Steve Jobs $4.01 check to RadioShack sold for $46,063 at auction

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    That's some inflation
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 8
    AppleInsider said:
    RadioShack played an important part in the pre-Apple days, as co-founder Steve Wozniak bought the TRS-80 Micro Computer System at the retailer, which he then used to build his "blue box" to make long-distance calls for free. In the early days of the partnership between Wozniak and Jobs, the pair made and sold around 200 of the boxes for about $150 apiece.

    The check was written just four months after Apple was founded, showing how RadioShack remained an important resource even as Apple began.
    Excellent journalism work, blindly parroting the lies told by the auctioneer. At least show some grace by revising your article. (MacRumors, sadly, did not show such grace.)

    Steve Wozniak did not buy a TRS-80 to build blue boxes. Blue boxes are tone generators. A TRS-80 would do nothing for that. But more to the point, the chronology is stupidly wrong. The TRS-80 came out the same year as the Apple II. It could not have been used to build blue boxes that then financed the development of the Apple 1. Sources? Check Wikipedia, for example.

    It's interesting that we talk about the Steves building and selling blue boxes like that's an OK or admirable thing to do. It was commercial-scale theft, even though the target (Ma Bell) deserved whatever it got.
    watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 3 of 8
    Unfortunately most auctioneers, and some journalists, don't let the truth get in the way a good story to help a sale.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 8
    mpantonempantone Posts: 2,038member
    The art auction world is way, Way, WAY worse, those guys frequently put obvious fakes up for sale.

    For that matter, for all we know this check could be a fake. After all, faking a Seventies-era check is undoubtedly easier than faking a Federal Reserve Note just due to the fact that very few remember what the original check looked like. And the paper stock for checks wasn't as tightly controlled as the paper stock for currency. Probably easier to find some reams of old check paper.

    Anyhow, I hope the winning bidder enjoys it.
    edited December 2023 watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 8
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,357member
    That was a cool WF check style. Today's offerings are bleak by comparison. I don't use checks much anymore so it's not an issue.

    Without seeing the back I assume it's a cancelled check returned to Apple Computer Company and somebody thought to save it. Maybe it was discovered or it was dug up out of old company records. There may be more out there. Maybe we'll see another in a year or two.

    Too bad there's not more info on who sold the check. Who had permission to have the check and sell it.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 8
    mpantonempantone Posts: 2,038member
    macgui said:
    That was a cool WF check style. Today's offerings are bleak by comparison. I don't use checks much anymore so it's not an issue.
    This was a typical check style in that era, as well as the classic safety check design. If you had a personal checking account and ordered a box of checks, you'd get something similar. In fact, there were few choices at the time. You'd go to your branch, sit down with a representative who would take out a sample book and show you what was available.

    It's not like Wells Fargo went out of their way to design a custom check for a band of scruffy geeks. They probably issued the same check to nearly all of their customers with the same paper. And in 1976 you couldn't upload a photo of your dog or kids from your phone to have a custom design printed.

    Most likely whoever set up the checking account picked a design that was the cheapest, a standard issue check. The dry cleaner a block away from the bank probably used the same check design.

    Steve Jobs had very modern aesthetic sensibilities, he never would have picked such an old school, stodgy design if he had free reign. In fact, this check design probably represents everything Steve and Apple Computer were against from a design perspective.
    edited December 2023 watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 8
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,357member
    mpantone said:
    macgui said:
    That was a cool WF check style. Today's offerings are bleak by comparison. I don't use checks much anymore so it's not an issue.
    This was a typical check style in that era, as well as the classic safety check design. If you had a personal checking account and ordered a box of checks, you'd get something similar. In fact, there were few choices at the time. You'd go to your branch, sit down with a representative who would take out a sample book and show you what was available.

    It's not like Wells Fargo went out of their way to design a custom check for a band of scruffy geeks. They probably issued the same check to nearly all of their customers with the same paper. And in 1976 you couldn't upload a photo of your dog or kids from your phone to have a custom design printed.

    Most likely whoever set up the checking account picked a design that was the cheapest, a standard issue check. The dry cleaner a block away from the bank probably used the same check design.

    Steve Jobs had very modern aesthetic sensibilities, he never would have picked such an old school, stodgy design if he had free reign. In fact, this check design probably represents everything Steve and Apple Computer were against from a design perspective.
    You quoted me and gave a response to nothing I said or remotely implied as though I had. Nothing about WF designing a check for scruffy geeks, nothing about Jobs picking out the check, nothing about his design sensibilities. How you got that from my post is a mystery. That portion was just it was a cool design.

    It was available to personal accounts as well, from at least 1971-72, best I recall. Why that particular design was picked by Apple Computer Company from others in the same price tier is anybody's guess. Price wouldn't have been the tie-breaker. Not when several other designs were were the same price.

    When you ordered a box of checks you picked the check style (side stub or top stub) the number you wanted the sequence to start from and the design. WF may have had a Surprise Me option but I don't recall seeing it.

  • Reply 8 of 8
    Odd...  Can't recall ever seeing a check with the area code of phone number in apostrophes.  Usually see the area code in parentheses, or separated by a dash from the remainder of the telephone number.  Maybe folks in California were writing telephone numbers this way 47 years ago?  

    Wells Fargo has been around for a long time (going back to the stage coach era).  My Mom worked for a bank that was taken over by Wells Fargo.  I believe she worked on a tabulating machine back in the early 1950s.  
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