Before the release of Steve Jobs biography, it was a little known fact that Apple was actually founded by three individuals. Of course, there was Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, but the third co-founder was a man named Ron Wayne.
Wayne initially met Jobs while the two were employed at Atari in the late 70’s. So when Jobs and Wozniak first decided to go into business, they called upon Wayne to help co-found the company with them on account of his experience and the fact that he had previously created a business of his own.
Wayne would famously go on to sell his 10% stake in the company for $800, feeling he was too old to go through the ups and downs inherent in any start-up business.
“The way these guys were going,” Wayne once recalled, “they were going to bulldoze through anything to make this company succeed. But it was going to be very rough ride, and if I wasn’t careful, I was going to be the richest man in the cemetery.”
Before cashing out, Wayne helped create Apple’s first corporate logo and also helped draw up Apple’s letter of incorporation.
And now that three-page contract, which served as the basis for Apple Computer Co., is up for auction and may fetch as much as $150,000 when it becomes available at the December 13 Sotheby’s books and manuscripts sale in New York.
“This is a foundation document in terms of financial history, social history and technological history,” Richard Austin of Sotheby’s explained.
On April 12, Wayne withdrew as partner. The move is documented by a County of Santa Clara statement and an amendment to the contract, both of which are part of the Sotheby’s lot. Wayne received $800 for relinquishing his 10 percent ownership of Apple, according to the document. He subsequently received another payment of $1,500, according to Sotheby’s.
Had Wayne not sold his shares, his 10% stake in Apple would now be worth over $2.6 billion. Wayne, though, isn’t kicking himself over his decision. “You make a decision based on your understanding of the circumstances, and you live with it,” he explained a few months ago.
Interestingly enough, we noted a few months back that Wayne has never owned an Apple product.