Steve Jobs’ job application auction offers real versus NFT comparison
A Steve Jobs’ job application from 1973 has sold for the fourth time in as many years, fetching US$18,750 in December 2017, $174,757 in March 2018, $221,760 in March, 2021 and $343,000 last week. The remarkable aspect of the most recent sale (apart from the 2,000-percent appreciation in 42 months), is that both the physical A4 page application and a non-fungible token (NFT) of the A4 printed page were offered separately, enabling a comparison of the values of physical and virtual for the first time.
Back in December 2017, we reported on a number of oddball scientific artifacts that had sold at Bonhams History of Science & Technology sale, including a partially-completed Steve Jobs' job application from 1973 that had fetched $18,750.
As we noted at the time, it offered a fascinating insight into the humble beginnings of one of the most important people in history, and $18,750 seemed like a lot of money for an A4 printed page filled out in Jobs’ handwriting.
We’re guessing that it was a rough draft so that Steve could countenance what he’d write on the finished form, because if it isn’t there’s every chance he wouldn’t have got a job anywhere. In 1974, Jobs put his technical skills to work and secured a job as a technician at Atari, heavily relying on the help of Steve Wozniak. In 1976, Jobs and Wozniak founded Apple, created the Apple I and pioneered the first personal computer, a device that is now ubiquitous.
Someone recognized the real value of that A4 sheet though, because just four months later, whomever had purchased the single-sided A4 page flipped it for $174,757 at an RRAuction in March 2018.
The sheet went back to auction again at Charterfields in London in March this year (2021), with the price rising still further to £162,000 ($221,762), though this time it was purchased by a consortium which had recognized there was latent value to be had with the right methods, and set out with a plan intended to extract the optimum reward. Not surprisingly, that plan involved the most abstract of all asset classes, the Non-Fungible Token.
That plan involved minting a non-fungible token (NFT) of the A4 printed page, and offering both the real and the virtual resumes.
The remarkable aspect of the most recent sale (apart from the near 2,000 percent appreciation in 42 months), is that both the physical A4 page application and an NFT of the A4 printed page were offered separately, enabling a comparison of the values of physical and virtual for the first time.
It worked, as media coverage and hence public awareness of the sale was considerably enhanced, activity was increased on both platforms and the final result was a resounding win for the real world resume, with the final score being US$343,000 vs ETHΞ12 (US$27,460.20).
It's worth noting that it sold for more as an NFT this time than it did at its first attempt as a lump of paper, mainly because that's really all that we can safely conclude from the experiment. We suspect the results would vary dramatically depending on the object, but with only one data point, we're not much wiser.