Video: Apple’s founding document fetches $1.35 million at Sotheby’s

December 13, 2011, 7:34 PM UTC

Dated April 1, 1976, it gave 45% each to Jobs and Wozniak and 10% to Ron Wayne

The three signatures.

Steve Jobs was having trouble getting his friend Steve Wozniak to agree to commercialize his new circuit board, so Jobs invited an Atari draftsman he had befriended help change Wozniak’s mind, write up some incorporation papers, and provide a tie-breaking vote should disagreements between the two Steves arise.

Wozniak was persuaded, and with a flourish of legalese, Ron Wayne drafted the three-page document that founded Apple Computer (AAPL) on April Fools Day, 1976.

Jobs and Wozniak each got 45% of the new company, and Wayne got 10%.

Eleven days later, Wayne got cold feet. He came back with a two-page document formally withdrawing from the partnership. Ten percent of the company today would be worth $36 billion.

At a sparsely attended Sotheby’s auction Tuesday bidding for the documents started at $70,000 and ended 9 minutes later at $1.35 million. The unidentified buyer, who followed the action by telephone, will pay a total of $1,594,500, once Sotheby’s “buyer’s premium” is factored in.

UPDATE: According to Bloomberg, the documents went to Eduardo Cisneros, chief executive officer of Cisneros Corp. The Cisneros family, according to a 2006 Forbes listing, is the second wealthiest in South America.

Below: The last minute of bidding via YouTube.