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Tuesday, December 13, 2011, 02:10 pm PT (05:10 pm ET)

Apple founding documents sell for $1.6 million

The original contract from 1976 that Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne signed to formally found the Apple Computer Company was sold at auction for more than ten times its estimated value.

When the hammer dropped at Sotheby's books and manuscript auction on Tuesday, the final price of the contract and associated documents came in at $1,594,500 with the buyer's premium, a more than tenfold increase over the $150,000 price tag that experts had initially estimated.

Bidding started at $70,000 for the lot and reached seven digit territory after only ten minutes on the block. The winning offer came from an unidentified phone bidder who paid $1.35 million plus a buyer's premium of $244,500 to own the historic tech documents.

The legally-binding document signed by the three co-founders was originally owned by Wayne, who was granted a 10% stake in the company after having successfully persuaded Wozniak, who at the time worked for Hewlett-Packard, to join Apple.

According to a statement by the County of Santa Clara, which was also included in Tuesday's auction, Wayne received $800 for his share of Apple. Though he later received an additional payment of $1,500, his original 10% stake would be worth an estimated $36 billion today had he not elected to withdraw from the partnership just 11 days later.




None of the co-founders remain at the company today, with Wozniak formally ending his full-time employment in 1987 and Jobs resigning as CEO in August due to complications stemming from his long bout with pancreatic cancer, which he unfortunately could not overcome.

Jobs passed away on Oct. 5, 2011 at the age of 56.