Hello Folks- First things first...... We make ribbons and that is what we do best. We do not repair or service the machines. We have six typewriter guides listed in the reviews and guides section, and we want to make it clear that these guides are just informational guides. Just about all of the information provided in the six guides are can be found for free on the Internet. We are providing this free information as a courtesy, should you need specific information we will do our best to assist you. We have found the one of the most passionate typewriter collectors and aficionados out there is Mr Richard Polt. Without his hard work and dedication the information provided in the guides would not be possible. eBay policy does not allow for us to provide web sites outside of eBay, so please feel free to email and we will be happy to provide Mr Polt's email address and website.
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The monetary value of a typewriter can't be determined precisely, because there are relatively few collectors and the market is always changing. Furthermore, the condition of a typewriter affects its value significantly. To further complicate things, there are literally hundreds of makes of typewriter that are of value to a collector, ranging from $50 machines to $50,000 machines. However, you should first check to see whether your typewriter falls into one of the classes below, as 95% of them do. I also recommend searching completed auctions at eBay where you will find many examples of the common makes of typewriter.
Very few typewriters made after World War II are considered "collectible," because these later writing machines are mostly look-alikes produced in great quantities -- and are often pretty ugly. Someone may want them, of course, but don't expect the price to go over $20 or so. The exceptions to this rule are typewriters that have a strange or specialized mechanism -- for instance, the Varityper, a "cold typesetting" machine descended from the Hammond which prints from a type shuttle.
As for prewar typewriters, most belong to the following makes:
This is one of the first portables. The Corona that most collectors like has a carriage that folds down onto the keyboard. This is a beginner's machine that is frequently found. An informed collector will hold out for one in excellent condition, and will not pay much more than $50 for it. Colored specimens are worth more than black ones.
These machines are collectible and are certainly unusual to the modern eye, with their U-shaped typebars hovering over the platen. However, most are not rare. Expect the value to be in the $50-$100 range, give or take some according to condition. Olivers do have many minor variations, some of which are unusual. The most valuable Oliver is the #1, which can be recognized by its nickel finish and the fact that the tabs sticking out of its sides are flat to the ground.
Remington was always a leader in the typewriter industry -- so many Remington machines are common and worth little. Understroke Remingtons (which type on the underside of the platen) are worth some money; these are full-sized, office typewriters with model numbers under 10. The most common understroke Remingtons are the #6 and #7, worth around $100; other understroke models can be worth more. There are also many models of Remington Portables; most of these are frequently found, but are enjoyed by some collectors. They will bring a modest price, say $30. The Remington Electric of 1925 is worth several hundred dollars; this is a very boxy machine that has a carriage return lever on the right.
The Royals to look for are the #1, #5, and Standard. These are office machines with an unusual, low profile and a keyboard that looks like it's emerging from a staircase (collectors call these the "flatbed" models). They are worth around $50-$200 depending on condition (usually they are in poor shape). Many older Royal office typewriters are model 10 (usually not marked as such); the earlier ones have glass windows on the sides (pretty although useless). Value depends on condition -- anywhere from zero to $100. The Royal portables are fun, but not worth much (about $30). Finally, if your machine says "Royal Grand," you have found a very rare item that's the most valuable model of this make.
These are common, conventional typewriters. The earlier L.C. Smiths have a handsome decal with prancing horses. If you have such a machine in excellent condition, the lower the model number the better, it can bring $100 on a good day. L.C. Smith merged with Corona to create Smith-Corona in 1926. Smith-Corona portables from the 30s, in excellent condition, can be nice and might be worth $50 or so. Later Smith-Coronas are of minimal interest to collectors (although they are fine writing machines).
A very successful German make, with a reputation for high quality. Because supply far exceeds demand today, it is unlikely that an Olympia will bring more than $50.
The Underwood was the IBM PC of its day -- popular, reliable, common, much-imitated, and frankly, pretty dull. The earliest Underwoods are considered collectible and will bring roughly $200; these usually say "Wagner Typewriter Co." on the back. Some collectors or people who want one old typewriter will enjoy an ordinary Underwood (which is likely to be a #5) if it's in great condition. Very nice #5's can bring $150, but the average-condition Underwood (any model) is difficult to sell at any price. There are some nice Underwood portables, particularly the "Underwood Standard Portable Typewriter" of 1919-29, with three rows of keys (the name is bigger than the typewriter). It's worth about $40.
These well-made but conventional typewriters are generally ignored by collectors. The Woodstock Electrite is an early electric typewriter that is not frequently found, but still may bring under $100.