Some very rare typewriters are coming up for auction in Melbourne, Australia, on Friday week, November 29.
What appears to be the remains of the Emeric Somlo Collection is being auctioned by Young's Auctions of 229 Camberwell Road, Hawthorn.
Auctioneer David Young let me know this morning about what is for Australia a most unusual event. Sewing machines from the collection are also being auctioned.
The catalogue has 200 lots and there are about 90 typewriters in it. You can download a PDF of the catalogue (6MB) from Young's home page here. Be wary of the price estimates, which in many cases seem quite bizarre (for example, a comparatively common Imperial B at the same price as a Pittsburg or a Postal! In this country? I don't think so.).
The online catalogue that has additional photos is here. It would appear many other very rare typewriters, including a Lambert, Pullman, Williams and Geniatus (perhaps from the same collection?) went up for auction last July 12.
Emeric Somlo was born in the western Romanian village of Dolat, near Timisoara, in 1923. He died in Melbourne on May 23 last year. After serving in both the German and Russian armies during World War II, he raced motorbikes in both speedway and motocross in Eastern Bloc countries. He migrated to Australia in 1965. One biographer, Rob Blackbourn, wrote, "Ultimately it was head injuries received in a race crash that ended his racing career and enabled him to get permission to leave for the West to get specialist medical treatment before migrating to Australia. Here Emeric worked as an expert locksmith who had keys and combinations to safes containing much private and corporate treasure; he could be seen daily doing his work rounds in Melbourne on an ES2 Norton. As well as keeping a few bikes in his shed, Emeric became a collector of old gramophones, radios, tools and the like. Buying trips were always undertaken on his bike of the day, often with [wife] Elaine perched behind him to keep him company. Her account of one such trip to Tasmania had me cracking up. With the buying done and with it being time to point the heavily-laden bike toward the ferry, everything was strapped on except a huge typewriter. Elaine, the ever supportive companion, spent the trip home with her arms around her man, gripping him between her elbows while her hands firmly kept a firm hold on the typewriter perched on the fuel-tank. But finally, then in his mid-80s, Emeric reluctantly hung up his helmet and sold his last bike, the T500. He still has the typewriter, though … "