I have just finished the restoration of a 1928 Underwood Five and am very happy with its appearance. When I look at the typewriter market out there I can easily find two other U5s for sale, one at 9250 Pesos and another at 8000 Pesos. While those unit are the same as the one I have, I cannot seriously consider acquiring them with the idea of restoring them. Because their selling price is so high, it leaves me with no room to improve them because the restoration of good typewriters costs.
This is where some antique typewriter sellers make a mistake. They imagine that because the unit they have in their hands is an antique, they price it any way they like without taking into consideration the condition of their unit and the price ceilings that the market will impose of the product they are selling; mind you those price limits exist. When typewriters are priced too high by their owners, the only hope they have of selling their units is if an uninformed buyer with money to burn turns up and buys sight unseen.
Of course, you do not want to be that “uninformed buyer.” You want to be a smart buyer and how does one become that?
Hang Around. Without insider information or without having to consult people, the simplest way to become informed is to hang around. Hang around the Facebook market sites for what is being sold and for how much. While there will always be the outliers who price too high, the majority will price more uniformly. (Yes, what your statistics teacher taught at school actually applies in the real world. Finally!) You will know the outliers by their exorbitant pricing and by the fact that their product stays on sale for long periods of time compared to the rest of the market. Their attractive products just stay there, unmoving. Take note of those.
Take Notes. The other thing you want to take note of are “new” postings that disappear almost as quickly as they appear. That’s an oxymoron, I know, but that really is what happens. Good products that are priced very reasonably (or more directly: low) will immediately be snapped up. They can be serviced, upgraded, and retailed at a good profit margin.
More later, on the question of “Should I insist on a mint machine or should I be happy with a restoration?”