How do value the machines we have?

Hi All, I am new to this, so please excuse my lack of correct terms. My brother, sister and I have inherited a Model 8 and Model 32 Mergenthaler linotype machine. I am told that these were completely refurbished in the early 1980s and have only been used a few times since then, so they are both in good working condition. My brother says the belts may need to be replaced, but that should be it. We also have other printing equipment that is also in excellent condition as well as what my brother is calling hand type…the letters in drawers that are used individually to create the written words. My sister says that there is also a hand press of some sort. Anyway, any help with trying to figure out what this equipment is worth, identifying exactly what we have or finding people who might be interested in what we have would be tremendously appreciated. My sister is also trying to find all the manuals or any other literature that is available as well as pictures for all. Thanks for any input you might have.

Log in to reply   17 replies so far

you can post pictures here, there are many people on this board who can help identify what you’ve got. Also, if you post where you are, someone in the area may be able to stop by, look at everything and help you identify it all.

I should have pictures shortly. We are located in west central Missouri. If someone is close by that could help that would be great. I can post my e-mail address if that is allowed? That way someone can contact me directly. I wasn’t quite sure what the rules are for this web site. Thanks!

Here are some of the pictures we have….

image: kluge1.JPG


image: harris117x22.JPG


image: linotype32x2.JPG


image: linotype32x1.JPG


image: linotype8x2.JPG


image: linotype8x1.JPG


Looks like a nice little collection.

Large machines and presses like this are always worth a lot to the printer who can use them, but difficult to sell because of the problems associated with moving them. Professional rigging companies have the proper experience, but their rates tend to be exorbitant in my experience.

It’s hard to tell from your pictures, but are those machines located in a basement? Regardless, the difficultly associated with moving equipment like this can limit the number of buyers you’ll attract.

sandyd - To prevent spam, we do not recommend posting your email address. People can contact you privately by clicking on your user name. For more information, see the Help section and .

Vrooooom’s point is well taken. The photo labeled Harris looks like a nice flatbed cylinder press. 17 x 22 is a nice size too. Your best course is too make a list of as many things as you have names for. Check the name plates.

If you have wooden or metal type cabinets, list the size and number of trays (cases) in each and whether they have type in them or are empty. That way readers can venture a value.

The flat rectangular trays are each a type face for the linotypes. If you can get the letters and numbers off the sides, lino experts can determine what type faces they are. Even if the linos are too heavy to sell and move, the mattes (rectangular trays) are hard to find and worth good money, especially if they are rare or unusual typefaces.

If you have a hand press, look for a name or better yet, post a picture. It could be valuable too. More photos. that would be my advice. Good luck. And before you have it hauled away for scrap, post it on other letterpress forums like Letpress or Craig’s list. Lots of would be letterpress printers out their looking for things.


Sorry, couldn’t tell. I know about the Harris off-sets and webs but certainly don’t know every kind of letterpress ever made. My mistake.


Sandyd—As it happens I am interested in putting a Linotype machine into my “new” shop. And, as it happens, I have a friend who, strange as it may seem, has recently acquired (was given, actually) a Model 31 and a Model 8 (and a Ludlow) from one Midwest location and trucked it himself to his home in another Midwest state. Neither of us are currently in the business, as it were. We both have experience from long ago and just kind of love operating these behemoths. He decided, after considering the trouble and expense involved in putting two Linotypes into operation, that maybe he could get along with only one. Therefore he, like the good friend that he is, offered the Model 8 to me—-free (for nothing, gratis, nada). All I have to do is go and get it. ‘Going and ‘getting it is about a thousand long miles from my home, so my thinking now is that I’d be better off to have it freighted to where I live in the desert Southwest. God, in His infinite mercy and wisdom, only knows what that’s going to cost. I’m getting estimates from freight companies now to get some idea. This is a rather ‘round-about way of responding to your question. More than once I have seen offers by Linotype owners that if one will simply come get the machine, there’s no charge. I’ve seen other offers (none of which were physically anywhere close to where I’m located) that were really quite low—maybe $500 to $1,000. So generally I would say that the value of Linotype machines, per se, is not high. People like me are just as interested in saving these wonderful machines from the scap heap as for any other reason. I truly hope you find a buyer or someone who will take possession of these machines and I wish you luck doing so. Why can’t you live closer to me (just joking)? PRESSTIQUE

That Model 32 looks like a real nice machine and a current runner when the photo was taken. Appears to have a Star Quadder, gas pot and Monomelt (no pig furnace with that device). Pretty much equivalent to an Intertype C-4-4 (my first and current machine). Model 8 appears to have picked up a little flash rust, gas pot and Monomelt on that one too. Machines would be more appealing to a buyer if there are mats additional to ones on machine (presuming there are some on there). It will take a bit of time to find a home for these machines, and I won’t guarantee that, but somebody may take an interest in them. Aside from the value of the mats, there’s not a lot of call them. I would contact Dave Seat and let him know what you have, as he might know somebody looking for a particular machine.

Hopefully you can keep them out of the scrapyard. They’re in awfully nice condition to go to junk.

These machines, while large and complicated, are not beyond the skill set of somebody with a modicum of mechanical talent, and you’ll never have to handset 6 pt again, or spend zounds on plates when setting text work. I recommend more people give these a whirl.

Question to MIKEFROMMONTANA: Mike, you indicated that both of these machines are equipped with “Monomelts.” I’m somewhat familiar with Star Quadders, but know nothing about Monomelts. Would they, by chance, be designed for and used in such a fashion so that one would not have to have a furnace to clean up metal and recast it into pigs? Thanks , PRESSTIQUE

SandyD: Hi, I had another thought about addressing your question as to what the market value is of your two Linotype machines. I suggest you contact Larry Raid who is the owner/curator of The Working Linotype Museum in Denmark, Iowa. His email address is: [email protected] Larry and his gracious wife Mary have conducted for the last seven years what they call the “Linotype University,” which is a free, week-long, very intensive workshop on familiarization and operation of Linotype, Ludlow and hand presses. He has something like 30 or 40 Linotype and Intertype machines, as well as a Linograph linecaster (I’m not sure what the current count is) on-site and he is extremely knowledgeable in this field. I had the great pleasure of attending “Linotype University VII” last September and hope to be at the next gathering later this year. Good luck! PRESSTIQUE

Yes, a Monomelt is an additional pot atop the existing pot, allowing for the melting and fluxing of metal prior to it’s entry into the machine pot, thus the machine is always getting absolutely clean metal. I think there are some on-line resources out there. Lance Williams, who’s over on the LETPRESS list, has three or four of them running in his shop and could fill you in on how well they work.

“Would they, by chance, be designed for and used in such a fashion so that one would not have to have a furnace to clean up metal and recast it into pigs? Thanks , PRESSTIQUE

Bill Powers, please let your friends and relatives know that Missouri is straight south of Iowa and that if they are attending the univeristy, they could stop by and pick up their very own linotype. All kidding aside, I do appreciate the information on the university. I will certainly contact them. These machines are in working condition and are still set up, connected to gas lines and vents, etc. They are located in what used to be the parts department of my grandfather’s car dealership aka a manufacturing plant now and are on the first floor of the building. My sister informs me that we do have several drawers of type in another building at our farm. I will have to wait for warmer and drier weather to get pictures of these. We do have 2 additional hand presses in this same building, but I have no idea what condition they are in. You are right, we would rather find a home for these wonderful machines than send them to scrap, but we need to get this building cleaned out and eventually they will have to go somewhere. We would rather the machines and all their pieces parts go together rather than sell them separtely. I have more pictures which I will post shortly. Thanks to everyone for all their comments. Frankly, this has been part of our family and it is sad to see it go anywhere.

ok, here are some more pictures. My sister and I looked at the sides of the drawers and some of them do not say what kind of type are in them. We did find #5 English, #2 something, #6 English, 8 pt something in the 2 machines we have. Hopefully the weather will clear, the gound will dry and I can get pictures of the other items in the next couple of weeks.

image: furniture.JPG


image: model 8 mat showing english 5 type.JPG

model 8 mat showing english 5 type.JPG

image: mats with type.JPG

mats with type.JPG

image: inside the kluge.JPG

inside the kluge.JPG

image: coin and key for kluge or c & p press.JPG

coin and key for kluge or c & p press.JPG

I ran a bunch of different Linotype and Intertype machines for more than a hundred different companies from about 1955 through 1985. I was also a pretty fair machinist and could do almost any repairs required. I’m thinking about putting together a graphic arts museum in Southern Utah and would like to get my hands on a serviceable rig at a reasonable price. Or you can bend my ear if you have something interesting to say.