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Big Profits Selling Old Typewriters on eBay (DOC download)

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					Title:
Big Profits Selling Old Typewriters on eBay

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823

Summary:
Typewriters are popular collectibles, especially very early models, and
typewriters with past famous owners or a particularly interesting
pedigree, which often fetch very high prices on eBay.


Keywords:
ebay, auctions, collectibles, collectables, typewriters, typewriter


Article Body:
Because they're bulky, often dirty, need lots of careful cleaning and
sometimes repairs, most typewriters, old and modern, are overlooked and
fetched low prices at local offline auction houses.

Despite this, anyone prepared to spend time cleaning, researching,
repairing and eventually packing a typewriter, will find ready bidders on
eBay in both the UK and USA, and no doubt other country sites, too.

Typewriters don't always fetch fabulous prices, but most early
typewriters, from the late 1800s and early 1900s rarely go unsold on eBay
so you're almost always going to make money.

Recent eBay prices range from £73 for an early Empire Typewriter from
1892, to £380 for a Salter Standard Victorian Typewriter in original tin
carry case. More unusual typewriter types attract premium prices, such
as a Braille typewriter that went for £142 and an early double keyboard
model that fetched £127.

Outside of eBay some far higher prices have been achieved for very early
and unusual typewriter models which are worth remembering at buying
expeditions. For example, at Sotheby's a Merritt typewriter from 1895
went for £715 some years ago, and at Koln in Germany The Auction Team
valued a rare Imperial Typewriter, one of only three known to exist, at
between £7,000 and £8,000.

Since the first successful commercial typewriters were introduced in the
late 1860s many unusual designs have emerged, some plain and simple,
others intricate and stunningly detailed. One of the simplest and
earliest designs had a wheel with letters round the edge which was turned
manually until the required letter appeared in front of the paper and was
pushed to form an impression.   More complicated typewriters had double
keyboards, one for lower case, the other for capitals, and were created
in brass and mother of pearl hand painted with glorious gilded leaves and
flowers. These are the kind of unusual models to watch out for at non-
specialist auctions and they're almost certain to attract high prices on
eBay.
These early models sometimes crop up at specialist typewriter auctions
where they invariably fetch a high price. Not the place to buy in
expectation of high resell fees on eBay but worth visiting for research
and experience.

Like most collectibles, value depends mainly on rarity, not just age.
For example, one of the earliest serviceable typewriters, the Underwood,
created from 1900 to 1932 was made in the millions and can still be found
in working condition, consequently they are worth very little.

Tips

* There are no catalogues or price guides for old typewriters such as
those you'll find updated annually for postcards and stamps, coins and
ceramics. There simply aren't enough collectors, or typewriters, to
warrant special listings. Value, like many low volume collectibles is
best determined at auction, and is the point where the price someone is
willing to pay matches what the current owner will accept. By far the
highest prices are paid for typewriters in good, clean, working
condition, with or without restoration work.

* You should clean typewriters carefully, getting right into the tiniest
of grooves without causing damage to keys which were often long and
spindly and unexpectedly delicate. I found the most comprehensive guide
to cleaning old typewriters at: http://staff.xu.edu/~polt/typewriters/tw-
restoration.html

Here's just a tiny few of their suggestions:

'A toothbrush and a nail brush can be helpful.

For a gentler initial cleaning on a basically clean machine, try Endust
or Pledge (be cautious around decals (transfers), as occasionally these
products can harm them).

For an even gentler and safer cleaning, simply use a few drops of
dishwashing liquid dissolved in water.

Q-tips (similar to cotton buds) are very nice for cleaning hard-to-reach
areas.

For initial dust removal, the vacuum-cleaner hose attachment kits sold in
computer and computer supply stores and catalogues work very well!'

* Best places to buy are at general auction or from long established
office equipment stores, but rarely will you get a bargain from antiques
and second-hand dealers who invariably think old means valuable, for most
items, and often they are wrong.

* This is one of those collectibles you really need to study and learn
what makes one older item worthless and a more modern type quite
valuable. Web sites and books listed later provide much useful
information. Choose one or both of those books mentioned later, they're
packed with pictures, and keep them close by on buying days.
* Don't expect to make more than fifty pounds or so on most early
typewriters, but remember you can pick them up very cheaply indeed, I've
seen them fetch less than a tenner at local auction. The trick to making
money is to buy typewriters in good condition, but dirty, and spend time
cleaning them up and taking several great photographs to display them
from all angles for listing on eBay.

* Be careful about delivery costs. These early models are extremely
heavy and may cost way more to have delivered than they themselves are
worth. Where possible, look for local buyers or others willing to
collect.

				
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posted:1/25/2011
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