Vintage Royal Typewriter Value: Models and Price Guide

Over the recent years, the value of Royal typewriters has been broadly stable, leveling off to be equivalent to that of its rivals, including Smith-Corona, Remington, Hermes, and so forth.

Any typewriter models mentioned earlier would be an excellent starting point for your developing collection. However, the most prized vintage typewriters among collectors, in particular, are Royal models.

But You might be unsure which of the various Royal typewriters available best suits your financial standing.

Continue reading to find out more about the history of the Royal Typewriter Company, some iconic models, and where to look for a vintage Royal typewriter.

Royal Typewriter: The Story

Before the invention of computers, typewriters satisfied our desire to write more quickly than our pens could handle.

The loud strikes of a letter key pressing paper to an inked ribbon and metal plate to generate an inked letter on a white page are no measure for the soft clicks of keyboard keys.

A line of type ended with a resounding bell ding, and a new, blank line of paper began to appear as the carriage slammed shut.

Edward B. Hess and Lewis Myers founded The Royal Typewriter Company. Established in Brooklyn, New York, in 1904, Royal quickly settled in Hartford.

The company initially thought about moving to Manchester, Connecticut, but instead acquired a property on New Park Avenue in Hartford in 1906 and set up shop there.

However, the duo struggled to meet financial obligations in the first few years. In addition, the Royal Grand, their sole production model, wasn’t selling all that well.

So, they pitched their ideas to a savvy investor by the name of Thomas F. Ryan since it was pricey and eerily comparable to the one from Remington. Ryan offered Hess and Myers $220,000 in exchange for complete financial control over the business.

The Royal standard, created and sold out of Hartford, Connecticut, in 1906, was the first Royal typewriter the team produced and sold using this funding.

The Royal Grand, on the other hand, got eliminated from the market and was never again seen, along with its encased ribbon spindles and upright construction.

Since the introduction of the first Royal Machines in 1906, the Royal Standard model, the business’s reputation has progressively improved. But the company didn’t have its first significant success until it introduced the Model 10 typewriter in 1914.

This design went on to become the leading technology for desktop typewriters. All through the 20th century, Royal went on producing high-quality typewriters, most of which are now sought after by collectors.

By the middle of the 20th century, The Royal Typewriter Company was already the biggest corporation in the world. They solely focused on the production of typewriters, employing over 6,000 people.

By the year 2000, personal computers quickly took the role of typewriters in homes and workplaces. Because of that, typewriters were essentially obsolete due to the rise in modern technology.

The Royal Typewriter Company announced in April 1954 that it would merge with McBee, a well-known producer of equipment and supplies for accounting and statistics.

The Royal’s investors approved the merger scheme in July, leading to the establishment of Royal McBee.

As a result of the merger, sales climbed from $84.7 million to nearly $113 million between 1954 and 1964.

Because of the successes recorded, the Fortune 500 regularly included Royal McBee as a corporation.

Furthermore, Litton Industries shareholders accepted Royal McBee’s purchase in December 1964.

The companies finalized the agreement in March 1965, and Royal McBee was once again known as Royal Typewriter under the Litton industries.

Today, the Royal Typewriter Company is still in business under the name Royal Consumer Information Products Inc. They specialize in sports, health-related, and office products.

The Royal Typewriter Air Trucks

In 1926, Royal introduced a more portable typewriter design. At that time, they needed to catch up with the market, so they came up with a bold idea. To parachute the machine to dealers.

The idea was that people would consider the manual portables as undoubtedly tough if they could cope with a parachute drop while packaged as if they were being transported by truck or rail.

The Royal Typewriter Company chose the recently unveiled Ford Motor Company Tri-motor aircraft. It was the biggest cargo aircraft in the world and undoubtedly attracted consumers’ attention.

Royal spent $75,000 on a brand-new Ford Tri-motor, dubbed the “Royal Air Truck,” and launched his marketing campaign over a hundred feet in the air at an incredible 110 mph.

Royal_Air_Truck_Ford_Tri-Motor

The company’s air mail delivery and advertising effort are one of the fascinating aspects of the Royal typewriter story.

Across the American east coast, a fleet of “Royal Air Trucks” allegedly dropped crates full of typewriters. According to Mcfaddin-Ward House, Royals delivered 11,000 Royal machines via air mail.

After the exercise, they discovered only six machines got some damage. It then proved that Royal typewriters were strong.

This campaign’s media and press reputation were essential in helping the Royal Typewriter Company make its name in the cut-throat competition.

Iconic Royal Model and Values

The value of an antique Royal typewriter might vary significantly based on its model and rarity. All old Royal typewriters are valuable, but the versions from the first half of the 20th century are often used.

Here are a few of the most iconic and most valuable models of the Royal typewriters to keep an eye out for:

The Royal Standard

Iconic Royal Model and Values
Image Credits: AmericanHistory

This typewriter is the first Royal Standard design; the Royal Standard model number 1 followed shortly after. The Royal Standard typewriter has a QWERTY keyboard with visible lettering and a flatbed design.

The typist had to raise the carriage on early typewriters with upward-striking typebars to view what they had written—typical of the manual typewriter models.

This Royal Standard model was the first Royal typewriter, making it extremely valuable for historical and collecting reasons.

Prices can run up to hundreds of dollars, especially for devices in good condition or vetted by experts.

Royal’s Standard, in good condition, can fetch something a little above $1000. The Royal 5 can get a value of up to $700.

Other types of the royal stand are royal 6 and royal 8, having a flatbed carriage of 15′ and 19′ respectively.

Royal Model 10

Royal Model 10
Royal Model 10 (Sold $71)

The Model 10 was the Royal Company’s breakout star from this “standard” regular series. The typewriter was said to have “everything one might need for writing in America.”

This Royal manual typewriter that succeeded the Royal standard has rasped double glass panels on its ends and a conventional upright style.

Model 10, introduced in 1914, was exceedingly simple to operate, quick, and responsive. As a result, families all over the world desired to own a Royal Model 10, which at the time set the bar for desktop typewriters.

These devices are expensive due to their antiquity and historical appeal. For instance, a 1921 Model 10 is advertised for $700, and a recent Model 10 is listed from one seller for $700.

Royal Senior Companion

Royal Senior Companion
Royal Senior Companion (Sold $120)

The Royal typewriter company introduced this royal machine in the 1950s. It is a type of royal companion made with the students in mind.

Even though it resembles a Quiet Deluxe, there are numerous differences. But the absence of Touch Control stands out the most. In addition, a tabulator, paper support, pop-up ribbon cover, and a plate on the front are also absent from it.

The nameplate is also painted on and has a well-structured and exposed carriage on the right and left sides. Unfortunately, it also lacks the line-finder included in the Quiet Deluxe.

The senior companion typewriter has one lever for the carriage release and manual margins. In comparison to the Quiet Deluxe, it has a significantly lighter touch.

However, glancing at the painted nameplates reveals the mastery of the Royal Typewriter Company.

The “Royal Senior Companion” nameplate is straight on the panel as if it were the independent element on the Quiet Deluxe. More so, a delicate pinstripe borders the “Royal” nameplate.

One of the 1950s Royal’s models with a much lower price Royals was this one. It employs a similar tweed-covered fiberglass case to its expensive counterparts and is exceptionally well-made. But unlike its more expensive counterparts, you can remove the case’s lid, allowing you to type while it’s attached to the case’s base.

Despite their inexpensive nature, the typewriter will still give you some good dollars as a collectible or whatever they use. A seller values the machine in functional condition to be $190.

Royal Quiet Deluxe

Royal Quiet Deluxe
Royal Quiet Deluxe (Sold: $84)

The Royal Quiet Deluxe was one of the most well-known Royal portables throughout its production. It included features like an automatic paper lock scale, a quick ribbon cover changer, an adjustment knob at the left side of the carriage, and a “magic margin.”

The Royal Quiet Deluxe was first introduced in 1939 and remained in production until 1948, then reintroduced in 1955 with a new palette of vivid, eye-catching hues.

Like the Model P, the Quiet De Luxe is typically available for reasonable amounts. A gold Quiet De Luxe limited edition that Royal produced in 1947 also featured in the James Bond film Goldeneye.

It is also worthy of note that despite having access to various typewriters, Ernest Hemmingway preferred the Royal Quiet Deluxe.

The Royal ‘A’ Deluxe is another notable member of the deluxe family.

The Royal ‘A’ typewriter, introduced in 1935, has a tabulator, touch control, and finger comfort keys. It also has an automatic paper lock.

When completely functional, the deluxe machine is worth $500 to $700; for example, Sotheby’s puts one up for auction for $700.

Royal Portables

Vintage Royal Portable Manual Typewriter Model O Touch Control w case
Vintage Royal Portable Manual Typewriter Model O Touch Control w case (Sold: $152.5)

Because of their portability, portable typewriters get their moniker. The Royal portable manual typewriter designed for quick note-taking is typically 10 to 15 pounds lighter than regular ones. By producing their first portable in 1926, The Royal Typewriter Company introduced their portable line much later than their rivals.

Other portables introduced by the Royal Typewriter Company are

  • Royal Custom
  • Royal Safari
  • Royal Sabre
  • Royal Astronaut portable
  • Royal Epoch manual portables

In general, royal portables from the 1920s through 1940s are worth $500 to $800, while those from the 1950s through 1970s are worth anything from $200 to $600.

For example, a 1930s royal Custom portable at eBay goes for $600.

The Royal Model P, available in several colors like green or red, was the first manual portable typewriter and one of Royal’s most famous models. Depending on its condition, you can typically find a model P for a few hundred dollars.

Royal Classic Manual Typewriter

Royal Safari Portable Typewriter with Matching Case Used
Royal Safari Portable Typewriter with Matching Case Used (Sold: $200)

Royal continues its long tradition of producing high-quality typewriters by introducing the brand-new “Classic” manual typewriter!

The Royal Classic model has a durable metal shell and offers the necessary features for writing a novel, songs, or sending a traditional letter. It also comes with a little paper guide.

Take a trip down memory lane with the Royal Classic in black, red, green, or mint, and forget that a computer will never be as attractive as a colorful typewriter.

A functional Royal classic manual typewriter in good condition is worth anything from $200 and above. For example, a royal Safari manual portable and a royal scrittore ii made in china list on eBay for $220

Royal Aristocrat

1940 antique royal aristocrat portable typewriter
1940 antique royal aristocrat portable typewriter (Sold: $229)

The Royal Aristocrat Combines the finest office’s level of exquisite craftsmanship.

It has a sleek and straightforward twin-pak ribbon changeover.

With Royal’s touch control, you may adjust the soft keys’ responsiveness to your preferences.

You can set the margin immediately, thanks to its magic margin. As a result of its features, a Royal Aristocrat indeed was state-of-the-art.

Recently, a good-conditioned royal aristocrat sold for $175. You can also get a refurbished one for $500. That is to say; it will surely bring you a few hundred dollars.

Royal Signet

Royal Signet Cursive Typewriter
Royal Signet Cursive Typewriter (Sold: $140)

The Royal Signet was only produced from the fall of 1932 until around September 1933. However, it was a low-cost option for “children and housewives” when it launched with a vigorous advertising effort that included an essay competition.

It is all caps and has a specifically created, highly readable sans-serif italic font for this system.

The Royal Signet was unexpectedly canceled after one year, despite its immediate popularity. As a result, its rarity could mean a better value, especially for collectors.

Following right after in the same manner was the royal junior. It is pretty evident that it was a direct replica of the Royal signet because the inner workings were the same.

The signet value today ranges between $100 to $400 in mint condition.

Royal Arrow

Vtg Circa 1939 Royal Arrow Portable Manual Typewriter Black Keys
Vtg Circa 1939 Royal Arrow Portable Manual Typewriter Black Keys (Sold: $125)

The primary purpose of the Royal arrow typewriter was for military use.

During World War II, the arrow model was solely for the use of the American Navy (It has the “U.S. Navy” etched on the paper guide).

The machine had a “radio mill” that the ship operator used to transcribe messages. It also had a unique 9-pitch all-caps typeface and a slashed zero.

The Royal arrow typewriter can fetch hundreds of dollars based on its antiquity and history. For example, a seller recently posted a vintage arrow typewriter at $200 on eBay.

Royal Royalite Model

VTG Royal ROYALITE Portable Typewriter
VTG Royal ROYALITE Portable Typewriter (Sold: $350)

The Royalite was a product of the Royal Mcbee Corporation from the middle of the 1950s to the early 1960s in Holland.

 The Royalite’s creation was an entry-level, portable, ultra-compact typewriter. It is strong, lightweight, and has good fundamental functionality.

For collectors and fans of typewriters, the 1959 Royal Royalite is an assumed replica of the Royal Eldorado. As a result, the same machine with less flash also means less coin.

Examples of other models made after the Royal Royalite are the Royal dart, recently sold for a little over $100 on Etsy, and the Royal lark, valued at $150 on eBay, both in good condition.

By the turn of 1950, Royal introduced its first electric typewriter. They made use of carbon ribbon and plastic keys. The most notable models were the Royal Sprite (which had a transistor radio), Royal Diana, and Royal Empress.

Royal Mercury

Vintage 1970's Royal Mercury Manual portable typewriter with lid
Vintage 1970’s Royal Mercury Manual portable typewriter with lid (Sold: $35)

 

Portable has a small metal body made in Japan by Silver Seiko. The earliest models have ivory paint on them. They are also marketed as the Royal 200.

Other typewriters that followed this model were the Royal Century, except that it had a raised ribbon cover.

The royal mercury model lists on eBay at a price of over $160 when in good condition.

Royal Futura

Vintage Royal Futura 800 Manual Typewriter rare Meadow GREEN w Case
Vintage Royal Futura 800 Manual Typewriter rare Meadow GREEN w Case (Sold: $150)

The Royals created the Royal Futura, a manual portable typewriter, from 1958 to 1962. The release of the Futura signaled a change in direction for the manufacturing of Royal portable typewriters in terms of look, features, and cost.

Students-focused aggressive print advertising bolstered sales, while the Futura itself was significantly discounted near the conclusion of its production life.

All through t the early and middle of the 1960s, additional Royal models gradually incorporated the revolutionary new style, and later that decade, the term “Futura” would continue on another model.

The Royal Futura has currently enlisted at a value above $340.

How to Identify and Date Vintage Royal Typewriters

There are a few indicators you can look for to see if the typewriter you own is a Royal. If you want to purchase an antique Royal typewriter but are unsure of its model, these factors can also be helpful.

First, look for the “Royal” name printed on each Royal typewriter. The name location is always on the machine’s sides, on the top rear of the machine, well above carriage return, and above the keys.

The right side of the Royal’s “R” has a long flair that wraps around the word “Royal” and ends beneath the first leg of the “A.” Later models either omitted the flourish in favor of printing the name in block font or stretched it under the complete word.

 Secondly, check for either silver (found on the Royal 10 model) or gold (found on the Royal 1 model) lettering. The early Royal typewriters have gold or silver lettering, including the patent information.

Inspect Royal’s patents on the back. Future versions added many additional patent dates after the original Royal’s initial list of 25.

The colors used in later Royal models varied drastically, changing virtually year.

Furthermore, locate the serial number on the device to find out the typewriter’s manufacturing year. The serial number can be inside, close to the ribbon holder, or it might be on the machine’s rear.

Search the typewriter serial numbers database  to find the year the serial number falls. These serial numbers will confirm that the machine is a Royal and establish the exact manufacturing date.

Where Can You Buy Vintage Royal Typewriter?

Finding a vintage typewriter may be the most challenging stage in the purchase process. However, if there are any typewriter yard sales or tours in your region, you can check to see if they have any for sale, even if it doesn’t happen often.

If not, you can focus your search by visiting nearby vintage and independent online shops. The best restorations are frequently sold by independent merchants who can be found online or on social media.

Above all, even non-functional vintage typewriter still has value. If you happen to own a damaged or “broken” typewriter, you can still sell the different pieces to typewriter repair experts.

You can also perform some simple Makeover and turn the machines into one-of-a-kind jewelry, décor, and other items.

Therefore, to realize your aspirations, turn to the most dependable companies, like Royal, whether you decide to invest in a machine for yourself or want to give an outdated machine a new outlook on life.

Also, when you have found the one you want to buy, confirm that the typewriter is fully functional if you are not buying just for the love of retro typewriters.

Your alternatives are essentially the same if you want to purchase an old Royal typewriter. However, when purchasing one online, be careful to ask the vendor any questions you may have.

Additionally, because these devices can be pretty heavy, you might want to think about picking one up in person or inquire as to whether the seller offers free shipping. Lastly, confirm that the seller enables returns if you’re unhappy with your purchase.

Final Thoughts

Vintage typewriters are more common than ever, even though we live in a technologically advanced world. Some individuals love them because of their aesthetics, while others do so because they provide a more comfortable typing experience than a manual typewriter.

If you want to purchase an old Royal typewriter or any other vintage typewriter, several possibilities are available. Likewise, it won’t be difficult for you to sell an outdated typewriter. And if it’s a collectible model, it might sell for a lot.

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