Friday, 12 April 2013

Toejam & Earl

Below is the newly green machine that I bought from Paddington Antiques and proceded to paint an obnoxious colour. Clearly the spacing isn't quite there yet. There's a "before" photo on a previous post. I'm not sure whether I'm happy with this or not. It's as if a huge radioactive monster with a bad viral infection has blown its nose all over this once modest Remington SJ. Granted the sacrilege may not quite as bad as pulling apart a Sun #2 and feeding it to a light-bulb-eating man, but I'm sure this does not constitute a contribution to the greater good of typewriters.

Toejam and Earl music links below- the first minute or two is enough to get the gist...      (Original music)       (Live cover of the song above)    (More funky goodness)

And now for something completely different.....

The second part of this post can be linked (incredibly tenuously mind you) to the recently deceased Margaret Thatcher and the financial market. In the same year that Thatcher decided it was a great idea to go to war over a bunch of islands many Brits had never previously heard of, this book was released.

In a quick lunch-break run to the second hand book store to buy myself a thesaurus, I came across this particular volume. Millers it turns out specialise in antiques to this day and have moved largely online of recent. Without having time to read the waffly blurb at the start of the book in full, I understand the purpose of the book was to provide a guide for what antiques were worth based on sales that had taken place the previous year. Although there was only one or two typewriters listed in the entire volume, one was a "Sholes and Cliddon". They obviously knew their typewriters!

To my amazement, and if I read this right, for a mere £1,800 or so in 1982 you could pick up not only a Sholes and Gliddon, but a whole bunch of interesting paraphernalia and a letter to Queen Victoria! Even converting that figure into today's values, using Measuring Worth, that's still only £4,950 using the retail price index or £7,540 using average earnings.

In January of this year, Robert covered the story of a Sholes and Gliddon selling on ebay for an impressive US$20,230 (~£13,132). Thus even ignoring all the interesting paraphernalia, letters to the Queen etc, one could argue 31 years has added between £5,592 and £8,182 of "real" value onto the value of a Sholes and Gliddon. In terms of an investment and not indexing to inflation, the difference between £1,800 and £13,132 translates to an annual average increase in price of over £360. 

It is worth pointing out here that I didn't do maths, economics or finance at uni for good reasons and don't really know what I'm talking about here. Please feel free to correct any or all of the above, as I'm sure I'm miles off on several matters. One thing that I'm more confident about however is that in this instance, a S&G represents a better investment than many tech-stocks! Even in the last 12 months on eBay while I've been browsing, I reckon bargains are becomming slightly harder to come by. While none of us (I don't think) are in this for the money, prices would not be going up without interest in typewriters going up proportionately and this, I think, is absolutely marvelous.


  1. Call me vulgar, but I really don't mind that colour...

  2. I like that color too. The '50s colors were often so dull.

    Never heard of Toejam & Earl, but the music is fun.

    Antique typewriters are a good investment ... that's what I keep telling my wife.

  3. I like that color! Never apologize for giving a machine a new lease on life. It's an excellent ministry to the forgotten (:

    1. Thanks Ted, 'ministry to the forgotten'. I like it!

  4. Oh no! The Incredible Hulk has a twin!

  5. And I do love a good chip tune....

  6. The jolly green giant is cool... obnoxious, but cool.

    Can't believe I nearly forgot about your blog, I even missed your post on Lexikon 80. Anyway, I added you to my blog roll section, that should do the trick.

  7. Jasper, Richard, Scott and Ton, thanks! Each of your comments made me chuckle in turn. I too can remember saying words to the effect of "they definitely hold their value" to my girlfriend at some point. This thing will most definitely be called 'The Hulk' from now on and Ton, I'm so glad you agree it's obnoxious!

  8. The "A" typebar definitely needs some alignment! A couple of pliers will do the job...