Post-pandemic safari

by | May 22, 2021 | safari | 17 comments

The pandemic is over!

Well, no. But for those of us lucky enough to be fully vaccinated, life can return to a semblance of what it once was. That, of course, includes hunting for typewriters.

So I can now revive a game I’ve played many times before on this blog. Here are the typewriters I saw today at the antique mall. I bought at least one. Can you guess which typewriter(s) I brought home? I’ll post the answer in the comments tomorrow.

Royal KMM, $114.95:
Junior Dial, $28; Tom Thumb, $30:

Remington Travel-Riter, $85:

Underwood Leader, $49.95:

Royal KMG, $19.99:

Smith-Corona Sterling, $48:

Smith-Corona Vantage, $19:

Royal Arrow, $90:

This Arrow had a user’s manual I’d never seen before. Of course, I have photographed it and added it to the collection on my website; here’s the PDF.

Webster XL-500, $195:
Underwood Champion, $175:


  1. Rolf Boone

    I'm going to say ol' faithful, the Royal KMG. Here's why: two photos, enticing dealer's tag and $20.00? No brainer. It's great to see you on safari!

  2. Ted

    Hopefully *not* the Vantage :D

  3. typewriter.works

    i could not guess what you'd take home, that'd be presumptuous and i lost my sumptuousness a long time ago. but the leader is a solid machine, wrote my first novel on a ww2-era KMG (and this one needs a little lovin'), a sterling for less than 50 is all right, and the travel-riter would intrigue me if i could talk them down 20 bucks.

    it'll be interesting to discover what you bought.

  4. WiltedLotus

    I would guess it is the Smith-Corona Safari for $48. I like that one. But as a collector, you will have different incentives.

  5. WiltedLotus

    I meant to say "Sterling", not "Safari"!

  6. RobertG

    Wow, those prices! That is certainly not thrift-store, that :)
    My guess'd be the KMG – although myself would have been sorely tempted by that Sterling.
    Fortunately things also slowly opening up again here also – looking fwd to browsing the bric-a-brac again!

  7. Joe V

    Either the Sterling or the KMG.

  8. Rob Bowker

    I think the answer depends on whether it was for your personal collection or wordplay. So I'm keeping my powder dry ;-)

  9. David Brechbiel

    I will pick the Sterling. It look solid … can be shined and will sell via Wordplay.

  10. Richard P

    OK, here's the answer.

    As several people suggested, the Sterling was a natural choice. It's in good shape, it's a desired model, and it's not easy to find them under $50 anymore. I snagged it.

    The KMG was tempting—a fine typewriter, virtually free—but I do not need it for my collection, and these gray whales are hard to sell for WordPlay. (They were made to work, not to dazzle.)

    The Travel-Riter is a bit pricey and not the smoothest typewriter. The Leader is a poor-quality machine, and this one had a jammed escapement.

    Despite Ted's warning, I did buy the Vantage! I've been curious for a while about these Olivetti-made golfball machines. I recently bought a Lexikon 82 on eBay, and with a friend's help got two rare ribbon cartridges for it (green ink!). But to my disappointment, several characters on the Lexikon simply won't print. The Vantage does work, and gives me an opportunity to use the ribbons.

    Both the Sterling and the Vantage will probably be sold to benefit WordPlay (with a warning about the Vantage's rare ribbons—though I hope there is a way to re-ink them). I will also probably post something about the Vantage.

  11. Bill M

    I think I would've guessed you got the Sterling. I know I'd have gotten it at that price. Several of the other affordable ones may have followed me home. Some, like the ebay priced Webster though will probably sit on the shelf of the store for a long time.

  12. David Brechbiel

    My first Safari win! The flattops are such classic machines.

  13. Richard P

    Once again, this experience shows that no one knows how to price a typewriter—even though it's possible to get a very clear idea of supply and demand by searching for sold auctions on eBay. In this case, such a search shows that Websters have recently sold for $32-$159.99, plus shipping. I am surprised by the high end of that range.

  14. Ted

    heh, well, I suppose I've bought some turds out of sheer curiosity, so I can't blame you too much :D

  15. Richard P

    This is how we learn! And the Vantage/Lexikon 82 is very ingenious, in its own way.

  16. typewriter.works

    seems my single experience with a 1950's leader was a lucky one. i've heard that era of underwoods is hit-or-miss but have had decent experiences so far. i've a '56 golden touch with a lovely typeface and onfeet adjustment i haven't gotten to. yet i have high hopes for it.

    surprised you got the vantage. will look forward to that post.


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