17 Matching Annotations
  1. May 2024
    1. I was in a vintage shop about 30 minutes from downtown Los Angeles earlier in the week and the proprietor had a mostly functioning 1950 Smith-Corona Sterling for sale for a roughly equivalent US $150. (One key was disconnected, but fixable, and some keys were sticky, the ribbon was disintegrating, it was incredibly dirty, with a case in very poor condition.) The Sterling was similar to the Silent, but without some of the extra bells and whistles. She wouldn't accept an offer of $40 for it, which I thought was a reach for the dreadful condition it was in. Her reasoning was that she was sure that someone (read: a sucker) would pay the $150 for it. At a yard sale it might be worth $5. Cleaned up a bit maybe $30. In online platforms they're going for a bit more, but you're also saving yourself some level of "shoe leather" in the work of searching for the exact model you want.

      I've been specifically watching this model and a few related ones for a few months, and machines of indeterminate condition (though in my experience they're usually reasonably functionable or easily fixable), like this go for about $50 on ShopGoodWill.com (as auction items). There are usually about 4-5 per week which come up as this was a popular model in the 50s. You can probably find similar prices on eBay, though sellers there usually have a little more information about the working condition. They're definitely common enough that you could easily wait for the exact color options and typeface (pica or elite) that you're looking for, and could also probably purchase two for the price he's asking (including shipping.) I've been watching for a similar mid-50s Smith-Corona Clipper with similar colors and elite type for a while and just bought one online last week for $35. Patience definitely pays off.

      I would only go as high as $150 on that machine if I knew it was well functioning and had a brand new platen in the last several years. You can tell him that most of the expensive machines in the range he's asking for are all fully functioning, have been well maintained and/or recently serviced, and often have new platens, rubber rollers, and feet replaced. He'll know that this isn't the case with his and may come down in price. They're likely pricing it based on other listings they see and not pricing it based on actual sales. If it's their only machine, wait things out until they see that there aren't any takers. If it's a vintage shop, simply move on.

      The Smith-Corona Silents from this time period are really spectacular and solid machines, so good luck in your search for the perfect one.

  2. Apr 2024
    1. https://www.ebay.com/itm/375385572993

      Sold, presumably for $600 on 2024-04-20 with free shipping. This had previously been listed and relisted for 1000 reducing 100 every few weeks until now.

      Taylor Swift effect with her new album drop perhaps?

  3. Mar 2024