Jobs’s autographed Apple II computer manual auctions for $800,000

If you think Apple computers are expensive, you haven’t seen the price of manuals yet. Boston-based RR Auction on Thursday sold a manual for the historic Apple II computer signed by the company’s late co-founder Steve Jobs for $787,484.

The 196-page book is autographed and has a message alongside the index: “Julian, your generation is the first to grow up with computers. Go change the world! Steve Jobs, 1980.” Mike Markkula, one of Apple’s first investors and the company’s second CEO, also signed the page.

The manual was signed while Jobs and Markkula were in the UK promoting Apple, RR Auction said in a statement announcing the sale. The recipient was Julian Brewer, the son of an entrepreneur who worked with Apple to distribute its products in the UK.

“I was sitting in my bedroom playing on my Apple II when Dad called me to meet some guests,” Brewer said. “To my surprise, it was Steve Jobs and Mike Markkula. I had the manual with me and only later understood how rare it was for Jobs to sign anything, let alone write a dedication like this one. He got along well with Dad, so I feel the text was done with care.”

Launched in 1977, the Apple II was the company’s first successful product and is considered one of the first computers made for the mass market. The first computer spreadsheet, VisiCalc, was developed for the Apple II in 1979 and expanded the product’s popularity to the business market.

“Whereas the Apple I was primarily for hobbyists, with fewer than 200 units manufactured, the Apple II really ‘changed the world’, giving nearly 6 million homes and businesses their first taste of personal computing. The Apple II’s revenues cemented Apple’s success and promoted the biggest technology IPO of the time,” said RR Auction.

Jim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts football team, made the winning bid for the manual.

“When we think of the greatest and most innovative minds of the last two centuries, Steve Jobs should certainly be included among them,” Irsay said in a statement provided to the auction house. “Jobs was a truly transformative figure who changed the way human beings think, do business and interact on a daily basis.”

RR Auction has also sold other items related to Jobs and Apple, including a letter signed by Jobs in which he wryly states, “I’m afraid not to sign autographs.”

It sold for $479,939.