California, US – A pair of old, used Birkenstock sandals belonging to Apple founder Steve Jobs were auctioned for a record-breaking US$218,750 last week.
Julien’s Auctions, which conducted the auction, had expected the worn sandals to fetch between $60,000 and $80,000. The buyer was not named.
The grungy sandals were worn by Jobs in the 1970s and 80s and saved from the trash by Mark Sheff, a chef who managed one of the technologist’s properties in Albany, California, in the 1980s.
Jobs popularised the idea of tech executives wearing the same basic outfit in public appearances.
‘Steve Jobs wore these sandals during many pivotal moments in Apple’s history,’ the auction house said in the online listing. ‘In 1976, he hatched the beginnings of Apple computer in a Los Altos garage with Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak while occasionally wearing these sandals.’
According to the description on Julien’s Auctions: ‘The sandals have been a part of multiple exhibitions, including but not limited to Salone del Mobile in Milano, Italy in 2017, at the Birkenstock headquarters in Rahms, Germany in 2017, at Birkenstock’s first United States store in SoHo, New York, at IMM Koln, a furniture fair in Cologne, Germany, Zeit Event Berlin for the magazine Die Zeit in 2018, and most recently with the History Museum Wurttemberg in Stuttgart, Germany.
During this decade of his life, Jobs had a penchant for wearing Birks. He reportedly wore his tan Birkenstock sandals constantly – even during winter, his first girlfriend and mother of his child, Chrisann Brennan, told Vogue Germany in 2018.
“The sandals were part of his simple side. They were his uniform. The great thing about a uniform is that you don’t have to worry about what to wear in the morning,” Brennan told the magazine.
“That’s why Birkenstock sandals were so important to him.”