If you’re a Steve Jobs fan, you can soon own a signed, handwritten letter penned by the late Apple co-founder at age 18. But it won’t come cheap.
British auction house Bonhams is set to auction off the letter, which Jobs wrote to his childhood friend Tim Brown, on Nov. 3. The auction house expects the one-page note — which features Jobs’ thoughts on Zen Buddhism and his plans to travel to India to attend the Kumbh Mela, a Hindu pilgrimage and religious festival — to fetch between $200,000 and $300,000.
The letter is dated Feb. 23, 1974, just a day before Jobs’ 19th birthday and more than two years before Jobs and Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple. Bonhams describes the collectible as the first-ever handwritten letter by Steve Jobs to be sold at auction.
Jobs begins the letter by responding to some previous correspondence from Brown, writing in all lower-case: “tim i have read your letter many times / i do not know what to say. many mornings have come and gone / people have came and went / i have loved and i have cried many times. / somehow, though, beneath it all it doesn’t change — do you understand?”
Brown and Jobs attended Homestead High School together in Cupertino, California, where Apple is now headquartered. The two friends kept in touch throughout their lives until Jobs’ death in 2011, according to Brown’s LinkedIn profile.
In the letter, Jobs explained to Brown that he was saving his money for a trip to India. Jobs famously spent seven months in India later that year, seeking spiritual enlightenment, before returning to Silicon Valley with a shaved head in the style of a Buddhist monk.
Around the same time, Jobs began regularly meditating and experimenting with psychedelic drugs. The Apple co-founder later told biographer Walter Isaacson that psychedelics “reinforced my sense of what was important — creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could.”
Jobs ended his letter to Brown by writing, “i will end by saying i do not even know where to begin.” He then signed off with the term “shanti,” which means “peace” in Sanskrit, before signing his name at the bottom of the page.
“This letter gives us a fascinating insight into the mental processes of one of the world’s greatest creators and entrepreneurs,” Adam Stackhouse, director of Bonhams’ history of science and technology business, said in a statement last week. “No autograph letters from Jobs have appeared at auction before, and certainly no material as revealing and insightful as this.”