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11-6-2022 18:12:08  #1

Typewriter Hunting - Share your adventures!

Is it still possible to buy an inexpensive (<$50 CAD) typewriter?

To answer that question, forum member Valiant and I went on a mini-safari today to find out if we could find models that were in decent condition, and at the prices we both built our collections on.

When it comes to finding cheap typewriters, the adage "the early bird gets the worm" often holds true. This meant a 06:00 start for us to arrive at one of our favorite hunting grounds for 07:15. We then had to wait 45 minutes in a continually growing line for the 08:00 opening. 

What follows is a synopsis of what we found today.

This was the line for the antique market around 07:30. We didn't have the greatest starting position, but with our well-developed hunting eyes it was easy to work our way through the pack and find the bargains. This line was for one of two gates, so the numbers were far greater than what you see here.
The first sightings. The Marx is a toy, and the others had big price tags. Pass.

A fair price ($125) for the Empire - not so much for the Underwood - but still way too much for our budget quest.

$175 for the Corona, just because it's green? No thanks! The Super-Speed was a better buy - and a better typer.

Winner! $45 for the Underwood - but we've already got one so the hunt continues. The nasty piece of work on the right is no value at any price.

I didn't ask how much the HH was because I already own one. The $50 private label Webster was a temptation, but again I already own a variant of it.

The Underwood was an option for the budget concious, but the Erika-based Commodore was overpriced.

This older generation Secretarial has seen better days but likely would have responded well to some TLC. We all know what's in that dreaded, blue plastic case, and why it wasn't even worth opening it for a photo.

I almost grabbed the wide carriage SM-9 with a Senatorial typeface for $45, but it would have been redundant. It certainly was one of the best finds of the day. The similarly priced Letter-Riter probably would have made a good typewriter with a little work, so it represented another reasonable buy.

Another $45 find, this Lettera 22 would make a nice purchase for someone not hung up on aesthetics. Conversely, the Underwood Universal and Royal Commander at $125 each were more than twice what I would pay for these models.

I don't think I've ever come across a Speed-Riter that didn't look like it was heavily used. Great typewriters regardless of how they look, but since I already have a couple I didn't find out its price. Although I already have a 1940 Remington Deluxe Model 5, this post-war variant looked too interesting to pass up - even with the missing ribbon cover. And at $40 it was the definitive answer to our question: Yes, you can still buy typewriters at decent prices - long live the hunt!  

Thankfully this example of the dreaded ABC with its nasty escapement was insanely priced; I'm a gluton for punishment when it comes to these and was happy to walk away from one for a change. A run-of-the-mill Underwood and more-tempting L.C. Smith. I don't recall the pricing on these but suspect they were reasonable.

The Remette and Model 5 were on offer by the same vendor who was swamped at the time and I wasn't going to wait for pricing on machines that I wasn't interested in.

A very expensive Super-G was the final sighting of the day. It's very possible that a few machines were missed, but enough were found to satisfy our curiousity and conclude that even today a patient collector need not succumb or support over-priced model sales. There was a nice mixture here of good, commonly-found examples and ones that are not seen as often.

The pronoun has always been capitalized in the English language for more than 700 years.

12-6-2022 07:11:05  #2

Re: Typewriter Hunting - Share your adventures!

Looks like it was a fun hunt for you and Valiant.

Thanks for taking the time to post up the sightings and your added commentary on some of the models.


12-6-2022 23:14:51  #3

Re: Typewriter Hunting - Share your adventures!

Yes it was a fun hunt, and a fine day for it -- forecast was for rain, but it was sunny the whole time we were at the market. We saw some interesting machines. I'm on a budget, though, so in retrospect I'm kind of glad that none of them really 'spoke' to me. Well..... except for that green Corona. It was speaking to me, but I pretended not to hear. 

"Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the typewriter."

06-7-2022 13:12:19  #4

Re: Typewriter Hunting - Share your adventures!

During the Covid lock downs, my wife and I went to a home that had an outdoor and in-the-garage estate sale going on.

We came wearing our masks and bought a very nice 1950's vintage sewing machine.

In a deep, dark corner of the garage hidden behind trash boxes, I notice a typewriter case.

I asked the seller "how much" and she said $ 19 will do it.  It came home with us, as well.  It was her Mum's and had not been used for decades.

After a day of typewriter-spa on my work bench, it types so well and is a beauty in its own right.


20-11-2022 02:06:19  #5

Re: Typewriter Hunting - Share your adventures!

Impressive finds and some gorgeous machines!  I have yet to go to a typewriter rally so to speak, aside from one in Evergreen Park Illinois a year ago, but I didn't get to see many machines there.  Once in a while I'll find a good deal in conversation with another tech or collector, but I'm beginning to worry that there are no more cheap machines in the wild in my area.  Then again, I scored two dead Praxis' for 20$ a couple weeks ago.

Typewriter Service Tech (and avid nerd)

18-1-2023 17:39:00  #6

Re: Typewriter Hunting - Share your adventures!

I've been looking at some Remington and managed to find one online! Haven't bought it yet but it's a Remington Deluxe Model 5 from 1940. The price is approximately $70, Ii with it?

Worth noting that it doesn't include case of ribbon!


19-1-2023 08:26:51  #7

Re: Typewriter Hunting - Share your adventures!

thetypewriter wrote:

I've been looking at some Remington and managed to find one online! Haven't bought it yet but it's a Remington Deluxe Model 5 from 1940. The price is approximately $70, Ii with it?

Worth noting that it doesn't include case of ribbon!

Autocorrect. Case OR ribbon!


17-2-2023 14:44:43  #8

Re: Typewriter Hunting - Share your adventures!

Taking advantage of an abnormally warm and sunny day in the dead of winter, Valiant and I recently travelled 45 minutes west of Toronto to do a little typewriter hunting. 

Valiant is a far more discerning collector than me, and he remained indifferent to everything we found, which was around two dozen typewriters. I was intrigued by a few, but they were thankfully overpriced and I was content to return home empty-handed. 

I apologize for the photo sizes and their quick-and-dirty nature. I just wanted to provide a brief synopsis of what we spotted and posted mammoth images would have been pointless. And because I didn’t spend any time identifying these models, a few of model designations could be incorrect. The descriptions for the images run clockwise starting from the top-left photo. Prices are in Canadian doll-hairs.

Underwood SX-100: It was missing a couple of key tops and the line space lever. $45

Underwood Model 3: This one had also seen better days. $65

Underwood Model 5: When selling typewriters, you should put them behind glass: Some monkey performed a slug mash on this defenseless Underwood. $150

Underwood Model 5: Even though old Underwood standards grow on trees in these parts, they’re typically priced like fine art. This one is really rough, but it’s still $125.


Smith-Corona 6-Series Clipper: This one is the WINNER of the craziest price of the day award: $500. You would think that for such an exorbitant fee the vendor would at least put it in the case the right way.

Smith-Corona 5-Series Clipper: You won't get clipped as bad buying this Clipper, but it’s still twice what it should be. $70

Corona No. 3: Behind glass, so I can’t comment on its condition. I suppose everyone should own one (or two) for display – behind glass. $250

Smith-Corona Electra 120: I could still see the remnants of the Value Village price tag ($14.99) on the case. And now it's $100. I was too lazy to take a second photo, but I did crack open the case to make sure there was actually a 120 inside. 

Remington Noiseless 10: Appears to have been factory refurbished - over 50 years ago, of course. $65

Remington Portable Model 5: Looks like it would clean up well, but it’s a common model and can be had for far less. $115

Remington Model 5: Another refurb, but not to factory standards (the paint was sub-par). $85

Remington All-New Personal Portable: These are one of my favorite portable designs, particularly in profile. Unfortunately, a monkey mashed this one too. $69


Empire Aristocrat: Labelled as a "miniature typewriter”, for the price it would be worth a closer look.  $65

Woodstock 5: In hindsight I should have taken a better look at this one – or at the very least found out its price. As the carriage position indicates, it has an escapement issue, which could require cleaning. A pre-'30s model that’s a little rough cosmetically, but might be a typer.

Oliver No. 5: The tag on this one calls it an "Oliva early typewriter". It has its base, and a slightly beaten cover, but we laughed at the price and continued with the tour. $435 


Sears & Roebuck SR1000 Electronic I: Took the photo because it’s a typewriter, but that’s were my interest ended. $45

Eaton Viking Electric 12: See above. However, I know this will appeal to those of you who like electric models with line space levers. $75

Commodore Elite: It’s a late '58 or early '59 model. I thought I already owned one, so I didn’t give it a second look. However, I later figured out that I own the model prior to, and post to, it. If it wasn't for the price I would actually go back and buy it. $95

Commodore ?: I've yet to find out what the official Commodore name was for this late '60s model. In the meantime I designate them as Consul 236 component-built machines. They are nice typewriters, but at the asking price I'd expect to get a pair of them. $95


Brother Student-Riter II: A tribute to '50s Remington model names? $29

Brother Activator 800T: Then again, Brother had no end of names for its typewriters. These JPs are solid, dependable, and worth buying and using. Price unknown. 

Underwood 5: This one was ingloriously shoved into a corner against a nasty broom, perhaps because it was a rust bucket. And yet, despite the lack of presentation and the machine's condition, the vendor still felt it was worth $95.

L.C. Smith ?: Guessing it's a late '30s No. 8. I think it’s missing spool nuts, and been refurbished at some point, so the price is silly (to me). $295 


Empty Travel Case: My first hunch was that it’s a '50s Remington case. I’m too lazy to check my collection to verify that, but I’m sure someone here will quickly identify it. It’s very uncommon to find empty cases, so when I see something like this in an antique shop I have to wonder if some poor buyer left the store with a typewriter, and the vendor forgot to include its case.

Rolodex: Fancy-schmancy Rolodex with cards. Space-age design. This one's for Jim, and yowsa, it’s $40!

Burroughs Adding Machine (model ?): Odd, but this was my regret of the trip. I should have taken a closer look at this adding machine. I’m not actually interested in them, but I think this would have cleaned up nicely, and owning one would be fun. $48

Triumph Standard 14: I really like Triumph standards, and you never see them around here. This is a late '40s model. Bonus points for anyone who can spot what's off with this typewriter. $95

The pronoun has always been capitalized in the English language for more than 700 years.
     Thread Starter

15-3-2023 00:29:37  #9

Re: Typewriter Hunting - Share your adventures!

Thanks for the Rolodex nod, Uwe.

Wow - two dozen sightings in one day!  I'm lucky to find two (typewriters, not dozen).

The only one that would have tempted me is the Corona 3.  I guess that's a sign of improved self control...


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