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Saturday 12 March 2011

(Record) Breaking Typewriter News from Down Under

What was quite probably an Australian eBay record for a typewriter sale was set tonight, Saturday, March 12th, when a bidder offered $1575 ($1597 US at the exchange rates at the time) for an Imperial Model B. There were only two bids for the item.

The Imperial which was sold has a serial number of 15858 and shift keys on both sides of the keyboard.
Using Herman Price’s definitive Chestnut Ridge Typewriter Museum website as a guide, this would make it a Model B. It looks very similar to the Model A, which Herman has in his collection, but as Herman points out, “It is easily distinguished from the Model B in two ways. The first difference is the fixed typebasket on the A. The model B typebasket is easily removed. The second difference is that the shift keys are on the left side only.” Herman’s Model A is seen here:
On the Imperial sold on Australian eBay tonight, it would seem certain there is a detachable typebasket (see photos below).
However, unlike the Imperial Model B I have in my own collection, the one sold tonight has a bare metal curved nameplate covering the typebasket, with an embossed brand name, instead of a black lacquer nameplate with decal. This makes the one sold tonight look a like more like the Model A. My machine (a similar one is seen below) also has the words "Model B" in a decal across the front of the typebasket.

The Imperial was listed with a starting price of $990. There were no bids until the 10th and final day of bidding, when an eBayer who has just 17 feedbacks bid $1550. This was beaten by an eBayer who has 413 feedbacks, with a winning bid 10 seconds left before the end of the auction.
To the best of my knowledge, the previous highest price paid for a typewriter on Australian eBay was about $1250. paid some three years ago for what purported to be a Swiss-made Calanda.
Minutes after the Imperial sold in Australia tonight, a Lambert sold in Barcelona for $650, less than half the price!


Richard P said...

It's a high price for that Imperial, I think. But the price for the Calanda is really amazing!

Robert Messenger said...

I agree wholehearteredly about the Imperial, Richard. I didn't think it would get one bid, let alone two of $1500! The Model B I have (it came from earthquake-prone Chrstchurch, through New Zealand's TradeMe) cost a fraction of that price. As for the Calanda, I suspect someone allowed themselves to be misled by Will's comment that "These are very hard machines to find. Few are in the hands of collectors." But the Calanda listed was not the model on Will's or Georg's websites. It looked more like a rebranded Antares.