Typewriter Talk

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14-1-2018 09:09:49  #21

Re: Are prices going up?

I've noticed  that in the very short time I've been collecting (just started the last quarter of 2017) it seems the prices for auctions end at even higher prices than when I started, generally speaking. I got some OK (not stellar deals) on my machines, but some recent ones I have been looking at, the bids are already higher than my comfort zone by quite a bit.

I have a few good gems, so I'm in no rush to pick up for more for high prices. I really very much want a late 50s Royal Quiet Deluxe but they seem to go for extremely high prices. I went quite bit over my max budget and tried to snipe one an auction at the last few seconds and I got spanked. My max bid was not even close to the final selling price. So it looks like I'm going to have to be patient and hope to find one in somebody's attic 

Moving forward, I just need to be patient, look locally, and not rely on online auctions. Sometimes even good deals on auctions are not such a dal by the time you pay for shipping.


02-2-2018 06:54:16  #22

Re: Are prices going up?

I've been collecting a very short time but I've noticed an interesting trend. I like to use Facebook Marketplace to look for deals (it will notify you if something matching your search has been posted) and there seems to be a growing trend of "idealists" posting machines for sale. They find a typewriter in mom's basement and go on to ebay to see what they are selling for and post for the same price. I've seen people posting typewriters that are clearly dirty and banged up for hundreds of dollars because they saw a couple of pristine machines on ebay selling for that. I'm waiting to get my hands on a smith-corona clipper that a person posted but didn't know anything about. They didn't want to take my offer of $75 until they checked at an antique shop because they saw it on ebay for much more. Most of the machines I snag are $40 or below and just need a good cleaning. End Rant...


02-2-2018 07:55:50  #23

Re: Are prices going up?

I agree, I bought a couple for myself and my son saw them and wanted one, but the price in the meantime doubled :o! Naively I didn’t think that there was much demand.  I think ebay inflates the price, when you sell something on ebay I recall it suggests a price,’something similar sold for’ but perhaps it does not differentiate between the ones in good condition, the more popular colours, or the collector’s pieces? so everyone asks more.

I also bought one machine and collected it, the collection only ones seem to go for much less too, no one else placed a bid. I haven’t seen many I like locally though, so I went on a typewriter daytrip.

I wonder when the car boot sale season starts the supply will outstrip demand again. I noticed that with my sewing machines, in spring/summer there was definitely more choice, and spare parts cost less typewriter economics might be similar.


02-2-2018 08:35:58  #24

Re: Are prices going up?

Badger wrote:

I wonder when the car boot sale season starts the supply will outstrip demand again. I noticed that with my sewing machines, in spring/summer there was definitely more choice, and spare parts cost less typewriter economics might be similar.

I have noticed a similar trend in typewriters. Even though I've started finding fewer of them at local garage sales, people must still be stumbling across them when they gather stuff for sale because I do find better prices online in spring and summer. Just a couple more months.

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. -- Ernest Hemingway

20-3-2018 07:01:11  #25

Re: Are prices going up?

I'm new here, but I've been into collecting typewriters, and other antiques for a while now 

I would say that it depends on what your frame of reference is. I first became interested in typewriters around the early 2000's, and prices have definitely gone up a lot since then. It also seems a lot harder to find them now. Back in the early 2000's, I remember practically tripping over old manual typewriters every time I went into a thrift shop or antique store. There were always a few of them sitting on the floor or in a corner somewhere. They were pretty much dirt cheap - around $20 or $30 was typical, and that was for one that was in good condition with some minor issues (sticking keys, just needing cleaning). But now a typewriter in the same condition will sell for around $60 at least. For $20-30 now, you'll often find a grimey rust bucket that will need a lot of thorough cleaning to get it working and decent looking. For a fully working typewriter in nice cosmetic condition, they sell for more like $80 now. At least that's been my experience where I live in California. Antique typewriters are getting harder to find, and are more expensive.

It does kind of go up and down, of course. There have been times where I come across a lot of them or get lucky and find one for cheap. But it's still nothing like it was 10-15 years ago.

I think there definitely is a "hipster pricing" thing going on too though. Whenever hipsters discover something antique that they were never interested in before, they buy and sell them at insane prices for bragging rights. I remember when prices for vintage cameras suddenly skyrocketed because people who had no interest in film photography before suddenly decided that now they HAD to have an Argus to sit on a shelf and look cool and "retro." 


20-3-2018 09:54:09  #26

Re: Are prices going up?

100% on the hip$ter pricing. But do the worry, thing from the 90s are gonna be more popular soon and Gameboys are gonna cost half your paycheck.

     Thread Starter

21-3-2018 00:39:10  #27

Re: Are prices going up?

I don't think hipsters are driving the demand or the pricing. I have sold many typewriters locally and I am not sure if any of the buyers would qualify as hipsters. "Hipsters" might buy typewriters, and be visible users of typewriters, but they are a sliver of overall typewriter buyers. If anything, the demographic skews more nerdy than hip, and that is still a generalization.

California Typewriter, Tom Hanks, and holiday shopping drove an unusually high demand in the last part of 2017; but the unsold listings on eBay are starting to pile up again, and I am seeing the supply return at antique stores, vintage shops, and classifieds. Barring an economic downturn, I would expect typewriters to gradually grow in price, but I think the recent spike should wane a bit.


21-3-2018 08:36:20  #28

Re: Are prices going up?

Here in Brazil the situation is quite different. First of all, all typewriters from Germany and the USA were imported, so they weren't cheap at all. Unless you get really lucky, it's really hard to find Olympias, Remingtons, Smith-Coronas, etc, under R$200 (about $60). We don't have Torpedos, Hermes are rare. I got a Reminton 5 De Luxe in great conditions for R$200, while most people sell this machine here for R$400 or even R$ 600. On the other hand, since we had an Olivetti plant in São Paulo and another one in Mexico, it is really easy to find Letteras 22 and 32 and the Studio 44 for about R$ 100 ($30). It's interesting to note that here in Brazil we don't have the kind of typewriter revival that we see in the USA. Plus, here the local markets are pratically inexistent. All is bought on the internet. The local antique shops overprice a lot typewriters in terrible conditions. We don't have craig's list or anything like that. The internet is the best way. You have to be lucky, smart and bargain. I'm not even talking about standard machines. Standards in real bad conditions are sold here for R$500 ($150), while the good ones costs around R$1000-1500. That's why I don't even interested myself in this kind of machine.


21-3-2018 13:13:06  #29

Re: Are prices going up?

SoucekFan wrote:

California Typewriter, Tom Hanks, and holiday shopping drove an unusually high demand in the last part of 2017...

​I can only speak for my own corner of the world, but I think you're overestimating the reach and influence of the film. I don't know anyone who has seen it - I haven't either - and suspect that it really only appealed to those who were already invested in the typewriter culture. And as for the non-enthusiasts who might have seen the film and were actually compelled to buy a machine of their own, their numbers are so small that they didn't have any impact on local pricing.

​In our online monkey-see-monkey-do world it sometimes only takes one person to list a machine at a ridiculous price, either because they don't know anything about typewriters or they're being overly hopeful, to cause a pricing ripple effect. When I ask sellers about how they came up with their asking price most say the same thing, that they checked eBay or some other online source and figured if others were asking $200 for a typewriter they should too. Professional sellers set prices to sell, and are based on their customers, which is why an antique shop will ask $150 for a rusted-solid Underwood 5 to accessorize a $2,000 bookcase, and why the same machine will be $30 at a flea market filled with bargain hunters.  

"To save time is to lengthen life."

21-3-2018 17:51:37  #30

Re: Are prices going up?

I agree that eBay being used as a reference for pricing vintage goods is the primary mechanism, especially when people don't understand the nuances of an item or the difference between asking and realized price. I do however think that Hanks, and the movie, did influence the more recent spike, at least in the US. It was just a bump, and it could not happen without the eBay effect you described, but I do think it had an effect from about August through December, especially on Smith-Corona prices.


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