Which is to say that the best way to prevent having second thoughts later is to make the purchase - providing it fits within my aesthetic, space and budget constraints - and think about passing it on later when I've had a few good hours with it. Speaking of which, there is a remorse-filled story about a recent missed opportunity that I have yet to narrate, but will soon. Till then, some clear pictures of the Erika 5:
If one thinks of the Olivetti Lettera 32 and others of that time as vintage portable typewriters, why, then this Erika 5 is a "vintage vintage" - predating the portable trend that swept through the '50s and '60s, but still working just as well as any of those and managing to look even more stately in the process, what with its glossy black finish and glass keys.
There is no carriage return lever, but a clever system of moving up a small lever accomplishes the line spacing function admirably. If I had to change one thing, it would be the exposed ribbon spools, as I like the streamlined look of ribbon covers. That said, it is a fairly simple matter to change these when they're worn out, so I guess there is that.
The decals and name badge are in very good shape, all things considered, and besides a few yellowed keys, the typewriter wears its age quite well. The typeface is a rather ordinary pica, but I find it charming nevertheless. I don't think there were very many options when this was manufactured; I once saw an italic-type Erika (maroon colored, too) on eBay Germany, but I'm sure it was a rather rare find.
Once in the matching wooden case, the Erika 5 is just about as high as the ultra-portable '40s and '50s Hermes Baby/Rocket, but it's about 1.5 times as wide. A perfectly acceptable size, if you ask me, given that the metal from which it is made appears to be significantly sturdier, and that is even before you consider the glass keys. Worth every inch of space it takes up! There aren't many typewriters you could say that about, really.