January 3, 2003 3:24 PM PST
Bid frenzy ignites for Jobs' autograph
The autograph, scrawled across the cover of the premier issue of Macworld magazine, is generating bids in excess of $800, and the deadline for bidding on the magazine is still another day away.
"A signature of George Washington goes for about $500 to $1,000...and John Rockefeller, the first billionaire, gets about $250 to $500," said Michael Hecht, a director with the Universal Autograph Collectors Club (UACC). "But the prices people are willing to pay for Jobs is ridiculous. Even Jobs, who probably considers himself an important guy, wouldn't consider himself this important."
Jobs, who cobbled together the first Apple computers with Steve Wozniak in 1976, has attained star status within the technology industry. Supply, as well as the item that the autograph is written on, also contributes to the price people are willing to pay, autograph experts say. And Jobs rarely is one to sign autographs.
"I can see how people may think this is their only opportunity to get his autograph, and that may drive the price higher," Hecht said. "And since it's on a premier issue of Macworld that can also make the value go up. But if I had $800 and was going to choose between George Washington and Steve Jobs, I would choose George Washington."
Indeed, Jobs' tech fame is not yet enough to warrant inclusion in the guideline price books for autographs, said Stephen Koschal, an autograph expert and former director with the UACC.
"Even though he has achieved celebrity status, you don't see 5,000 girls waiting for him to get in his car when he leaves Apple," Koschal joked.
Apple declined to comment on the bidding frenzy for its CEO's autograph. But the company may be pleased to see that bids are far outpacing those placed for a signed copy of Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates' book "Road Ahead," which is going for $20 to $25.