Bukowski Typewriter Authenticity (1 Viewer)

Hello fellow Bukowski-ites! I have a somewhat esoteric question regarding a typewriter. A friend of mine just gave her teenaged son what would surely be an amazing birthday gift if authentic: the typewriter that Bukowski wrote "Women" on. She says that she bought it from a friend who refurbishes typewriters for a living and "knows his stuff". She's a single mom who makes a decent but modest living, so she wouldn't have been able to spend a fortune on it. A couple other friends have expressed concern that this typewriter may not be the real deal, but she said that her friend told her that Bukowski owned over 80 typewriters in his lifetime because he kept pawning them. Still, the fact that she'd be able to get such a treasure seems dicey, although I hope for her son's and her sake that it's true. Anybody have any opinions? The typewriter is an Hermes 3000. Thanks for reading!
Thanks for your reply, I saw that list and that's what made me go "hmmm..."....well, I guess it won't hurt the kid to believe until he does his own research someday. Good one about the IBM, ha!
Sadly I would say that it is 99.99% NOT his typewriter. Much like selling a deck of cards and saying that they were Buk's, there is no way to prove it either way. No reputable antique dealer would ever sell a typewriter like this as Bukowski's without iron-clad provenance. Even if you found a picture of him sitting in front of it, that does not mean that the seller did not find the same model, which they would have made thousands of. If it was real, it would be worth a LOT. I would suspect that the right buyer would spend tens of thousands of dollars for the typewriter that Buk wrote Women on, but would require a provenance. Something like a letter from Buk saying that serial # typewriter, model xx, was his, was used to write women on and was given to typewriter repairman, etc, etc.

Also, in the WOMEN period, he used a Royal, which Linda King destroyed and then went to an Olympia, which was bought for him by his publisher, John Martin.

Not only is it impossible to prove either way, but it is VERY unlikely that it was his and it has no value above the price of the same typewriter without saying that it was Bukowski's. It is just too easy to claim something like this without it being true.

The fact is we can't know every typewriter Bukowski used. But we do know what he wrote Women on, as Bill mentioned, it may have started on a Royal, but the Olympia was definitely used.

He never wrote about or mentioned using a Hermes. Of course that doesn't mean that he never used one. But he never used one for any of the letters or manuscripts that we've seen, and again, he absolutely didn't write Women on one.

As for the "over 80 typewriters" bit, that's wildly unlikely, isn't it. For the last 23 years of his life he used only two typewriters, before going to the computer. Anything he wrote up until he was 21 we can assume was written on whatever typewriter was in his parents home. That leaves about a 30 year period for him to go through 80+ typewriters. More realistically, during the time he was writing seriously - after his 1954 hospitalization - there is only a 15 year period where we're not sure of every typewriter he used.

Also remember that there was an unbroken 11 year stint as a postal clerk in there, a time when pawning a typewriter would have been unnecessary and uncharacteristic. So for him to go through more than 80 typewriters in 15 years...I'm going to go out on a limb and say that isn't even close to being possible.

Thanks, folks. I suspected as much, I was very skeptical when I heard about it. All of the things mentioned didn't ring true as anything this "typewriter guy" could have known without absolute proof. I don't think I'll say anything to her, but I was surprised she'd "fall for it" so to speak.
Especially when you're selling a Hermes 3000, which, I learned this morning, is a highly prized and sought after model among typewriter nerds. The tall tale was really unnecessary.
I guess she approached him about a typewriter for her son, and he asked who the son's favorite authors were...I guess he was just trying to sweeten the deal! But yeah, it's a really nice looking machine regardless!
yes to all what the experts said already.
you may be able to very- or falsify this by having a compairing look at the original-manuscript at The Huntington Library.

But all this aside:
a teenage-son being enough of a Buk-fan to be after his typer, that's cool. A mother being willing to support her teenage-son in his fandom for Bukowski is even more cool.
So, my recommendation goes: stick with these people. They're alright.
Assuming that your friend paid more than fair value for this typer makes me think that you should show her this thread. A single mother with limited means, she may want to get her money back if it's not too late, and then, perhaps, she could put that money towards a verified piece of Buk memorabilia. There are many here who could point her in the right direction. Also, lets sign that lad up here, shall we?

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