11/30/2011 01:03 pm ET

Apple's Founding Contract Expected To Sell At Sotheby's For $150K

On April 1, 1976 Steve Jobs, Stephen Wozniak and Ronald Wayne signed a contract establishing the founding partnership of the Apple Computer Co, a company that would go on to be one of the most important businesses in American history. The document will go to auction on December 13 at Sotheby's Fine Books and Manuscripts.

Walter Isaacson's biography of Jobs explains the trio's duties as follows: "Wozniak shall assume both general and major responsibility for the conduct of Electrical Engineering; Jobs shall assume general responsibility for Electrical Engineering and Marketing, and Wayne shall assume major responsibility for Mechanical Engineering and Documentation." Wayne wrote up the partnership, a three page document that offered Jobs and Wozniak 45% each and Wayne 10%. Shortly thereafter, Wayne, who had undergone failed business ventures in the past, began having second thoughts. Wayne recalled "it was like having a tiger by the tail." Eleven days later Wayne withdrew from the company in return for $2,300 split over two payments.

His withdrawal agreement will be sold with the contract, which at one point was owned by Wayne. “This is a foundation document in terms of financial history, social history and technological history,” said Richard Austin, the head of books and manuscripts at Sotheby’s in New York. The documents are expected to sell as a set for between $100,000 and $150,000. Today Wayne's share of Apple would be worth over $2 billion.

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