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Rare sealed Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh appears on Ebay

updated 05:30 am EDT, Mon March 28, 2011

Machine has never been opened or used

(Updated info on boxes and shipping) A rare, never-used and still-in-box Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh, designed by present-day Apple design head Jonathan Ive, has turned up on Ebay for auction. The unit is one of the 11,601 machines sold to customers outside Apple. The accessories and keyboard boxes have been opened for inspection, but all components are still in their original packaging.

Originally introduced in 1997 at a cost of $7,500, the computer exemplified the concepts and philosophy that would dominate Apple's future design aesthetic under returning CEO Steve Jobs. There is considerable emphasis on the unusually-vertically-oriented, thin all-in-one design, as well as a vertically-mounted optical drive, an exceptionally high-quality sound system, a detachable trackpad rather than a mouse, high-quality and luxurious fit and finish and an active-maxtrix LCD screen, the best of its kind at the time.

The industrial design won raves even as consumers booed the price, which soon dropped to about half its original listing and then eventually to under $2,000 before ending the limited production run. While the look and sound was exceptional for the time, the internals were mostly standard, off-the-shelf parts that represented little if any real advancement over cheaper desktop Macs, and was aimed mainly at executive and wealthy customers. Quite a few units suffered from audio buzzing until a fix was finally devised, about a year after release.

The TAM, as it has come to be called, cannot be upgraded to run OS X and can only natively go as high as Mac OS 9.1, but many are still in use, most thanks to later G3 upgrade options made by third-party companies. The unit on auction's only indication of the passage of nearly 20 years time is that the original batteries have expanded (but are not leaking, according to the owner). The unit is currently located in Keller, Texas and the auction notes that shipping the unit will run $35 in the US or more overseas.

Although all components and a full set of accessories as part of the package are still in their original containers, the unit is being sold "as-is" since no testing can be done on it. As of early Monday morning, only a couple of dozen people had viewed the auction, and the bidding price (with no minimum set) was $28.13.

by MacNN Staff




  1. macjockey

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Too many hidden problems.

    What about the insides of the computer? The logic board could be all corroded because the PRAM battery leaked.

  1. facebook_Pete

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Mar 2011


    Ebay bidding price update

    The bidding price is now at 800 as of now at 8:19 am Monday. With too many problems this is a very high bid.

  1. OkieDoc

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Must have changed the shipping. It's at US$35

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969



    For a product with a nice sound system, it's also worth noting that this is probably not fast enough to decode and play MP3 files. This is a nice find for a collector, but unfortunately, it was too underpowered (it was low-end even in its day) to use today.

  1. Tummy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not "never used"

    I have one. Apple did not pack the keyboard with a rubber band.

    I actually still use our to watch TV, it has a built in tv tuner, and play MP3s. The built in speakers are by Bose and sound really good.

  1. herojig

    Joined: Dec 1969


    video more interesting then the machine

    what a bit of historical record. plastic sprayed with metallic paint seems so olden days now...thx for the laugh and trip back in time.

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    May not even work


  1. ethical_paul

    Joined: Dec 1969


    So what if it doesn't run?

    You don't buy this to actually use it. Seinfeld never used his and it wasn't even a collectors' item then!

    What, are you worried you won't be able to do your taxes on it?

  1. bigapplefan

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Don't know why there are so many people being negative about someone selling something that is unquestionably a piece of Apple history. I have a TAM, and yes, the cord for the keyboard did have a rubber band around it, I still have that rubber band in my keyboard box. The machines are wonderful as MP3 jukeboxes and the suggestion that these machines can't play or decode MP3's is ridiculous. Apple introduced iTunes back in 2001 and it only required Mac OS 9.04, the TAM's can be upgraded to 9.1. I have the Sonnet G3 upgrade on mine and run OS X 10.2 on it.

    I would recommend whoever ends up winning the TAM that they upgrade the HD. The 2 gigs that comes with the machine is quite inadequate by today's standards, had to upgrade mine to a 40GB to get all of my MP3's in one spot.

  1. CmdrGampu

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Agreed with ethical_paul

    Whoever's buying this isn't looking for a computer to use. They want a collector's item. They will not upgrade it or open it or even care if it'll fire up. You wouldn't buy a mint condition, bagged Action Comics #1 to read it.

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