Sotheby's is auctioning off a little piece of Apple history: an engineering memo penned by an unbearable teenage Steve Jobs before Apple even existed — the earliest known document the man produced.
The note, stamped with Jobs's home address and a Buddhist mantra — "gate gate paragate parasangate bodhi svahdl" — dates back to his tenure at Atari, where we know he was hated by his coworkers for his disregard for bathing and tendency to constantly insult everyone around him. The year was 1974, and Jobs was relegated to a night shift so that nobody would have to hear or smell him. But the letter, regarding a minute change to a football arcade game, is still kind of amazing: the product of a brain that hadn't yet turned into the tyrant-genius-prophet-bastard Jobs has been beatified as today.
Jobs hadn't yet thought of Apple, but he was only a couple years away from the start of a change in the world. If you've got $10,000 or so to make an early bid, have at it — though it'll probably take a hell of a lot more than that to take the thing home. It's not a terribly interesting piece of writing, but as far as artifacts go, there's something magical about a mundane handwritten thing — think of this as Picasso scribbling a reminder to himself to buy new paint. [Sotheby's]