A job application written by the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs as a teenager has been sold for more than £200,000 by auctioneers Charterfields, instructed by Manchester-based corporate recovery firm Inquesta and Begbies Traynor of Sheffield.
Steven Wiseglass of Inquesta and Kris Wigfield of Begbies Traynor are the joint liquidators of digital recruitment business Sourcechain Technologies.
The one-page job application, filled out in 1973 when Jobs was 18, was among the assets of Sourcechain Technologies and was sold as part of the liquidation process. It was bought by London-based tech entrepreneur Olly Joshi for £204,120. He was representing a group of friends and fellow tech fans. London-based Sourcechain bought it in 2018 for $179,000 – some £134,000 – to help improve the company’s Google search rankings.
Inquesta director Steven Wiseglass said: “Although we recognised that the job application was an unusual and quirky asset that would generate interest, we were surprised by just how large a sum of money it fetched in the auction. “Judging by the way the sale was going, the successful bidder must have submitted their offer pretty close to the deadline, as for a long time it didn’t seem that it would go for such a high price. It sold for considerably more than the last time it was on the market, so it is obviously regarded as something of great value, and the proceeds will go towards settling the claims of creditors of Sourcechain Technologies.”
The application was made when Jobs had just dropped out of Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Although it is unclear what role he was applying for, it does give clues as to his talents and future direction. It states his experience in ‘computers and calculators’ and his abilities as an ‘electronic tech or design engineer.digital’ (sic), and it mentions Hewlett-Packard, which seems to refer to the time he had a summer job working on the production line at the tech giant at the age of 13. Had the application been successful, Jobs may not have taken what is recognised to have been his first role, as a technician at game start-up Atari in 1974. There, he worked alongside Steve Wozniak before the pair left to set up Apple in 1976. Other interesting aspects of the application are that he notes he does not have a phone number and has a driving license but access to transportation is ‘possible, but not probobale (sic).’
Mr Joshi said: “The fact that this is the first and only written document where Steve Jobs articulates his future vision of design and tech being intertwined, and for that vision to have then changed the world, is what makes this document incredible. It’s the only milestone document from this formative period in his life, and lays bare the birth of his direction and how he thought, on paper. It really makes you appreciate that any small deviation from the path he chose would have meant a very different world from the one that we exist in today. It’s a crazy thought and an incredible piece of history.”
Roger Cutting, a director at London-based Charterfields, said: “We had interest from around the world for this unique item which marks a pivotal time in Steve Jobs’ career path.”
Kris Wigfield said: “This is a fascinating insight into a character who went on to become one of the most influential people in the world, at a pivotal moment in his life. Knowing the seismic impact that Steve Jobs would go on to have with Steve Wozniak at Apple makes this document very special indeed.”