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Steve Jobs document fetches $40K at auction

A signed legal agreement documenting a business venture between the Apple co-founder and his college friend Robert Friedland proves to be a hot item.

The black-and-white photo from 1976 shows Steve Jobs (right) with co-founder Steve Wozniak. In the foreground Jobs gives a talk in January 2010.
James Martin/CNET

It's not every day that someone throws down more than $40,000 for a short document, but that is exactly what Tristar Productions CEO Jeff Rosenberg did Thursday.

This was no ordinary document, however. It was a signed legal agreement between Steve Jobs and businessman Robert Friedland from August 17, 1978. The 8-page document was up for auction at RR Auction house and sold for $40,045.

"In 30 years of business we have only offered one other Jobs item -- a signature; this document, incredibly substantial and significant in its connection to a major figure in his life, is of the utmost rarity," RR Auction Vice President Bobby Livingston said in a statement.

Apparently, Jobs and Friedland were buddies during college -- where they both attended Reed College, took spiritual trips to India, and worked on Friedland's communal farm and apple orchard.

The document was a partnership agreement between Jobs and Friedland for a "place of business" in McMinnville, Ore.

"The partnership shall engage in the business of investments, including particularly but not being limited to real estate investments, and in such other business of a similar nature or related thereto as shall be agreed upon by the partners," the agreement reads.

It's unclear what became of this business venture between the two friends. Shortly after the deal, Jobs went on to great success with Apple computers. And Friedland became a very successful business tycoon in the mining industry; he is now a billionaire.

Apple relics and souvenirs have been known to make a killing at auctions around the world. In May, a still-working Apple 1 computer sold for $671,400 at an auction in Germany. And in July, another Apple 1 sold for $387,750 in an online Christie's auction -- this was the highest priced item ever sold in one of Christie's online-only auctions.

The signature page of the legal agreement between Steve Jobs and Robert Friedland. RR Auction