Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Yard Sale Treasures
My friend went on a yard sale expedition and said he'd keep an eye out for typewriters for me. I didn't imagine he'd find one, let alone two. They may not be the centerpiece of the collection, but they work.
I don't think I've ever seen a typewriter at a yard sale. Then again, I've only been collecting for less than a year, so I may have walked by hundreds and never took notice.
The Commodore Model 650 came with the original carrying case, which contained the original certificate of purchase from 1962. Also tucked inside were a chain letter, a typed joke about the governor of Pennsylvania and a prostitute, and a rather lengthy vulgar joke concerning a farmer with a run of bad luck.
The other typewriter is a Sharp Electric Intelliwriter. Typically, I'm not very interested in electric models. There is less of a connection between myself and the machinery. The machine is actually doing the typing, and I'm just telling the machine what to do. Also, I don't know much about repairing electrical components once they take a dump, but perhaps now I have a reason to learn. I wasn't going to turn down the Sharp. It is, after all, a piece of typewriter history and the price was right.
The Sharp actually introduced itself to me. After blowing some dust off, I noticed an instruction to press the code button for a demonstration. It roared to life as whatever primitive AI that was installed into it came out of its deep slumber and touted its own virtues.
"One man's trash is another man's treasure," may be a tired old adage but it is never more clearly illustrated than in the cases of typewriter enthusiasts and yard sale aficionados.
If you're looking for a working typewriter and don't want to pay much, check out the yard sales and flea markets before going to the antique shop. You probably won't find a beautiful gem to show off to company, but you may very well find and old warhorse that still serves its purpose. Antique dealers know that you're looking for something, so they can always charge a little more. But if you find a typewriter at a yard sale, you can bet that people are all but willing to pay you a few bucks just to take it off their hands.