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22-2-2020 10:45:31  #1

Smith Corona Corsair Deluxe, Classic 12 or Royal Sabre?

I'm a total newbie to typewriters. Of course I had one in high school, but today I have decided to join The Revolution and get a portable.
I'm considering a Corona Corsair Deluxe, a Classic 12 (in brown, very cool) or a Royale Sabre. The prices range from $125. - $200 CAD.
The sellers tell me they all work fine. The machines look fine cosmetically, but I don't have the chance to actually try one, so I have to go by what they are telling me.
Your thoughts, advice and help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


22-2-2020 11:54:26  #2

Re: Smith Corona Corsair Deluxe, Classic 12 or Royal Sabre?

Stay well clear of the Corsair; they sell like hotcakes in my area because they look pretty to teenage girls, but they're terrible to type with. The Sabre is a decent machine, but I would opt for the Classic 12. It's a solid model with good performance characteristics. As for the price, it would be insane to spend that much on any of those machines. I'm not sure if I've ever spent more than $25 CAD for a Classic 12 (or either of the other two models for that matter).


Stay Safe! 

22-2-2020 15:30:23  #3

Re: Smith Corona Corsair Deluxe, Classic 12 or Royal Sabre?

Hi Uwe,
Where are you finding portables for $25.CAD? Even on Kijii they are around $100. Etsy they start at over $100.

     Thread Starter

22-2-2020 18:43:38  #4

Re: Smith Corona Corsair Deluxe, Classic 12 or Royal Sabre?

Hi Auggie

The price of typewriters here in Canada depends heavily on where you are located. Uwe is in metropolitan Toronto where flea markets and antique stores abound, so used typewriters are relatively easy to find. Out here in cowboy country on the bald prairies, it's a different story. Not many farmers or ranchers are what you'd call the literary type of person, so typewriters are few and far between. When someone has one in an antique store, they say it's a rare machine so ask unreal prices.

Where about are you located (province, city), maybe a member of the forum may be able to guide you to a better priced machine. All the best,



23-2-2020 08:00:42  #5

Re: Smith Corona Corsair Deluxe, Classic 12 or Royal Sabre?

Thanks Sky,
I'm in Fergus, Ontario. I have found some on kijiji that are more reasonable. As is the case though, they have issues. Sticking keys, no ribbon, no case. I'm finding it difficult to source a new ribbon for Smith Coronas:
Corsairs, Classics etc. Any sources that you could pass on?
Thanks again, A

     Thread Starter

23-2-2020 08:33:33  #6

Re: Smith Corona Corsair Deluxe, Classic 12 or Royal Sabre?

Auggie, that's odd, because Smith-Coronas are among the easiest to find ribbons for; a "universal" drops right in to the Classic and similar series and the Corsair is the same thing on a smaller spool (1-5/8 inch as contrasted with the standard 2-inch spool diameter). Here's  list of sources (for everywhere except specifically Canada, I'm afraid)


23-2-2020 08:36:45  #7

Re: Smith Corona Corsair Deluxe, Classic 12 or Royal Sabre?

... well, somehow that posted itself before it was finished.

To continue  ...   and remember that your best bet for the smaller one is to respool from a bigger one.

Typewriter Ribbon Sources:
FJA Products: and 1 - 800 - 982 - 9989.
Baco Ribbons makes ribbons in many sizes, colors, and materials. Contact Charlene Oesch, Baco Ribbon & Supply Co., 1521 Carman Road, Ballwin, MO 63021, 314-835-9300, fax 636-394-5475, e-mail

Other US manufacturers are:
Fine Line Ribbon in Ennis, TX and Bushnell Ribbon in Santa Fe Springs, CA.Tony Casillo of TTS Business Products in Garden City, NY, carries many varieties of ribbon and can advise you on the correct spool, ribbon material, etc. Call 516-489-8300 or e-mail
Jay Respler of Advanced Business Machines Co. in New Jersey carries ribbons for virtually all typewriters: Phone 732-431-1464 after 11 AM Eastern, or e-mail "I offer nylon, cotton, silk, and all colors. I can get many odd sizes. I stock newer cartridges as well as older spools. I supply pictures of spools to help determine what the customer needs. We ship anywhere in the world."
Earl De Barth, of, telephone number 215-855-6851, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm ET, e-mail, has the material for the 25 mm and wider ribbons. He has no spools, so requests that the purchaser send him a spool on which to wind the new ribbon. He can sometimes provide ribbons in colors other than black or black/red. Prices vary according to length, number of ribbons purchased, etc.

Other sources include Royal, Scantracker, ....

Of course, someone will suggest Amazon and eBay but I would rather support the guys who do the work and need the support.In addition to the sources above, you might find some in office supply stores and you can surely find 1/2-inch-wide calculator ribbons which you can then rewind onto your typewriter spools while you're waiting for mail order ones to arrive. (If the universal ones fit OK, don't throw away the original metal spools; keep them with the typewriter or sell them to collectors.)

Be aware that calculator ribbons are usually much shorter than typewriter ribbons, so you will go through them faster, though they are great when you need them.To replace, before you remove the old one, just note how it is threaded---unless it's wrong to begin with. Make a diagram or pic if you want to. Then put in the new one the same way. The two key points: the direction the ribbon comes off the spools, and the exact path through the arms where the keys hit, called the vibrator. (It doesn't vibrate but that's what it's called.) HTH


23-2-2020 08:42:38  #8

Re: Smith Corona Corsair Deluxe, Classic 12 or Royal Sabre?

Ugh. Now I have to apologize for the huge solid block of text because we cannot edit these posts. I know the situation, Uwe; I just did not remember it. I can understand them not offering editing capability for free but at least they could recognize CRLF in pasted text! Anyway, the info is there and any interested readers can copy this and paste it somewhere they can format it.


23-2-2020 10:08:34  #9

Re: Smith Corona Corsair Deluxe, Classic 12 or Royal Sabre?

Thank you very much. Many sources in the US.
There must be somewhere in Canada that sells the correct size ribbon for a Classic 12.
Anyone know of a source here closer to home?

     Thread Starter

23-2-2020 13:06:39  #10

Re: Smith Corona Corsair Deluxe, Classic 12 or Royal Sabre?

Auggie, as Sky pointed out I'm in the GTA and there are plenty of typewriters here. In terms of pricing - particularly on Kijiji (forget Etsy - it's way overpriced), here's what's going on: There are a handful of middlemen in Toronto who have destroyed the market by buying up all the $25-$50 machines they can find, giving them a cursory cleaning, and relisting them on Kijiji for astronomical prices ($150 and up). 

When other people list their machines on Kijiji and have no clue what they're worth, they use those listings from the middlemen for reference and end up asking ridiculous prices too

Here's the secret: patience. Keep your eye on Kijiji for listings in your area - in particular ones that have been on Kijiji for a long time and haven't sold - and make an offer. Also, don't be fixated on a specific model like the Classic 12. There are many great portables that would work just as well for you.

Alternatively, you can also sometimes find cheaper machines in antique markets. I'm not sure what's closest to you, but during the summer months there's a great outdoor market in Aberfoyle. I go there regularly, so if you haven't found anything by the spring I could meet you there and fix you up with an inexpensive machine

The point is that you really don't need to spend more than $50 to get a good, working typewriter in Ontario. It will probably need a good cleaning, but that's a great way to learn more about your typewriter. And don't worry about ribbon, it's readily available (I buy mine in 600 yard spools). Buy the machine first and then worry about ribbon. Michael's list of ribbon suppliers is still very useful for you; regardless of their location, many of the people he listed will ship to you.

Stay Safe! 

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