What a $250,000 Vintage Typewriter Looks Like

Jan 6, 2010 by

This humble Olivetti Lettera 32 sold in December at a Christie’s auction for more than $250,000.  Was it the chipped blue paint or the serial number of this vintage typewriter that garnered six figures?  No, it was the five million words typed on this lovely writing machine by Cormac McCarthy, Pulitzer Prize author of novels such as The Road, No Country for Old Men, Blood Meridian, and All the Pretty Horses.

McCarthy purchased the vintage Olivetti typewriter in 1963 for $50 at a Tennessee pawn shop, and his loyalty to the writing machine was steadfast; he wrote every single one of his novels — all five million words over 50 years — on this typewriter.  The original Christie’s estimate pegged the typewriter at $15,000 to $20,000, but the final hammer fell at more than ten times the estimate!

What will McCarthy now use for his literary inspirations?  Is he upgrading to a Mac Airbook or will he be opting for a PC?  Or will he stay true and loyal to the trustworthy writing machine?  Indeed, McCarty will continue to compose his masterpieces on an Olivetti typewriter.  In fact, his friend has already purchased him a suitable replacement, which cost a prohibitive $11.

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