How I Came to Own and Sell a TAM Probably Owned by Jony Ive

Come one! Come all! Gather 'round and hear the tale of how I came own and sell a Mac that was probably owned by Jony Ive back in the day.

This story starts several years ago. I want to say 2004, but I don't remember for sure. A friend of a friend worked at Apple, and he heard I was looking for a TAM. That's a Twentieth Anniversary Mac*, a 1997 beauty that is still striking today, 17 years later.

TAM Setup

Still Looks Amazing Today

Turns out that friend of a friend had another friend at Apple with two TAMs he was looking to sell. I immediately asked the friend of a friend to hook me up. My plan was to snag both TAMs, flip one at a profit, and set the other up in my imaginary Mac museum**.

So I drove to the guy's town home, the kind of place Silicon Valley excels at producing for the young gods of technology who call this place home. Fancy, in a minimalist kind of way. It had a loft, a nice kitchen, and plenty of open space.

Anyway, this person was either a designer or an engineer. Time had squished the memory to him being an engineer, but I think he must have been a designer. Why? Because he said that Jony Ive—now, Sir Jony Ive—gave him the TAMs.

"Cool!" I said to myself. Well, I also said it out loud, because it was totally cool. But I was trying not to lose my own cool and let this designgineer see how much I wanted them. Sir Jony—just Jony back then—was nowhere near as famous as he is today, but I thought it was super cool.

On the other hand, my new friend the designgineer couldn't prove Jony gave them to him, which meant I couldn't either. I believed him, though, and that was good enough.

I tend to procrastinate. By "tend to" I mean I am the poster child of procrastination. If you look up procrastination in the dictionary, you won't find any pictures because I never got around to going to the photo shoot the dictionary folks hired me to do.

So it took me years to get around to selling that second TAM, the one I was going to "flip." Of course, the price had declined on TAMs for one reason or another, so I only got what I paid for it—I think I lost $50, truth be told, and I had to deliver it myself, too—but gosh darnit, I sold it.

Of course, I never got around to setting up the one I kept, either. I mean, I tested it. I knew it ran, and it had all of the doodads and gadgets and accessories that came with the TAM, but more about that later. For now, we're getting to the point of my story.

TAM Accessories

All of the Accessories

Next: Moving, The Holy Grail of Tech Pedigree, and Those Amazing Pens

Page 2 - Moving, The Holy Grail of Tech Pedigree, and Those Amazing Pens


I'm in the process of moving. I'm in the new place, and all, but there's still stuff at the old place—it's a big rigmarole. The take away, however, is that I came to the realization that I should sell my TAM. It's been sitting in pristine boxes, un-set up, unappreciated, and unused. In that I'm trying to downsize in the first place, it was just time to sell it.

So, I get it out to set it up one more time. I needed better photographs for Ebay, plus I needed to be able to say truthfully that it works, which it does.

TAM Running

March, You Little Extensions, March!

And I'm rooting around on the hard drive for the first time. You know, just to see what came with this thing. Wow, Mac OS 7.6.1 looks so alien after so many years. But jeepers, it was fast. Still is fast, I mean, though it's doing so much less than today's OS X.

There was also this folder of stuff with a bunch of MacWrite II files in them. I double clicked one, and boom! What do I see on the licensing screen?

"Jonathan Ive"

What?!? Are you kidding me? I quit MacWrite II and relaunch it. Boom!

"Jonathan Ive"


And the license says, "Site License For Use Only By Employees of Apple Computer, Inc." See for yourself:

Jonathan Ive

Yep, Jonathan Ive

Holy smokes, this thing really was owned by Jonathan Ive! I really hadn't put much thought into because I had no proof, or so I thought. In my Ebay auction, I said, "That may or may not count as proof to you that it was owned by Sir Jony, but it made me (re)question my decision to sell it."

Which pretty much sums it up.

I doubt very much that Sir Jony spent a lot of time on this TAM. It's about as close to unused as is possible. The boxes are in great shape, all of the accessories are there.

In fact, check out this photo of the pens that came with this thing. No one has these pens anymore. I've never even seen them mentioned in a TAM auction. I not only have the two pens, they're both in the sealed original plastic wrap they came in! I even have the leather carrying case designed to hold both of them. These pens are frakking cool, and printed on them in gold ink is the Apple logo and "Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh."

That Pen!

Yeah, This Is Real

I almost kept the pens. I mean, wow. They're high quality writing instruments, and rare as heck. But in a moment of rare strength, I realized they needed to stay with this TAM.

I also have the remote (used for controlling the CD drive as a music player), the journal, the original six-color stickers, the two riser cards (sealed!!), the deep back for use with an accelerator card, and the registration card.

Even the boxes still look good:

TAM Boxes

TAM Boxes

That's how I wound up with a TAM that was probably owned by Jony Ive—that's Sir Jony Ive today. As of this writing, there are less than 27 hours to go on the auction. If you know someone who might be interested in a TAM with this pedigree, let them know about it. And tell them to bid early and bid often. :)

There are additional photos in the Ebay auction.

*Named for Apple's twentieth anniversary, not the Mac's, which was released in 1984.

**Otherwise known as my house.