Steve Jobs Letter Saying He Doesn't Sign Autographs Sells for Almost $500K

A letter signed by Apple founder Steve Jobs saying he doesn't sign autographs sold for almost $500,000 at auction last week.

In the 1983 letter, Jobs writes to inform the sender that he does not sign autographs. Paradoxically, the technology pioneer leaves his signature at the bottom of the page.

"Dear Mr. M. Varon," the letter reads. "I'm honored that you'd write, but I'm afraid I don't sign autographs." The letter is dated May 11, 1983, and is signed 'Steven P. Jobs, Chairman Board of Directors', on an Apple Computer, Inc. letterhead.

The correspondence is addressed to L. N. Varon at 870 10th Street, Imperial Beach, California.

Steve Jobs letter
In the 1983 letter, Jobs writes to inform the sender that he does not sign autographs. RR Auction

Described by Boston-based auction house RR Auction as being "in fine condition, with a small stain in the lower blank area," the letter sold for $479,939 on August 19.

"A notoriously difficult signer, Steve Jobs routinely declined most requests—whether in person or through the mail, he very rarely satisfied the appeals of autograph seekers," the item description read. "In this curious correspondence, he both declines to sign an autograph—perhaps a photograph or magazine was enclosed—while boldly endorsing the close of the letter in ink with his distinctive, lowercase signature. A great, early autograph from the Apple founder."

Jobs, a technology and programing pioneer who launched Apple alongside Steve Wozniak in 1976, passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer in 2011. He was 56.

The Apple co-founder's signature often sells for significant sums of cash. Collectibles and merchandise relating to early-era Apple are also known to reach hundreds of thousands of dollars when auctioned.

 letter signed by Steve Jobs
A letter signed by Steve Jobs on an Apple Computer, Inc. letterhead, dated May 11, 1983. RR Auction

A rare Apple-1—the first personal computer released by pioneers Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1976—fetched $464,876 at auction back in 2018.

The unit reportedly did not have any modifications to the physical board and remained clean and unused at the time of sale.

"The Apple-1 was the first in the evolution of products from Apple that would forever change the world we live in," Bobby Livingston, executive vice president at RR Auction, said at the time.

"This is the machine that launched Apple Computer, a company that would define an industry and was most recently able to achieve a $1 trillion valuation milestone," Livingston added.

Rare documents that were signed by now-deceased Apple founder Jobs sold for more than $240,000 when listed by the same organization earlier that year.

According to RR Auction, the winning bid for the employment application was made by an internet entrepreneur from London who wished to remain anonymous. The individual, the firm revealed, paid a whopping $174,757 for the item.

In October 2017, a copy of Newsweek containing his autograph sold for just over $50,000. Initially valued at $1,000, it contained Jobs' words: "I love manufacturing!"

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs speaks during an Apple special event April 8, 2010 in Cupertino, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images