Monday, February 13, 2012

Post(Card)-A-Day 13: Thoughts on Etsy Typewriters (2)


A couple of listings for typewriter parts that make you wonder... and here, a diabolic PDF tutorial is on offer...

Screen grabs of that infamous Kolibri:

18 comments:

  1. I agree on Etsy being full of key choppers. I would not have such anger toward the choppers as much if they parted out the whole typewriter and sold the parts so those who collect and repair and use typewriters could get parts. Then do the keychoppers destroy working machines or non-workiing machines?

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    1. We all hope they use non-working machines, but judging from the number of perfectly working typewriters that show up on eBay with the option to purchase the keys only... I think not. Anyway, part of the appeal of selling just the keys is drastically reducing shipping cost and hassle, so I guess that parting out the remains and selling it piecemeal would be quite a bit of work that the sellers would rather avoid.

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  2. Yes I've been wondering what your stand point was on typewriter keys.... Well, I could guess the answer, so I never asked...

    I'm wondering if the US is trending here on typewriter prices; that price lever will probably spread to Europe (if we ever get out of the depression that is).

    A Kolibri is top of my wish list at the mo; I guess it's going to be one from Chermany in the end.

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    1. Well, you have the advantage of being in the EU and benefiting from rather good shipping rates, so do go ahead and find a lovely Kolibri on eBay Germany! Don't forget to share pictures afterward :-)

      Indeed, I can't think of any typospherian who thinks it's a good idea to encourage the typewriter key trade...

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  3. A keychopping tutorial?
    Words fail me. I've seen a number of chopped-key jewelry at etsy but didn't realize how rampant the practice is.

    I do enjoy the typewriter peripherals at etsy, I recently bought an unused vintage silk ribbon.

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    1. I'm still keen on getting a replacement green ribbon for the Rheinmetall above - somehow I am fixated on that color since it came with it and the original is fading fast. I'll be trying the WD-40 solution when the weather gets nice enough to do it outdoors, but in the meantime I've been scouring Etsy to see whether a new-old-stock green ribbon will turn up. Any day now, I hope...

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    2. Adwoa,
      Check with Jay Respler. I think he had some green ribbons on his list of available ribbons.

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  4. The Kolibri example is an interesting exercise in the power of presentation and marketing. To a certain extent, it also appears there are two different audiences for ebay and etsy. There was nothing preventing the Etsy buyer from having gotten the machine for much less on ebay. Is it the audience, or the overwhelming number of ebay listings that make a difference?

    I will probably try selling on Etsy at some point. The presentation potential is much better than what appears in the pop-up display window in ebay. Ebay probably has an advantage in audience size and immediacy. The vibe is kind of icky in comparison with ebay having the feel of a pawn shop or auction barn and Etsy being more like a consignment store.

    On the subject of key chopping, there are currently over 5,000 Etsy listings for things handmade with typewriter keys. From what I've seen, those will be premium keys with the balance being sold as partial lots. That is a lot of typewriters sacrificed to the art gods. I would also like to see more of their parts available for well loved machines.

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    1. Well, the Kolibri is not the first instance of this nor will it be the last... when I started reading the Yahoo forums, I came across an old thread about how the proprietor of VTS was doing the same thing. The major complaint was that he was doing little to refurbish the machines besides a bit of surface cleaning that didn't warrant such a mark-up. On the one hand, you may be better off chasing a bargain on eBay, but on the other hand, perhaps it is a (necessary?) extra measure of security to have a middleman who takes the fall if the eBay item turns out to be a lemon... and profits handsomely otherwise.

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  5. Wow, beautiful Rheimetall!
    As to the Kolibri, way too expensive from the start! Try German ebay and you are likely to find one for much less. The hype following the 2006 film has somewhat mellowed out, and there is a Kolibri on offer almost every time I look.

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    1. You know, I had no idea The Lives of Others was so recent! Every time I looked at the stills, I thought they came from something released in the '80s... That would explain why Kolibris were so sought-after on eBay when I started looking, but you are right, the hype seems to have calmed down somewhat.

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  6. I really hope this typewriter key jewelry fad will end soon, but I'm afraid that the higher visibility of typewriters in the culture recently will only make the jewelry sell better.

    I have no idea why people will pay $400 for a typewriter on Etsy that they can get for $100 on eBay, although I suppose there is a better "vibe" about Etsy, so people feel safer. In any case, I can't blame anyone for buying on eBay and reselling on Etsy. Maybe I should do that myself ...

    I do think many of those expensive typewriters on Etsy have been for sale a long time and keep cycling around, waiting for a buyer.

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    1. Indeed, there are typewriters on Etsy - especially those with the colorful glass keys - that have been around for so long they're part of the scenery now.

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  7. Wasn't there a thing called SOPA? Maybe we could turn this to the good side and use it to hunt down keychoppers...
    The part offers are outrageous!

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  8. The first thing I've noticed on Etsy when I've started searching for typewriters was the "jewelery". I do love typewriters but I really hate the keyshopped jewelery. Does anyone buy them? It's frustrating to see people destroying typewriters in perfect conditions while we make a great effort to preserve them.

    About the Kolibri, $187 for me it's expensive... And $495 it's a theft! I got mine on eBay Germany for 25€. I know, it's not in pristine conditions and it's in a dull color... But I'm stingy!

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  9. Wow, that Rheinmetall is stunning.

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  10. Stunning machine! Key chopping always provokes a lively thread. I propose an equivalent to CITES. Unless that would encorage the trade to go 'underground'.

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