Fans of late author John Updike have the chance to purchase a (mostly tangential) piece of his history today, as Christie’s is set to auction off the novelist’s Olympia “electric 65c” typewriter. The expected final bid is somewhere between $4,000 and $6,000—a low number (especially when compared to Cormac McCarthy’s typewriter, which fetched $254,500 in December) because despite being purchased shortly after he wrote Couples, no one can say for sure whether Updike actually used it to weave his stories of suburban ennui interspersed with the most florid descriptions of vaginas in all of American literature. Instead, Updike’s family will only confirm that he definitely used it at some point, as did his secretary, while the typewriter itself contains a ribbon preserving the last things Updike wrote on it: part of a commencement speech and a letter to his typist telling her she was being replaced by a word processor, which is kinda boring. So Christie’s plans to sweeten the deal by throwing in Updike’s metal typewriter cart for free. (On a self-serving note: As a rabid Updike fan with a birthday coming up, I certainly wouldn’t be averse to you all chipping in on this.)
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