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Lot #99
Steve Jobs Signed 'Apple Computer Company' Check to RadioShack (July 23, 1976)

Jobs writes a check to one of Apple's great unsung heroes: RadioShack

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Estimate: $25000+
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Jobs writes a check to one of Apple's great unsung heroes: RadioShack

Exceptional Apple Computer Company check, 6 x 3, filled out and signed by Jobs, "Steven Jobs," payable to Radio Shack for $4.01, July 23, 1976. Headed "Apple Computer Company," the check uses Apple's first official address at "770 Welch Rd., Ste. 154, Palo Alto"—the location of an answering service and mail drop that they used while still operating out of the famous Jobs family garage. In very fine condition.

A fascinating check related to one of the great unsung heroes of the early computer boom: RadioShack. The biggest tech innovations of the 20th century are all, in varying degrees, indebted to the Boston-based electronics store. Steve Wozniak, who spent hours roaming the aisles of RadioShack as a teenager, saved up enough money to purchase their pioneering TRS-80 Micro Computer System, which he used to build his notorious ‘blue box,’ an illegal device that could make free long-distance phone calls. The ‘blue box’ cemented the first business partnership between Wozniak and Jobs, a duo that managed to make and sell roughly 200 of the boxes for $150 each. Jobs later told his biographer that if it had not been for Wozniak's blue boxes, ‘there wouldn't have been an Apple.’ In other words: there wouldn’t have been an Apple if it had not been for RadioShack.

During this period in the summer of 1976, roughly four months after founding the Apple Computer Company, Jobs and Wozniak were hard at work building their first product. Though initially conceived as a kit to be soldered together by the end user—like most enthusiast computers of the era—the Apple-1 became a finished product at the behest of Paul Terrell, owner of The Byte Shop in Mountain View, California, one of the first personal computer stores in the world. Terrell offered to buy 50 of the computers—at a wholesale price of $500 a piece, to retail at $666.66—but only if they came fully assembled. With this request, Terrell aimed to elevate the computer from the domain of the hobbyist/enthusiast to the realm of the mainstream consumer. Wozniak later placed Terrell's purchase order in perspective: 'That was the biggest single episode in all of the company's history. Nothing in subsequent years was so great and so unexpected.'

Thus, the Apple-1 was one of the first completely assembled 'personal' computers that simply worked out of the box with a few accessories that could be purchased from a local electronics store (a power supply, case, keyboard, and monitor were not included). All together, over a span of 10 months or so, Jobs and Wozniak produced about 200 Apple-1 computers and sold 175 of them. A superb check signed by the innovative personal computing pioneer.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts
  • Dates: #680 - Ended December 06, 2023

This item is Pre-Certified by PSA/DNA
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