When Famous Authors’ Typewriters Go Up for Auction


Typewriters owned by famous authors are hard to come by. That’s why we find the news that a member of John Updike’s family is selling the late author’s typewriter at a Christie’s auction today — and plan to donate half of the proceeds from the sale to the New York Public Library! — so exciting. Get a better look at Updike’s Olympia “electric 65c,” plus a few other famous writers’ prized machines, after the jump.

John Updike – An Olympia “electric 65c” typewriter and metal typewriter cartEstimated price: $4,000-$6,000Works typed on it: According to Christie’s, “We do know that he [used it], according to the family members; his secretary probably used it also. There’s no telling what pieces he actually wrote on it.”

Cormac McCarthy – An Olivetti manual typewriter (serial no. 2143668) with original blue carrying case, plus a typed, signed document authenticating his ownershipPrice: $254,500*Works typed on it: McCarthy says that he “typed on this typewriter every book I have written including three not yet published. Including all drafts and correspondence I would put this at about five million words over a period of fifty years…”

* Note: He bought it at a pawn shop in Knoxville for $50 back in 1958.

Jack Kerouac – Hermes 3000 manual typewriter (model no. 3337316) in original protective case, with cleaning implementsEstimated price: $20,000 – $30,00Works typed on it: Lots of letters to his agent Sterling Lord about financial problems (Kerouac used it from 1966 until his death in 1969)

Ian Fleming – Gold-plated Royal Quiet Deluxe typewriterPrice: £56,250Works typed on it: Fleming commissioned the typewriter in 1952 while working on Casino Royale, so presumably the bulk of what followed.

Douglas Adams – Vintage Hermes Standard 8 typewriter, signed by the author, with a “End Apartheid” sticker decalPrice: £2,000Works typed on it: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy