Three Steve Jobs business cards sell for $10,050

The cards sold over the weekend in a private-school auction. The winning bidder is the co-founder of an Australian startup creating a business-card sharing iPhone app.

Ben Fox Rubin Former senior reporter
Ben Fox Rubin was a senior reporter for CNET News in Manhattan, reporting on Amazon, e-commerce and mobile payments. He previously worked as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal and got his start at newspapers in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Ben Fox Rubin
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Steve Jobs' three business cards sell for $3,350 each. The Marin School

Even pieces of paper Steve Jobs touched can turn to gold.

Over the weekend, three of Steve Jobs' business cards sold at a private high school's auction for $10,050 -- the price of 15 new iPhones.

The Marin School, a 70-student school in San Rafael, Calif., put the cards on the auction block about a week ago as part of its annual gala and fundraiser.

The school confirmed Monday the winning bidder as Tim Knowles, CEO and co-founder of Stacks, an Australia-based startup that lets people share their business cards digitally through an iPhone app. The app is expected to launch later this year.

"We really admire what Steve Jobs has been able to do in a lifetime and it was for a great cause," Knowles said in an interview.

The business cards became the highest-selling item this year, raising twice as much as the next-highest offering -- a one-week stay at a five-bedroom vacation home in Hawaii. The cards drew 47 online and live bids from across the world.

"Our goal for the online auction was $10,000, so this one item got us to our goal," Sierra Antonio, the school's director of communications and special events, said in an interview last week. "We are over the moon."

A family whose child used to attend the school donated the cards, which span over Jobs' times as president of NeXT and as chairman of Apple and of Pixar. The family did catering for Jobs for years, Antonio said, and had no idea what the cards' value might be.

"It's kind of mind-blowing," Antonio said.

Along with being able to gain some press exposure for his startup, Knowles said he wanted the cards so he could frame and hang them in his company's office as an inspiration for their work. Knowles said he's collected hundreds of business cards in the past few years as he's developed Stacks and already got Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak's card in the past year.

When he saw a news story about the auction for Steve Jobs' cards, he said, "It's something I knew we had to get."

Updated, 12:02 p.m. PT: Added the winning bidder's information.