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Apple contract fetches $1.59 million

by on14 December 2011

Wastes of money in our time

The contract that established Apple as a corporate entity in 1976 sold at auction on Tuesday for $1.59 million. It has to be the biggest waste of money spent on anything since I bought that stupid Acer notebook for the missus.

It is 10 times its estimated price, and was flogged together with with another document that removed one of the company's initial three partners after just 11 days. According to Reuters it was the subject of fierce bidding by six people taking part in the auction over the telephone and online, Sotheby's said. Eduardo Cisneros, chief executive officer of Cisneros Corporation bought the documents, which had only been expected to fetch up to $150,000 at its auction of books and manuscripts in New York. The question was why anyone would waste that amount of dosh on historical documents which have a dubious value.

The contract established the Apple Computer Company and states that Jobs and Steve Wozniak would each be given 45 percent of Apple's shares. Ronald Wayne, who drafted the contract, was given 10 percent. Within days, Wayne had decided not be become involved with the fledgling technology company. Wayne was paid $800, and later another $1,500, and was released from the contract. His 10 percent share would today be worth $2 billion. [Ouch! Ed] It was Wayne who flogged the documents to a private collector in 1994.

But the papers are of extremely limited value. Woz, who was one of the people who signed the papers, promptly forgot all about them. It is fair to say they have had no impact on Apple at all and apart from a nominal curiosity value are not exactly the Genesis of Apple. In terms of real value $1.8 million was what was paid by a collector for a copy of the 13th Amendment that ended slavery, signed by President Lincoln and lawmakers who voted for it.

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