Computer used by Steve Jobs at auction for US$300,000
A Macintosh computer used by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs went up for auction this week, with sellers estimating its value at $300,000.
The Macintosh SE, which did not find a buyer at the Tuesday auction, was released in 1987 and its hard drive shows that it was used by Jobs for weekly tasks such as recruiting, planning travel, access to a private virtual Rolodex, document entry and meeting scheduling. , including a missed meeting with King Charles III, then Prince of Wales, according to a description by auction company Bonhams.
Jobs, who died in 2011, was famous for co-founding Apple Inc. and later becoming the face of the company.
At a previous auction this summer, a buyer bought an authenticated prototype Apple-1 computer used by Jobs in 1976 for nearly $700,000.
The computer up for auction this week was used by Jobs from 1987 until 1993, when it was given to the current owner. Jobs’ daughter Lisa, who once had an Apple computer named after her, may also have used that particular computer in the early ’90s when her father visited, according to Bonhams.
Jobs’ old computer was part of the History of Science and Technology auction, organized by Bonhams, which featured physical items of technology as well as documents related to key moments or individuals in the history of technology.
The auction was scheduled to take place on Tuesday, but while some parts were marked as sold on the webpage, others, including the Macintosh SE, have yet to find a buyer. It’s unclear when these pieces might come back up for auction.
Among those that sold were a 1909 letter written by Nikola Tesla, which sold for US$24,225, and the Apple II, one of the first personal computers made by Apple, which fetched US$35. US$655.
According to Bonhams, the Macintosh SE was used by Jobs during an « important » period of Jobs’ technological development – his time away from Apple.
Before receiving standing ovations during presentations of the latest iPhone model, he was actually once kicked out of the company amid a power struggle with the company’s board of directors.
After parting ways with Apple in 1985, Jobs created his own startup called NeXT. In this new venture, he used a Macintosh SE for his home computer for many years, even after NeXT started producing its own computers.
Although the Macintosh SE looks boxy and old-fashioned to the modern eye, it was exciting technology at the time.
It moved from the original NeXT office in Palo Alto, CA to Redwood City, CA, and was still on Jobs’ desk when the current owner started working with Jobs in 1993.
The auction listed the computer at a value between US$200,000 and US$300,000. It includes the 20MB hard drive, an additional backup drive, keyboard and mouse.
The hard drive contains traces of Jobs’ life and duties during this time, including suggestions that his daughter occasionally used the computer. The Bonhams description states that the InterMail system is registered as Lisa and that Microsoft Word was registered for this computer in 1992 as Lisa/Life.
According to the auction post, the last task this specific computer was used for was a marketing project overseen by Jobs in 1994 before being offered to the current owner.
NeXT was acquired by Apple in 1997, bringing Jobs back to the company. In 2000, Jobs was officially CEO of Apple.
Many other items in the auction were related to Jobs, including a business card from his time at NeXT (which sold for US$4,080) and a collection of personal items from his office at NeXT, including several magazines and a videotape of highlights from a 1990 presentation by Jobs (which sold for US$5,100).