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Apple founding papers sold at auction for £1m

The typed partnership agreements between the founders of Apple sold at Sotheby's for more than 10 times their estimate.

They may be just pieces of paper, but these sheets formed the foundation of one of the world's most successful companies.

The documents, signed by co-founders Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne on 1 April 1976, sold at Sotheby's for $1,594,500 (£1.03m).

Eduardo Cisneros, chief executive at Miami-based Cisneros Corporation, bought the papers, the BBC reports, defeating five other bidders.

The man who sold the papers, Wade Saadi, originally bought them from Ronald Wayne in 1994 for "several thousand dollars". The papers show Wayne was paid $800 for handing back his 10 per cent stake in Apple when he returned to Atari, then later a further $1,500.

Wayne designed the original Apple logo and helped Jobs convince Wozniak to leave Hewlett Packard, but left 11 days later because he feared Apple would fail. And the rest, as they say, is history.

In the summer Apple overtook Exxon Mobil to become the most valuable US company. It had been second behind the oil giant for some time since leapfrogging Microsoft last May. It was also voted world's most valuable brand earlier this year.

Despite Apple's phenomenal success, Wayne doesn't regret his decision. Interviewed by the Telegraph last year, he said, "I felt the enterprise would be successful but at the same time there could be bumps along the way and I just couldn't risk it.

"Would I like to be rich? Everybody would like to be rich, but I couldn't keep up the pace. I would have been wealthy, but I would have been the richest man in the cemetery."

In 1993 Jobs told the Wall Street Journal: "Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me... Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful... that's what matters to me."