A group of friends auctioned Steve Jobs' 1973 job application in both print and NFT form to see which one people wanted more. The answer was resoundingly clear.

A group of friends auctioned Steve Jobs' 1973 job application in both print and NFT form to see which one people wanted more. The answer was resoundingly clear.
Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  • Winthorpe Ventures ran what it believes is the world's first physical-versus-NFT auction.
  • It offered Steve Jobs' 1973 job application in print and NFT versions to see which had more value.
  • Print was the clear winner, with a highest bid more than 10 times that of the NFT version.

A 1973 job application from late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs has changed hands at several auctions in recent years.

This time is different.

A group of friends calling themselves Winthorpe Ventures set out to answer a question when they held the most recent auction of Jobs' application: Is it more valuable in its original print form or as an NFT?

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The group offered the application in both versions in the auction, which they believe is the first in the world to pit the physical and NFT mediums against each other. Bidding for the print form was done in dollars and bidding for the NFT was done in Ethereum.

"Non-fungible tokens have dominated the art and collectibles sphere for months, but there is a debate around whether they represent real value, with doubts on whether they will stand the test of time against traditional physical assets," the organizers wrote on the auction's website. "By putting the NFT and original physical job application up for auction simultaneously, the sale will test the appetite for digital assets in contrast with physical equivalents. This first-of-its-kind auction will challenge the notion of value in the physical and digital world. The result of the auction will show if true value can be embodied in both or whether one medium is leading the way."


When the auction ended Wednesday, they got a very clear answer to their question. The original physical copy of the application generated four times as many bids as the NFT version. The highest bid for the print application was $343,000, which is more than 10 times the top bid of the NFT version - and well above the print version's first auction sale of $18,750 in 2017.

Olly Joshi, the auction's founder, said it was "fascinating" to see the auction play out.

"This was a social experiment and we put the power in the pockets of the public," he said in a statement to Insider. "The results clearly show that, on this occasion, people felt the physical job application held more value than its digital counterpart. It will be interesting to see if the perception of the value of digital assets shifts in the near future, and whether it's time we think differently."

Read more: I worked at Pixar for more than 13 years and had to pitch Steve Jobs directly. Here's what the intense process was like and what it taught me about business.

Regardless of its medium, the job application shows the former tech CEO applying for a role - it's still unknown exactly where - just three years before he would go on to start Apple with cofounder Steve Wozniak. He lists his address as Reed College and major as English literature, noting that he has no phone number. Under a section called special abilities, Jobs wrote "electronics tech or design engineer," adding that he is "from Bay near Hewlett-Packard."


A portion of profits from the auction will be donated to the nonprofits Cancer Research Institute and One Laptop Per Child, according to the auction's website.