item tied to him recently went up for auction at RR Auctions based in Boston, and the winning bid hit a staggering $175,759 — six times the initial estimate.
The auctioned piece is a handwritten draft of an advertisement penned by Jobs himself. The ad promotes the Apple Computer-1, which initially hit the market in 1976 as the Apple Computer before being known as the Apple I or Apple-1.
The ad’s simplicity is striking, presenting little more than the technical specifications of Apple’s inaugural computer. Jobs’ lowercase signature, his parents’ home address, and phone number are also part of the draft.
“Crafted neatly in black ink on an off-white 8.5 x 11 binder sheet, this advertisement essentially serves as a preliminary specification sheet for the Apple-1. It was given to the consignor during a visit to Jobs’ garage in 1976,” states RR Auctions in the listing for this item.
The ad details include: “All Power Supplies, 8K bytes of RAM (16 pin 4K dynamic), full crt terminal—input: ASC11 Keybd, output: composite video [sic], fully expandable to 65K via edge connector, 58 ic’s which includes 16 for 8K ram!! Monitor software (for 2 proms on board (256 bytes) included.”
The listing highlights that Jobs mentions “basic on the way (ROM),” although it never came to fruition for the Apple-1; it did, however, appear with the Apple II the subsequent year. Concluding the ad, the late Apple pioneer quotes a $75 price for the “board only + manual, a real deal.”
According to Apple historian Corey Cohen, the technical specifications outlined in Jobs’ draft align with the original Apple-1 ad that debuted in the July 1976 edition of Interface Magazine.
“This initial marketing endeavor provided Apple with the essential funds to transition from ‘two guys in a garage’ to two of the most influential figures of the late 20th century,” the auction listing remarks.
The lot also encompasses two authentic Polaroid photos taken at The Byte Shop in Mountain View, California, showcasing a fully assembled Apple-1 computer board with an accompanying keyboard and monitor. Additionally, an Apple-1 computer screen featuring an Apple Basic program is displayed.
The remarkable simplicity of this ad gains significance when juxtaposed with Apple’s iconic 1984 advertisement (for the Apple Macintosh) released just eight years later. Created by ad agency Chiat/Day and directed by Ridley Scott, this 1984 ad played a pivotal role in Apple’s enduring success story.”