The seller was not revealed. The auction house said the document used to be in the collection of Springsteen's former manager, Mike Appel.
Sotheby's said most of the lines in this 1974 version, written in Long Branch, N.J., are apparently unpublished and unrecorded, but the manuscript does include "a nearly perfected chorus."
Springsteen's thought process, written in blue ink on an 8 1/2-by-11 sheet of ruled notepaper, looks like this:
"This town'll rip the (out your) bones from yourback / it's a suicide trap (rap) (it's a trap to catchthe young) your dead unless / you get out (we gotto) while your young so (come on! / with) take myhand cause tramps / like us baby we were born to run."
"The imagery and tone are constant from the present manuscript to the final song," the auctioneer said.
There are also some words in the margins: "Wild" and "Angels" and a word that looks like "velocity," with the letter "t" in Springsteen's curlicue cursive.
"Although Springsteen is known to have an intensive drafting process, few manuscripts of 'Born to Run' are available, with the present example being one of only two identified that include the most famous lines in the song," Sotheby's said.
The document will be part of a Manhattan sale of fine books and manuscripts.