Part 1 of the finding a typewriter series covered the Freecycle Network. I suggest you start there, because the news on garage sales is not, in my limited opinion, good for those in search of a manual.
In theory, it makes sense: people clearing junk out of their attics, natural habitat of neglected antique writing machines, and charging a pittance for you to take such items out of their lives. And so you get in your car on a summer Saturday morning, and start driving around your local suburbs with high hopes. Probably after a few stops, you’re going to find some great old Royal Quiet De Luxe in remarkably fine condition, on sale for three bucks.
Newsflash: won’t happen. Oh sure, it’s remotely possible. Lottery possible. But as a general observation, after about three weeks of scoping out the weekend garage sale market, I am here to report that out of about 25 sales, I encountered exactly one typewriter, a very boring IBM-selectric-style electric sitting under a tarp in a downpour, that held no cool old typewriting cache whatsoever.
Possible reasons for lack of typewriters at garage sales:
* People can’t seem to get rid of them. Like ghosts, they are intended to haunt attics for an indefinite period of time.
* People overestimate their value. One trip around eBay typewriter listings should dispel any thought that the average attic typewriter can fetch more than ten bucks on the open market, and yet I think people somehow think each one is an undiscovered Antiques Roadshow find.
* Hard-core yard salers buy them before the garage sale even starts… you know, those annoying people who show up 30 minutes early looking for comic books and LPs?
Pros of garage sale method
* If you like Vegas, sweepstakes, and racetracks, it might be the method for you.
* If you are also in the market for yellowing doilies, dusty spice jars with a chicken motif, rusty yard tools, and broken children’s toys, you can kill two birds with one stone.
* You enjoy spending your Saturday mornings doing Y turns in suburban labyrinths
* You won’t find a typewriter.
How to find a manual typewriter: the series
* Part 1: Freecycle
* Part 2: Garage sales
* Part 3: The refurb market
* Part 4: A refurbishing story
* Part 5: eBay
* Part 6: Antique stores
* Part 7: Blue Moon Camera & Machine