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Friday, 5 June 2015

The One That Got Away

If I ever buy one more typewriter, which is extremely unlikely given my present financial constraints, it will be an Underwood 5 standard in very good condition. And that will be the last typewriter I will probably ever buy. I got a bit excited some weeks back when Rowan Henderson, who curated my exhibition at the Canberra Museum and Gallery a few years ago, alerted me to some old government office equipment being auctioned online right here in Canberra. For one thing, winning a typewriter auction locally would have saved me a lot of worry, expense and hassle. Rohan, remembering that an Underwood 5 was the one remaining typewriter on my wish list, made particular mention of this item. So I went over to the auction house in Fyshwick and had a good close look at it. I thought it looked to be in reasonable condition. There were clear signs of rust, but it seemed worth bidding on if I could get it for the right price (though even then I'd be pushing the limits of my tight budget). The auction ended last night and the Underwood 5 went for a ridiculous $255, more than twice what I would have paid for it. The auction house also sold this super wide carriage Remington 12 and an L.C.Smith Super Speed with a 14-inch carriage.
The latter also went for a grossly over-inflated price, away above $100. Crazy! Yesterday I had a museum in Gippsland, Victoria, ask me what figure it should put on a Remington 7 for insurance purposes. They wanted to value it at $500!
Ah well, maybe another day for my Underwood 5 ... Meanwhile, my collection of "must keep" typewriters has come down to a much more manageable 53, of which 15 are Blickensderfers. But there's always room for just one more, one last "must have". I once owned more than 900 typewriters.

3 comments:

Bill M said...

Talk about Ebay prices! I've seen that happen with many items, not only typewriters, at local sales and auctions.

Anonymous said...

Well, about inflated prices I think the problem is there are now more collectors, looking for,the same machines as others in good condition, and it does keep prices rising. For example, in Ebay now it is really hard to get less common pre-war typewriters for a good price, the prices are just skyrocketing...

And I am not even talking about very common post-war typewriters, which are also rising in price, especially if in good condition....

Donald Lampert said...

I do see Underwood 5's for well over $100. - up to $265. Crazy to me, but then I've gotten mine fairly cheaply - $50 - 65.
That's what happens when we let the world know that typewriters are collectable, cool, and in demand..... we end up paying for it!
Wish you were closer Robert, I'd send you one of mine!!