Nov 28, 2011
Sotheby’s is preparing to auction a copy of the original Apple partnership agreement between Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ron Wayne in a lot that also includes the statement of withdrawal that removed Wayne from the partnership and relieved him of his obligations. The documents include the signatures of all three men. Sotheby’s estimates that the documents will sell for between $100,000 and $150,000, but we are going to go out on a limb and predict that the lot sells for closer to $1 million due to its extreme rarity and historical value.
According to the information on the Sotheby’s website, these documents are apparently being auctioned by Ron Wayne himself. Considering that Steve Wozniak, the estate of Steve Jobs and presumably the Santa Clara county clerk would have also received copies of these documents, it would seem that the lot being auctioned is one of a maximum of four that could exist, making this a pretty exciting auction indeed.
Ron Wayne, born in 1934, was a bit older than Jobs and Wozniak and had prior experience founding businesses. The two younger co-founders looked to him for guidance, each taking a 45-percent share of Apple’s ownership and giving Wayne the remaining ten percent and asking him to serve as the tie beaker if Jobs and Wozniak disagreed. However, Wayne left the company just eleven days later. Wayne had already experienced the failure of a company and knew that if Apple failed, he was the only co-founder with any savings and would be the one pursued by creditors.
Wayne has stated that he has no regrets about leaving Apple during the early stages and that he believed Apple would be successful.