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Antique Typewriters Are Worth Some Serious Money

Updated on February 16, 2013
1950 and 1925
1950 and 1925

For those who know what a typewriter is (my 14 yr. old. did not), they can be worth thousands of dollars depending on condition and age. If you have one from 1874, the first year they were available to the public, it could be worth between $7-10,000. Some are quite interesting, like the 1894 Crown, that has no keys at all but a slider to point to a raised letter on a type wheel (I have no idea how this would work). This is worth between $11-15,000. The 1879 Crandall with pearl inlays (only the rich had typewriters) can sell for $7-10,000. By comparison, the Underwood Portable that Tennessee Williams wrote the, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" only fetches $4500. The 1895 Ford machine can sell for $13-20,000.

How do the typewriters compare with newer technology?

Well, if you owned of the six Apple 1 computers built, you could get $250,000-$500,000 for it. A 1938 Engima machine that created 22 billion codes might sell for $50-100,000.

Typewriters began long before the 1800's, but were for personal use and not sold to the public. By 1868, one of the first commercial typewriters was sold for $12,000. At that price, few bought it, but another company, Remington, was able to reduce the price and was the first with a QWERTY keyboard that is still around today in 1873. The first electric model arrived in 1902. But because electricity was not everywhere, it failed. By 1914, the electric typewriter was much more successful and by 1918+, very much so. The IBM ball type electric appeared in 1961 and quickly became a mainstay of offices in the world.

Most high schools through the 1980's offered typewriting classes to students to develop keyboarding skills. Many typing speeds were 40-50 wpm, words per minute. Since the computer keyboard is identical to the typewriter, skills developed remained valid once one became accustomed to the "feel" of a computer keyboard. However, by the late 1980's, most businesses using a typewriter had a computer and it became a relic used only for forms etc.

Many parts of the world today, still use the typewriter.


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    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      My how life has changed. Great hub..brings back many memories.