Change the World: With an Inspiring Message from Steve Jobs’ to Gen X-ers, An Apple II Manual Sells for Almost $800,000 - The Scene

Signed in 1980 by both Jobs and Mike Markkula, the manual’s lot closed after 46 bids.

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The Gen X nostalgia craze that is ruling auction houses all over the world these days scored another big buy over the weekend for an Apple II… manual. This 196-paged, spiral bound reference text however had one important trait that made it valuable—it was signed by Steve Jobs in 1980.

Sold for $787,484 (or about P39.5 million), the manual was originally owned Julian Brewer, whose father Michael exclusively handled distribution for Apple in the United Kingdom in 1979. Jobs along with Apple angel investor and “second CEO” Mike Markkula signed and left a message in blue ink opposite the Table of Contents:

“Julian, Your generation is the first to grow up with computers. Go change the world! Steven jobs, 1980”

The manual was originally owned by Julian Brewer

Global phenomenon

Boston-based RR Auction, which handled the sale, described the late magnate and industrial designer’s message as somewhat visionary.

“Jobs’s inscription, penned in the year of Apple’s stock market flotation, powerfully conveys his grand ambition and vision for the future of Apple Computer, Inc. and personal computing as a whole,” reads the description on the auction house’s website. “At the time they signed, Jobs and Markkula were in the UK to promote Apple—cultivating it from Cupertino start-up to global phenomenon.” 

That message left by the late Apple founder, who passed away in 2011, proved prophetic as the kids who got that first taste of personal computers did end up making a difference. “With Generation X-ers such as Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk truly ‘changing the world’ with technology after being the first to ‘grow up with computers’,” continues RR Auction.

The manual itself was in largely good condition with only a few stains blemishing its appearance. Its sale is accompanied with letters of authenticity, a note from the original owner, and other proofs of its legitimacy, including Jobs’ business card and a message welcoming the older Brewer to Apple.

Revolutionary machine

The younger Brewer remembers the moment he met  Jobs. “I’d accompanied Dad on a visit to Apple in California. I’d just bought an Apple II game called Temple of Apshai and couldn’t wait to get it back home to the UK to play,” he recounts. “Dad took me to an office where Steve was sitting with his sandals on his desk.”

He couldn’t believe his luck, he says, when Jobs took him to an Apple II and let him load up the game and play. Brewer grew up to be a tech business owner himself, with several startups to his name. He also used to write game reviews for Apple User magazine.

American businessman Jim Irsay, who owns the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL, made the winning bid. He is a known memorabilia collector, and has in his possession guitars previously owned by Elvis Presley, Jerry Garcia, and The Beatles members George Harrison, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney.  

Irsay also purchased the original manuscript of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road and the first printing of Bill Wilson’s Alcoholics Anonymous.

While the Apple I was targeted for hobbyists with fewer than 200 units produced, the revenues for its successor supported the company’s flotation, which was the biggest tech IPO of its time.

“The Apple II truly changed the world’ by giving around 6 million homes and businesses their first taste of personal computing,” RR Auctions writes.

Banner Photo by Museums Victoria on Unsplash

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