Even though typewriters themselves have been redundant for decades, they remain beautiful decorative examples of mechanical invention. And despite being a niche audience, antique typewriters have become rare collectibles with a lot of history and legacy attached to them.
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These are the most expensive typewriters right now:
10. Moya Visible No #2, $3,690
The Moya Visible No 2 was released in 1905 by the Moya Typewriter company. The company produced three models between 1902 and 1908. And only a few of those were sold at the time. The rest were rebranded into names such as Baka, Ideal, and Skretar for foreign markets. The estimated value of this typewriter is $3,690.
9. Granville Automatic Typewriter, $3,695
This typewriter was made by the Granville Manufacturing Company based in Dayton, Ohio. It was released back in 1896. The unique thing about this typewriter is that it features automatic functions such as carriage return, line space, and shifting to upper case. This was all done via special keys which were pretty revolutionary for their time. It is worth roughly $3,695.
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8. Crandall New Model, $6,100
Made by the Crandall Machine Company based in Syracuse, New York. This typewriter is a beautifully decorated machine. It has a floral mother-of-pearl inlay design. It was released in 1886 and was a popular model at that time. If you wanted to buy one of these today, it will set you back a massive $6,100.
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7. Williams No #1, $6,340
The Williams No #1 was made by the Williams Typewriter company based in Brooklyn, New York. But the story behind No #1 is that at the time, the owner of the Williams Typewriter company J.N Williams didn’t have his own factory. So he had this typewriter made by other companies. It was released in 1891 and is worth a whopping $6,340.
6. Oliver No #1 1st Model, $7,440
The Oliver No #1 is considered one of the first visible print typewriters of its time. Visible print means that the typewriter can see the text as it is being typed. It was made by Oliver Typewriting Company in Chicago, Illinois. The first model was released in 1896. It has an estimated value of $7,440.
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5. North London Typewriter, $8,738
Made by the North Typewriter manufacturing Company based in London, England. This typewriter featured a rear downstrike mechanism system. Due to the awkward placement of the coiled paper and ribbon, this antique typewriter had little commercial success and is therefore relatively rare. It was released in 1892 and is worth a staggering $8,738.
4. Edison Mimeograph Typewriter, $14,000
This antique typewriter was designed by Thomas Edison himself. It was released in 1894 and was licensed by the Albert Blake Dick Company to be distributed. The main feature of this typewriter was its paper stencils. Commercially this typewriter wasn’t much of a success story but is today worth five figures ($14,000).
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3. Sholes And Glidden Typewriter, $33,553
Released in 1873, the Sholes and Glidden Typewriter was the first commercially successful iteration ever made. It was made by E. Remington and Sons and was based on sewing machines at the time that came with a foot peddle to drive the mechanisms. We owe things like a four-rowed QWERTY design and the cylindrical platen to this typewriter. You can own this collector’s item for an eye-watering $33,553.
2. Malling-Hansen Writing Ball, $80,000
This wild-looking mechanical contraption is a typewriter. It was designed in 1867 and then patented in 1870. For the time, the Malling Hansen Writing Ball was a technological marvel and 50 years ahead of its time. The unique functionality of this typewriter makes it such a sought-after collector’s item, making it worth the small fortune of $80,000.
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1. Enigma Machine, $65,000 to $480,000
The infamous Enigma machine was designed by Arthur Scherbius somewhere around the end of world war 1 in 1918. The earlier models were available in the 1920s. But the basic model was used to protect sensitive communications for military and diplomatic purposes. Germany used these enigma machines with additional modifications to alter results and cipher their communications.
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We know that the Enigma Machine isn’t a regular typewriter, but it is based on a keyboard system, so it makes this list. An Enigma machine has a lot of notoriety but is a piece of history that can reach a very high price at an auction. Depending on the model and condition, an Enigma machine could be worth up to $480,000.