A couple of galahs take a close look at the carriage of an old typewriter.
Do you think they know what they're looking for?
Still, as autumn fades and winter takes its chilly hold on the country, hope springs eternal with some sellers. And why not?
This common or garden plastic Adler Tippa S is listed for $225, the equally readily available Valentine for $370. No bidders yet, but give ‘em time …
After all, someone paid $52 for this Nakajima Kmart – and believe it or believe it not, there were 35 bids!
But wait, folks, it gets better: There were 25 bids for this Nippo Atlas, and the buyer forked out $170.50 for it. Yes, you read that right - $170.50!!! For a Nippo!!! Oh what fun …
For around that same amount of money, a more discerning buyer might have got an Alpina ($180), or a Corona 3 ($165) in great condition, from a reliable seller. But no, they were both passed in. And yet a Corona 3 in similar condition attracted 32 bids and sold for $360. A Remington Model 1 portable sold for $167.50 after 16 bids, yet a Remington Model 5 enticed 24 bids and sold for $325. A lovely burgundy Smith-Corona 1930s portable got 23 bids and also sold for $325. And two Smith-Premier No 1s came up for sale, one (top) fetching $122.50 after 17 bids while the other (bottom) got $310.70. I doubt there was very much difference between them in condition, they both have a lot paint missing and are well rusted.
Same goes for Adler Contessas, some of which continue to sell for silly prices. But while one (top) only reached a realistic $31 after four bids, five days earlier the other (bottom) fetched a nonsensical $252.49 after eight bids. Where's the difference? It’s hard to fathom …
Just as ridiculous as the Nippo sale, if not more so, were the 20 bids and the $123.50 paid for this orange Brother 210. At least the Nippos are a little hard to find. Kidding someone into handing over 123 of their hard-earned dollars for a Brother 210 takes some imaginative marketing, and one certainly has to doff one’s cap to this seller:
“atomic VINTAGE retro INDUSTRIAL ORANGE metal BROTHER TYPEWRITER. FuNkY … RETRO … ATOMIC. BROTHER all metal Typewriter. Circa: 1970s. The Brother 210 typewriter is such a fantastic ORANGE colour [Did it come, in its tens of thousands, in any other colour?]. Every key works perfectly and it looks FuNkY on display ... just love how the casing is ALL METAL - very industrial! Complete with the 2-in-1 Black and Red ribbon and changing colour is just simply flicking the switch! In very good/excellent condition, this typewriter is strong in colour and works perfectly. The ribbon although strong in colour may soon need replacing as it seems a little dry and rides up a little when typed. Love the shape of the keys - they are the classic square boxed in rich black.”
OK, just putting aside the BS about funky and atomic, the colour, the case and the keys for one moment … let’s read that again: “The ribbon, although strong in colour, may soon need replacing, as it seems a little dry and rides up a little when typed.” So, are we to believe this seller is suggesting that by replacing the ribbon, the buyer might be able to solve what is obviously a problem with the ribbon vibrator, or the machine’s alignment? Please …
But my favourite was the seller who listed what rusty bits remained of an Olivetti Studio 44 as “a great doorstop”. “Vintage typewriter,” was the listing description, “Completely seized and unrestorable, but would make a great doorstop (weighs a ton!) or salvage parts.” Fair enough, except you had to go pick it up. I wonder if the seller was just trying to save him or herself the infinitesimal cost of taking it to the dump. If so, it didn’t work … the item didn’t sell, even at 99 cents.
What did work, staggeringly, was listing this Remington Envoy III series portable as a “Beautiful Vintage Navy Blue Typewriter”. WITHOUT A RIBBON COVER! “Perfect Condition. With original carry portable case.” Yeah, but where’s the original ribbon cover? “Add a little nostalgia to your life!” Yes, nostalgia for a ribbon cover! The seller was asked one question: “Just wondering if all the keys still work? Or if any keys stick? Does the ribbon need replacing?” What about the ribbon cover??? It sold, after nine bids, for $44. Financial crisis, what financial crisis? Here’s a lazy 44 bucks for some bits of an incomplete typewriter …
Of course, “Eames” and “atomic” are still working, even though they don’t mean a damned thing in relation to typewriters (or much else, for that matter). In fact, with this red Torpedo portable, they are a complete deception. Still, the machine sold for $255.
This Yöst No 10 sold for $130 after 26 bids.
The Archo went for a mere $95.58 after 16 bids.
And a shed full of a job lot of 10 typewriters got to $73 after four bids.
Stay tuned for more upside-down typewriter buying in a Land Down Under.
Where we all type like this: