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Original Apple contract may sell at auction for $150K

John D. Sutter, CNN
The documents were signed by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and
The documents were signed by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and "forgotten founder" Ron Wayne.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Original 1976 Apple contract is going up for auction on December 13
  • Sotheby's New York is auctioning off three original Apple documents
  • The founding agreement is signed by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ron Wayne
  • The auction house expects the docs to fetch at least $100,000

(CNN) -- Forgive the pun: Want a slice of early Apple history?

Three of the legal documents that detail the founding of the revolutionary computer company are going up for auction soon -- some two months after the death of co-founder Steve Jobs.

Sotheby's, the auction house that's hosting the sale, expects the legal papers to sell for $100,000 to $150,000.

"The 1976 document, which once belonged to Ronald G. Wayne, one of Apple's founders along with Steven P. Jobs and Stephen G. Wozniak, is the first chapter in the story of one of America's most important companies," Sotheby's says in a press release.

Isaacson gives insight into Jobs' life

Here's a list of what's included in the auction:

-- Apple's original partnership agreement, signed on April 1, 1976, by Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Apple's "forgotten founder," Ron Wayne. According to Walter Isaacson in his new "Steve Jobs" biography, Jobs signed the document in lower-case letters, "Wozniak in careful cursive and Wayne in an illegible squiggle." The trio signed the document in Wayne's apartment and split their stakes in the company unevenly: Jobs and Wozniak both got 45%; Wayne, who came to the confab late as a consultant of sorts, got a 10% share.

-- A dissolution of contract, in which Wayne excused himself from the company for $800. He later received an additional $1,500 payment. Bad move, right? His stock options today would be worth more than $30 billion. But Wayne told CNN in 2010 that he doesn't regret the decision, which he based on the fact that another company he founded had gone poorly. "What can I say? You make a decision based on your understanding of the circumstances and you live with it," he said.

-- And a second founding agreement, in which Jobs, the marketing master, and Wozniak, the coding genius, outlined their plans for the company that would help bring about the personal computer revolution and create the iPod, iPhone and, most recently, the iPad.

The documents originally belonged to Wayne and were given to Sotheby's through a university archives, the auction house's website says. A Sotheby's spokesman said the company could not provide more information but emphasized that Wayne had not sold the documents directly to the auction house.

"The consigner bought the documents in the mid-1990s from a manuscript dealer who had acquired them from Wayne," Bloomberg reports, citing Richard Austin, head of manuscripts at Sotheby's in New York. Austin told that news organization: "It was right before Jobs rejoined Apple. At the time, everyone thought that Apple was pretty much finished."

The auction will be held on December 13 in New York. People can also bid on the documents simultaneously online.

So far, Twitter chatter about the sale is mostly positive, with online pundits joking that they want to add the documents to their holiday shopping lists and pondering what will be the ultimate sticker price of these bits of history.

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