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Steve Jobs NFT – Auctioning His Job Application in the Physical & NFT Form

Ryan Cowdrey
3 min read
Steve Jobs NFT – Auctioning His Job Application in the Physical & NFT Form

Dubbed the first Physical vs. Digital auction, one of Steve Jobs’ job applications from when he was 18 years old is being put up for auction in both the paper form and the NFT form. The simultaneous auctions are meant to inspire a conversation and a new way of thinking about which form of “historical art” is viewed as more valuable.

The only problem: the paper copy has sold multiple times over the last couple of decades, most recently in March 2021 for over $232,000.

The physical job application has a precedent of value. Bidders know that other collectors value it at no less than $200k. What does the NFT version have to offer in terms of assurance?

Clearly, this conundrum shows in the current bid prices:

Steve Jobs NFT Auction Comparison
Steve Jobs NFT Auction Comparison

Granted, there’s a little less than 2 days remaining on the auction. Perhaps the NFT whales are waiting to swoop in and pick the digital copy up for a bargain. But that possibility is looking bleak.

This type of “versus” sale isn’t a bad thought. However, it needs more hype and media attention to work… A lesson they should’ve learned from the Basquiat Estate.

Other Attempts At DigiPhysical Sales

A similar stunt (with a slight twist) was attempted back in March by the owner of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s painting: Free Comb with Pagoda. The owner, along with digital provocateurs Daystrom, scanned and listed the painting in the form of an NFT.

Free Comb with Pagoda by Jean-Michel Basquiat
Free Comb with Pagoda by Jean-Michel Basquiat

The winning bidder of the auction would then be given the option to burn the physical painting in order to solidify the value of the only digital copy.

After a couple of days of no bids (and apparently outrage on social media, although I saw none of it), the Basquiat Estate ordered them to take the piece down, as they didn’t have the rights to distribute the painting in that way.

Had the NFT had bids nearing 100 ETH, I think it would’ve been a different story (considering the painting was valued at around $80,000).

This exact stunt worked for Banksy, whose $95,000 painting called Original Banksy Morons was sold for over 228 ETH (approx. $550k) – ranking it #92 the list of Top 100 NFT Sales of All Time.

Clearly, there’s an opportunity for these physical-digital juxtaposed sales. But the narrative has to fit the art and the artist.

Damien Hirst Flipped the DigiPhysical Format

Damien Hirst is in the process of doing the same thing with his 10,000 edition NFT project called The Currency. The NFT contract gives owners one year to decide whether they want to burn the physical and keep the NFT, or burn the NFT and keep the physical.

The Currency by Damien Hirst
The Currency by Damien Hirst

All 10,000 unique editions of The Currency have already been purchased. So it’ll be interesting to hear the update a year from now on whether more physicals or digitals remain.

In a seemingly crowded NFT market, it’s important to understand how you can use marketing tactics in your favor to stand out.

The NFT Handbook has dedicated an entire chapter to looking at NFT marketing case studies and parlaying proper strategies for a successful NFT drop.

You can get your copy of The NFT Handbook here:

07.28.21 Update: Final auction results of the Steve Jobs Physical vs. Digital auction are – Physical version sells for $343,000. NFT version sells for 10.1 ETH (approx. $23,000).