The present lot constitutes the most important group of archival material from Apple's formative years to appear at auction, and it is highly unlikely that its kind will ever be seen again on the open market. As a co-founder of the Apple Computer Company, Ronald Wayne earned a unique perspective in his short-lived involvement in the company at its beginnings. These papers, preserved since 1976, provide a never-before-seen look into a company that continues to redefine the 21st Century.
THE THIRD APPLE PARTNER
This collection of proofs and renderings comes directly from the archives of Ron Wayne, the often overlooked third founder of Apple Computer. Wayne was a chief draftsman at Atari when he met the 21-year-old Steve Jobs, who was freelancing in the video game world after dropping out of college. Wayne served as a mentor and an inspiration to Jobs, who was impressed that Wayne had started his own (ultimately unsuccessful) company. Jobs recalled to biographer Walter Isaacson, "Ron was an amazing guy. He started companies. I had never met anyone like that." At the same point in time, Jobs was in conversations with Steve Wozniak about his ideas for a microprocessor that would become the Apple-1 computer. This important convergence of events ultimately led to the founding of Apple Computers. Wayne served as an intermediary and tie-breaker between “the two Steves.” Their three-way partnership was formalized in an agreement on April 1, 1976. Jobs and Wozniak were given 45% shares in the company, while Wayne accepted a 10% share of the fledgling enterprise. However, just over a week after signing the partnership into existence, Wayne had a change of heart, wary of the implicit financial responsibility that went hand in hand with a startup venture. He sold his share of the company back to Jobs and Wozniak for $800, unknowingly forgoing a portion of the company that would be worth $22 billion today. Wayne’s copy of the partnership contract and its ensuing dissolution was sold Sotheby’s, New York, 13 December 2011, lot 241 ($1,595,500). The present lot comprises his last remaining Apple archive.
THE ORIGIN OF THE APPLE LOGO
Although Wayne’s partnership in Apple was short-lived, he continued to do work for and with the company through its early years. He designed the first company logo, which was featured on the cover of the Apple-1 manual and hung over the Apple booth at the first conventions that the “Steves” participated in. Featuring a woodcut depiction of Isacc Newton seated beneath an apple tree, the design is encircled by a line of poetry by Wordsworth: “A mind forever voyaging through strange seas of thought alone.” Wayne originally signed his name amidst the scrolling design in the lower left corner, but removed it as per Jobs’s request. This logo was somewhat antiquated given the forward-thinking of the company’s founders and revolutionary steps that they would take, but Wayne claims he “knew at the time this was not a twentieth century logo. This is a nineteenth century logo. I think I caught some of Steve Wozniak’s whimsy… it was fun.” Wayne’s depiction was replaced less than a year later by the streamlined, now instantly-recognizable Apple logo.
APPLE II DESIGN
Wayne was further contracted by Jobs to produce designs for a case for the forthcoming Apple II computer. While the Apple-1 was literally just a motherboard that users would connect to their own external keyboard and television set, Jobs and Wozniak went further with their second launch, enclosing the elements into a single unit. Wayne’s designs date from January of 1977, and demonstrate an innovative integral design, were based on Wayne’s belief that “these kids had nothing, and therefore you wanted a design that wasn’t going to cost a lot of money for tooling, something that could be fabricated at reasonable cost. So I did this rather innovative design for the thing.”
The majority of early period Apple material is preserved in the Jobs Stanford Archive. These original Wayne documents provide a rare opportunity to acquire early Apple history. Ron Wayne, now 80 years old, will be in attendance during the auction and has signed each of the historic pieces in his archive. A video of Ron Wayne discussing the archive and his role at Apple can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFtQZY3oE4M.