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Winning bidder spends $10,000 on a pair of Apple branded sneakers


Back in 1983, when Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs was looking for a businessman to run the company, he settled on Pepsico chief John Sculley. Impressed with Sculley’s Pepsi Challenge television spot, Jobs reportedly asked Sculley, “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or come with me and change the world?” After leaving for Apple, it became apparent that the two had different plans for the Mac and Jobs was fired.

During the period of time that Jobs was gone from Apple, he invested in animation studio Pixar (and subsequently sold it to Disney for billions) and started a company called NeXT. Apple purchased NeXT in 1997 giving Jobs an entry door back into Apple which resulted in the latter regaining his CEO title. From that point forward Apple went on an amazing run of introducing new products including the translucent iMac G3and the stylish iMac G4, the iPod, iPhone and iPad. NeXT’s software, by the way, is the basis for iOS which is the operating system that runs on the iPhone and iPad.

A pair of sneakers made for Apple employees in the mid 1990s received a winning bid of $10,000

While Jobs was gone from Apple in the mid 1990s, the company thought it would be a good idea to produce sneakers for employees that were covered with the Apple brand. And while not as rare as the Apple-1 computer that recently fetched $458,711 at auction, a pair of these sneakers (size 9 and a half) just secured a winning bid of $10,000 at an auction run by Heritage Auctions (via Gizmodo). Just for comparison purposes, $10,000 will buy you six 512GB iPhone 11 Pro Max units with enough money left over for a 256GB iPhone 11.

This isn’t the first time that a pair of Apple sneakers was up for bids. Adidas allegedly created two prototype designs for Apple in the mid 1990s; In 2017 Heritage Auctions listed what was claimed to be a never-worn pair of one of these prototypes with a starting bid price of $15,000 and experts estimated that bidding could rise as high as $36,000. But when the auction was opened to bidders, not one bid was ever made.

The $10,000 winning bid happens to look puny compared to the record $437,500 paid at auction for a pair of running shoes produced by Nike. The footwear was made in 1972 and was one of the first pair manufactured by the company.

As it turns out, there is quite a market for Apple memorabilia. Jerrold C. Manock, who designed the Apple II and was company employee #246, recently put up for auction his personal treasure trove of rare Apple items including a contract for the Apple II signed by Steve Jobs. The latter fetched a winning bid of $37,023. An Apple Power Book signed by Jobs went for $10,137. It took $477 to win a set of four beach towels containing the Apple logo from the 1980s. An Apple-1 computer sold for $366,969 and an Apple ‘Think Different’ watch topped estimates by generating a winning bid of $1,100. Manock received a bonus in 1992 and learned about it from a letter that Jobs signed. This item received a winning bid of $12,246. And a 1989 Macintosh Portable Computer received a top bid of $578.

While promotional items are often in demand (like the sneakers), items signed by Steve Jobs usually receive high bids especially on documents with a historical context like the Apple II contract. Of course, as an early Apple employee Manock was able to build an unusual collection of Apple items.

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