What was quite probably an Australian eBay record for a typewriter sale was set tonight, Saturday, March 12th, when a bidder offered $1575 ($1597 US at the exchange rates at the time) for an Imperial Model B. There were only two bids for the item.
The Imperial which was sold has a serial number of 15858 and shift keys on both sides of the keyboard.
Using Herman Price’s definitive Chestnut Ridge Typewriter Museum website as a guide, this would make it a Model B. It looks very similar to the Model A, which Herman has in his collection, but as Herman points out, “It is easily distinguished from the Model B in two ways. The first difference is the fixed typebasket on the A. The model B typebasket is easily removed. The second difference is that the shift keys are on the left side only.” Herman’s Model A is seen here:
On the Imperial sold on Australian eBay tonight, it would seem certain there is a detachable typebasket (see photos below).
However, unlike the Imperial Model B I have in my own collection, the one sold tonight has a bare metal curved nameplate covering the typebasket, with an embossed brand name, instead of a black lacquer nameplate with decal. This makes the one sold tonight look a like more like the Model A. My machine (a similar one is seen below) also has the words "Model B" in a decal across the front of the typebasket.
The Imperial was listed with a starting price of $990. There were no bids until the 10th and final day of bidding, when an eBayer who has just 17 feedbacks bid $1550. This was beaten by an eBayer who has 413 feedbacks, with a winning bid 10 seconds left before the end of the auction.
To the best of my knowledge, the previous highest price paid for a typewriter on Australian eBay was about $1250. paid some three years ago for what purported to be a Swiss-made Calanda.
Minutes after the Imperial sold in Australia tonight, a Lambert sold in Barcelona for $650, less than half the price!