So, to wrap it up: J was very intrigued by a bilingual French/German typewriter repair instruction manual, and I was fixated on the Smith Premier, so we bargained with the seller to get them both for CHF 50. A bit more than I wanted to spend on a typewriter, but I've been having a dry spell and feeling generous, plus I appreciated the seller's friendliness and I was thrilled to find myself surrounded with all this fantastic typewriter history.
A final shot as we left his stand - in the foreground is the Remington Noiseless I neglected to get a solo shot of.
As the first sale of his day, the seller was pleased to spend time speaking with us - he also seemed impressed by our knowledge of - and passion for - typewriters. He offered us several more of his wares: in particular, he was very sure we would not regret taking home the gigantic Smith Corona sign! I assured him we wouldn't know what to do with it, or have anyplace to put it.
Then we moved on to the Valentine typewriter, which I looked at longingly while asking him whether he had noticed it was broken (the carriage drawband was long gone, a very significant problem). Still, the Valentine always makes sellers see dollar signs, so I didn't even want to imagine what he would ask for it. Besides, we already had one, this one would be a pain to fix, and we weren't really interested. Nevertheless, I couldn't help gazing longingly at this red icon, never before sighted in a flea market, intact with ribbon covers, manual, and original brush.
"You know," the seller suddenly spoke up, "I'm sure this is a rare typewriter and it can fetch some money. But I don't know enough to fix it, and perhaps you could? Even if it turns out to be seriously damaged, you could still keep it as a decorative object. And if you fixed it, you could sell it and make a nice profit! Actually, someone offered me thirty francs for it this morning and I refused. But you... you can have it for ten."
CHF 10?! J and I looked at each other - we didn't need to think about this long. We would have purchased the ribbon covers alone for that price (ours is missing one). So, we handed him the cash and rushed home, each with a typewriter in hand, barely believing our luck. At home with the haul:
Ton's Remington Portable No. 2, lusted after Robert's "Crocodile Dundee" Smith Premier Portable, and wondered aloud about this strikingly-hued Remington Portable No. 1 on eBay. This seems like the perfect amalgamation of all of those.
Once I had come home and unburdened myself, it was all I could do to restrain myself from turning right back around and returning to the treasure trove! But I thought I had better take some time to soak it all in, share the story with you, and then nose around the next time I am in the market to see if there is anything left we could look through. Even if he does manage to off-load everything else, I'm confident we made judicious choices and won't regret anything we left behind.
A very satisfying day, indeed!