“Rare” is loathsome word. But now and again, there comes along a machine that is indeed rare, such as a Oliver No. 1, now offered on eBay. And collectors know it. With a little over five days left for bidding, the machine is up to $4,250!
Introduced in 1894,1 the Oliver was among the first “visible” typewriters on the market,2 though only a portion of the text — immediately center on the platen — was visible to the operator. Despite its odd styling, the Oliver sold successfully for over three decades.
The No. 1 is a particularly rare typer. TypewriterDatabase.com lists serial numbers up to 5,000,3 and one collector suggests that only 500 were made, noting that the highest serial number he’s seen is 400.4 In other words, Oliver likely added a zero to the numbering scheme.
Update: Item pulled from eBay Dec. 19, after bidding tops $6,000. Private sale?
Initially, the eBay seller offering the machine above suggested it was a Scholes & Glidden typewriter. The corrected listing advertises a Remington Standard No. 4, which according to collector Alan Seaver was “an economy model that closely resembled the No.2 but wrote in uppercase only.”5 TypewriterDatabase.com indicates that only 1,850 of these machines were produced between 1879 and 1883. That it is worth upwards of $1,500 remains to be seen.
Update: Item sold Dec. 22, 2013, for $1,499.99.
This rare Hammond has attracted 44 watchers and six offers, but no takers at the discounted price of $2,246.
And, lastly, this “vintage” Brother typewriter is being offered at the Etsy-like price of $199.
Oh, and a Royal Sprite is not a rare machine! (But at least the seller is offering said machine at a bargain price.)
© 2013, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.
- Oliver US at The Antikey Chop; some sources indicate the Oliver was marketed two years later, in 1896, see here. [↩]
- A Brief History of Typewriters, by Richard Polt. [↩]
- The Oliver Typewriter at TypewriterDatabase.com. [↩]
- Oliver at the Morton Typewriter Museum. [↩]
- Remington at Machines of Loving Grace. [↩]