On December 12, 1980, Apple became a public company when it launched its IPO. Shares were initially priced at $22, making a number of Apple employees, including a young Steve Jobs, instant millionaires.
The shares sold out almost immediately and the IPO generated more capital than any IPO since Ford Motor Company in 1956. Instantly, about 300 millionaires, some 40 of which are Apple employees and investors, are created. That is more millionaires than any company in history had produced at that time. Steve Jobs, the largest shareholder, made $217 million dollars alone.
Since then, shares of Apple have seen tremendous highs and lows. Shares of the company slightly eclipsed $700 back in September of 2012, a far cry from the sub-$5 levels the stock was at when Apple was on the brink of bankruptcy in 1997.
Accounting for stock splits (there have been three in Apple’s history), a lone share of Apple stock purchased in 1980 would today be worth $4502. If one purchased $1000 worth of Apple shares 33 years ago, that investment today would be worth $204,000. If one purchased $1000 worth of Apple shares in June of 1997, when shares were trading as low as $3.56 a share, that investment would today be worth $632,000.
One final factoid: today, the biggest tech IPO of all-time belongs to Facebook.