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18-4-2016 15:42:33  #1

Toronto Area Market Reports

Toronto Area Market Report:
Roadshow Antiques South (Pickering, Ontario) 17-Apr-2016

I had never visited Roadshow Antiques South, but since I was familiar with their north location in Barrie, Ontario, I thought that it might be worth a look. As it turned out, I enjoyed the time spent browsing through the many booths and display cases that make up the market and was tempted by a few non-typewriter items, but in the end there wasn't really anything of interest to me. The typewrites I came across were mostly overpriced, and those that were more reasonable either had issues or were just simply undesirable models.

With these types of antique markets that are densely packed with items it's surprisingly easy to miss a typewriter. A couple that I found were in closed cases while others were practically buried in antique flotsam. It takes patience and an eagle eye to find them all, two attributes that I'm not known for, but I did manage to find over a dozen models. I will apologize in advance for the poor quality of the photos: I should have taken a proper camera with me instead of using the one built into my phone, which was challenged by the lighting conditions and the glass that some of the machines were behind.

The first photo shows what turned out to be a common theme for the day: Some twit must have gone around and pounded the keyboard of every machine he could find to cause these massive typebar jams that most typewriters had. I couldn't help myself from carefully picking them apart. Poor machines, they certainly deserve better...

The first find was a Smith-Corona Coronamatic 2200. I don't recall the price, but given that I'm not interested in later model electrics, especially not the ones with those pesky proprietary cartridges, I didn't look at it very closely.

When it rains it pours: If you're into the Coronamatic 2200, you would have had a choice here. This one had a mangled paper bail but otherwise seemed very clean.

It was beginning to seem that Smith-Corona electric typewriters were raised on farms in the area. Here's a Coronet Automatic 12 that was priced at $50 CAD.

And a wide carriage Electra 220. At least this model and the previous Coronet use normal ribbon.

After beginning to think that the market was more of a garage sale, the first mechanical models turned up, and as coincidence would have it the first two were Empire Aristocrats. This Empire was probably the best value at the market; at $75 it was slightly too expensive for me, but it was in good condition and would have been a good buy for someone who doesn't collect typewriters.

The Empire Strike Back: Still in fairly good condition (but not as good as the previous one), this one was $90. Pass.

Somewhat of a surprise, I only found two standard models. The first was the omnipresent Underwood 5, easily the most commonly found and overpriced vintage-looking typewriter in Southern Ontario. That they once made theses in Toronto probably has something to do with the fact that practically every antique shop has one or two, and that they're constantly being flogged by online sellers. This one wasn't in the greatest cosmetic condition and had some mechanical issues. And it was also so ridiculously priced (normal) that I blocked it out of my memory. Have you been noticing the jammed typebars?

The only other standard was a '20s Remington Noiseless No. 6 that I found behind glass in a display case. The case does protect the machines from idiots such as the keyboard thumpers, but it's a pain if you just want to quickly check its condition, not that it mattered: given that its price was over $200 and I already own one, I only gave it a cursory look. I did notice that the paint was well worn, and there was a missing spool cover. Next...

I have a soft spot for all of the Super-5 models and there was a time that I would have jumped on this Clipper, but like the Underwood 5, they are well represented in my area and it usually isn't hard to find one in good condition for less than $30. There was no price on this typewriter, which needed a good cleaning and was one of the few without jammed bars because it was in a closed travel case. They are solid portables, and every collection should have at least one.

When I spotted this Super-5 from a distance I thought that it might be an interesting find. Had someone really chrome plated the machine? No. This poor Smith-Corona Super gets the award for the most hideous typewriter at the market. Someone who shouldn't have been allowed near the machine had repainted it with "chrome" paint and made a real hash of it; however, the seller clearly sees it differently and proudly marked the tag "Chrome Typewriter". Only $140 and its yours - but you'll have to fix the broken ribbon cover yourself. Even though it was such a sad looking machine - maybe more so - I couldn't stop myself from fixing its jammed type bars.

The same vendor had three other machines. First, this Underwood Universal that appeared to be in nice shape, but at $100 was more than twice what I'd pay for it.

Next to the Undewood was this French version of the Patria made by AMC. It was the only typewriter that remotely tempted me, and I would have overlooked its less than stellar physical appearance, but it was also $100 (ouch), and worst of all, there was something terribly amiss with half of its keys that looked like they were subject to a lot of heat and had begun to melt.

Finally, there were two portables side-by-side in another display case. Neither were of interest, again because of the price ($145 each) and I already owned examples of those models. The Remington Portable (I think it was a model 2) and the Corona Four were in alright cosmetic condition, but because I couldn't get at them without finding someone to unlock the display case first, I have no idea what mechanical shape they were in.

20-4-2016 04:19:18  #2

Re: Toronto Area Market Reports

Thanks for the pics and the expert commentary.  In this type of market, would the prices be negotiable?


20-4-2016 04:53:43  #3

Re: Toronto Area Market Reports

Though nothing took your fancy much this time, at least you were in a place that actually had a typewriter for sale - and then more than one busted Travelriter.   Can't remember ever seeing two typewriters in one shop since I've been spending my time on the Goldcoast of Australia.


20-4-2016 08:26:39  #4

Re: Toronto Area Market Reports

fingertapper wrote:

In this type of market, would the prices be negotiable?

The vendors are rarely there, but I think they leave instructions with the cashier detailing their price flexibility, so there is some wiggle room to the pricing. However, since you can't have a proper back and forth discussion with the actual seller during which you could point out a machine's faults (and hopefully lower the price more substantially), I wouldn't expect much of a price drop.

beak wrote:

 Can't remember ever seeing two typewriters in one shop

That has to be tough. Even some of the better antique shops in the area often have up to half a dozen machines on display, and there are a couple of other similar markets that have as many as the above one on offer. Valiant and I went to another one last summer and found quite a few typewriters there too (I will post photos from that trip soon).
     Thread Starter

20-4-2016 08:44:00  #5

Re: Toronto Area Market Reports

I laughed at the "keyboard thumpers" part... :D

Anyone else? 


Back from a long break.

Starting fresh with my favorite typer. A Royal Futura!

21-4-2016 09:31:07  #6

Re: Toronto Area Market Reports

TypewriterGuy wrote:

I laughed at the "keyboard thumpers" part... :D

Anyone else? 


I did.
At least where I live there doesn't seem to be any "key thumpers" around. 

My blog - Just Typewriters

21-4-2016 09:33:57  #7

Re: Toronto Area Market Reports

haha same

Back from a long break.

Starting fresh with my favorite typer. A Royal Futura!

21-4-2016 12:46:29  #8

Re: Toronto Area Market Reports

I did too.  But have seen multiple typers in this condition at antique shops.

Smith Premier 4 typewriters are cool!

27-4-2016 19:17:18  #9

Re: Toronto Area Market Reports

Toronto Area Market Report:
Aberfoyle Antique Market (Aberfoyle, Ontario) 24-Apr-2016

Tired of the downtown Toronto scene, I decided to drive out of the city and catch the opening day of the Aberfoyle Market, which operates between April and October each year, and is claimed by its owners to be the oldest antique market in Canada. I've been to Aberfoyle a few times in the past, but don't recall ever having bought a typewriter there even though there's usually a good number of them, in part because the market draws vendors from all over Southern Ontario.  

Even though the air temperature was a chilly 6°C, the sun was out and the parking lot was full, and more importantly, the typewriter hunting was good. I spotted 23 typewriters in total (the 20 pictured below, and three that I bought), and it's very possible that I missed a number of models too; not only is the market layout a meandering maze, which makes it too easy to miss seeing a vendor, but the antiques are literally everywhere, and typewriters are sometimes buried in the piles of stuff. More than once I spotted a tell-tale typewriter travel case crammed in with other items and had to pull it out just to see which model was inside. Below are the photos of the models that I did manage to find, and once again I have to apologize for using my phone as a camera.

Odds & Sods

My first sighting wasn't actually a typewriter, but a Sears Holiday toy typewriter. I recall seeing this one for sale last summer, so it obviously doesn't attract much interest even though it's in very good condition and is reasonably priced at $20 CAD. I don't collect toy typewriters, but if I did this would be a nice pick. 

The second item also wasn't a typewriter, and I'm kicking myself now for now shelling out the $15 for the Commodore office telephone. I have quite a number of Commodore machines, and even though the phone is a later model probably from when the company was phasing out its typewriter sales, it would look good on a desk with a Commodore typewriter.

The rest of the finds are examples of typewriter junk. Okay, maybe that's a little harsh, but I'm turned off by overpriced models that are in terrible condition. First is a machine that has to be one of the worst made, the Smith-Corona Pride Line Corsair. This one was missing its ribbon cover and I only slowed enough to take the photo of it. Next was a Brother model of some kind. Someone had really made a hash of putting the travel cover on it and I couldn't separate the two without expending more energy than it was worth.

The Speedwriter Cavalier looked like it had been rolled down several flights of stairs, and the seller still expected to get $60 for it. It may not be to everyone's taste, but I found the colour of the Smith-Corona Coronet Super 12 to be absolutely fantastic; unfortunately, it's an electric that uses proprietary cartridges.

Remi and her Brothers

This Remington Noiseless Model 7 was being sold by a vendor that fellow TT member Valiant had bought a Remington from last summer, and his asking price of $60 was not an unreasonable place to start a negotiation. I already have one, otherwise I might have been tempted to see how low he would go. The mess of ribbon makes great bargaining leverage, but realistically the typewriter only needed a good cleaning.

I didn't really inspect the 1920s Remington Model 12, mostly because it took the honour of being the most expensive machine at the market. At $280 I just politely smiled at the vendor and kept on walking. The Remington Monarch is a great portable, but too similar to the Remington Eleven that I own and it was priced too high. Likewise, I own too many Quiet-Riters to have been tempted by this one that predictably was missing most of its plastic control knobs.

Brothers are often well represented at antique markets, a reflection not only of their durability, but also of the impact Brother had on typewriter manufacturing during the later '60s and early '70s. The Opus 888 and re-branded Webster XL-5000 I found were well preserved examples.

And last, deservedly, another model I loathe, the Olivetti Studio 44. This Underwood branded version was in desperate need of some TLC and I'm sure it will eventually find a good home.  


Two ubiquitous brands in the Toronto area are Underwood and Smith-Corona, presumably because both had factories in the city. Remington did too, and Royal was down the road in Montreal. It was no surprise then that Underwood was well represented at the market, and impressively, by a small lineage of its standard models. 

The Underwood Five looked like it had seen better days, but I'm willing to bet it still types nicely. A similar statement could be made for the half-century older Model 5 (it could have been a Model 4 - I didn't look close enough to make a positive ID). Next were a pair of Rhythm Touch models, the original from the late '40s, and its successor, the De Luxe, made between '49 and '53. Both were somewhat reasonably priced at around $50 each.

The Universal was one of the models that was hidden out of sight, and it was fairly clean, and a good deal at $40. I'm not a big fan of the model, for me it has always represented the beginning of the end for Underwood; it wasn't long after that Underwood portables were just rebadged Olivetti models, and these later Golden Touch models are not my idea of a company going out on a high note.

In another booth I came across a fairly nice Underwood Model 3 (I wish mine looked that good) that was parked beside a Smith-Corona Super-5 Sterling. The vendor pleaded with me to take both. I took neither, and a few steps away came across two more Smith-Corona models, the 6-series Galaxie II and a 5-series Super. Both are fantastic portables, but I already own examples of each and didn't ask about their price.

The three models that I did buy I've described in the Recent Acquisitions thread. They were a '62 Groma Kolibri N, a '57 Speedwriter Simple, and '65 Royal Quiet De Luxe.
     Thread Starter

28-4-2016 05:04:06  #10

Re: Toronto Area Market Reports


I haven't been to a market with that much old stuff in it since I was last in Melbourne five years ago.  It made my mouth water!  The only similar thing here happens one Sunday every couple of months and goes from 5.30 am (cough) until ten - and it's a two-hour drive away.  Needless to say, I've never been.


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