Big Apple: Steve Jobs Autographs, Trading Cards and Collectibles

Big Apple: Steve Jobs Autographs, Trading Cards and Collectibles

Innovator. Entrepreneur. Dreamer. Steve Jobs leaves behind a legacy that few can match, making the world a little easier and more connected. As one of Apple's co-founders, he wasn't scared to take chances and make decisions that others thought were nuts. But he made them work.

Over the years, Jobs didn't actively market himself as a celebrity. It was the products he had a hand in developing that did it for him. In many ways, he was the corporate face of Apple, presenting their latest innovations and standing up for their value in the world. But he still took a step back and let the computers and technology be the stars at every unveiling.

Despite his high profile, collectors need to do a little legwork to build a Steve Jobs collection. His autographs are extremely rare, he had but one trading card from an obscure set and he wouldn't lend his image to other licensed products. Here is a guide to some of the Jobs collectibles you can find and what to look for to make sure the items are authentic and complete.

Steve Jobs Trading Cards

Do you have a Steve Jobs rookie card? Probably not. He has appeared in just one card set. Entrepreneur Heroes was created by Toronto entrepreneur Evan Carmichael. He invited more than 30 popular business bloggers to select one of their own personal heroes for a card. Jobs is the second card on the checklist. He also appeared on a second gold-bordered card that was only available as a pre-sale incentive. People who bought five packs or more before the set's release received either the special Jobs card or one of Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak.

The set was originally released in the first half of 2010 but packs of five cards can still be purchased here. The minimum order is three packs. All proceeds from the sale of the cards go to Kiva to offer micro-loans to entrepreneurs in Africa.

Single copies of either of the Jobs cards have been offered over the last several months.

Steve Job Autographs

One thing that Jobs didn't do a lot of was signing autographs. Even before his passing, Jobs' signature was one of the most valuable in the industry. Last week, the first issue of MacWorld magazine signed by Jobs and fellow Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak didn't meet its reserve after bidding soared past $1400. This auction aside, there's not a lot of historical data to draw from. In 2003, another MacWorld magazine signed by Jobs saw bids reach $2,274, but, again, failed to reach the reserve. Granted, there is some significance in the magazine itself, but not a couple thousand dollars worth.

Because Jobs' autographs are so rare and valuable, collectors must be careful if they have an opportunity to buy one. Professional authentication would be highly recommended before making any purchase.

Collectors also need to be aware of the fine print that's in many auctions. Do a search on eBay for Steve Jobs autographs and you'll likely turn up a handful of results. Look a little closer. If the seller's on the up-and-up, they'll include "reprint" in the title. Others aren't so straight forward and bury the fact that what they're selling is just a picture they've printed off their Lexmark that happens to have a copy of Jobs' autograph. Immediately following Jobs' passing, one such reprint autographed photo saw bidding soar towards $4,000. Beware that these reprint photographs should carry no collectible value. Those that wish to buy one should do so simply to enjoy it rather than expect it to gain value.



As the head of one of the world's most recognizable brands, Jobs has appeared on the cover of many magazines. The most appropriate one is the previously mentioned premier issue of MacWorld. Published in 1984, the cover pictures a young Jobs standing over three newly unveiled Macintosh computers. Although a couple sold for more than $300 immediately after his passing was reported, others are available for $250.

Expect to spend around $200 for the February 15, 1982 issue of TIME, which features an illustration of Jobs with the caption, "Striking It Rich: America's Risk Takers." He also appeared on the cover April 12, 2010 with a more classic portrait and the promise of a couple of issues about both Jobs and the iPad.

Other notable magazines with Jobs on the cover include:

  • Fortune - 2/7/1983
  • Fortune - 8/5/1985
  • Business Week - 10/24/1988
  • News Week - 10/24/1988
  • Business Week - 8/18/1997
  • TIME - 8/18/1997
  • TIME - 10/18/1999
  • TIME - 1/14/2002
  • TIME - 10/24/2005
  • Fortune - 12/1/2008
  • Fortune - 11/2009
  • The Economist - 2/5/2010
  • Wired UK - 6/2011

Issues that have stories about Jobs, but he's not on the cover:

  • Rolling Stone - 3/1/1984
  • Playboy - 2/1985
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Computers and Tech

Let's not forget where Jobs made his greatest mark. Those old computers that you used to program on and play simple games, they can be worth a bunch. Last month, an Apple IIc from 1984 went for $2,500. An original Macintosh M0001 running at a whopping 128K went for $1,250. In the coming years, early generation iPods and iPhones could also find themselves in demand on the secondary market.

When buying computers, things to consider include the model, whether it has all the proper cables, cords and manuals, and if the box is included. Of course, a working computer carries much more value than one that's little more than an ornament.

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Odds and Ends

Here is a handful of other Steve Jobs collectibles available:

A 1980 Apple Stock Prospectus closed on October 2 at $376.

M.I.C. collectibles marketed a Steve Jobs action figure last November, but Apple quickly shut them down. M.I.C. tried to bring the figure back, this time as a ninja mask-wearing CEO of a company called Pineapple. Apple saw through the mask and, again, caused them to stop. That hasn't stopped some of the highly detailed toys from being offered online.

For those who might not want to go for the whole figure, there are also many Steve Jobs doll heads listed that can be used for custom figures.

Collectibles Gallery:

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Ryan Cracknell

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Ryan is a former member of The Cardboard Connection Writing Staff.   His collecting origins began with winter bike rides to the corner store, tossing a couple of quarters onto the counter and peddling home with a couple packs of O-Pee-Chee hockey in his pocket. Today, he continues to build sets, go after inserts with cool technologies, chase Montreal Expos and finish off his John Jaha master collection.

User Comments

  1. By Rex Altree, CEO

    Please pick the three quotes you like best, then email me the corresponding numbers of your 3 favorite Jobs quotes I’ll keep track and let you know what the top three ended up being. I’m putting together a framed Steve Job memorabilia piece with some pictures and few magazine covers that he was on like Time, Rolling Stone, Newsweek and Fortune. I also have a real, authentic, Steve Jobs signature. I’ll Engrave the three best quotes on a plaque for the piece. This is for my office and not for sale or profit. Thx for your help, Rex

    Steve Jobs Quotes
    1. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

    2. Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.

    3. . almost everything all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

    4. I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.
    Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.

    5. Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.

    6. Why join the navy if you can be a pirate?

    7. Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.

    8. focus the spotlight on products, because products really make a difference. You can’t con people in this business. The products speak for themselves.”

    9. “That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.

    10. “Picasso had a saying: ‘Good artists copy, great artists steal.’ We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.

    11. “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

    12. “Remembering that we’ll all be dead too soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. … Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

    13. “My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.”

    14. We’ve gone through the operating system and looked at everything and asked how can we simplify this and make it more powerful at the same time.

    15. My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better.

    16. We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and everyone should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it.

    17. Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.

    18. Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?

  2. Apple Bell

    In 1985 at the Houston TX computer and electronics show, it was the time Microsoft was developing integrated packages for Apple Mac.
    I had bought a small company in Brownsville TX that had developed such a package, I had dinner with Bill Gates (I don’t know if they remember), ultimately we were not selected for further development, but I was awarded an Apple Bronze Bell from Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and John Scully.

    I would like to find out what type of value this may have?

    I have a picture that I can send (it won’t attach here).

  3. Check out my rookie card on ebay i just found it a few days ago mint condition.

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