Fair purchase price?

Hi Everyone,

I am looking for a little guidance regarding an opportunity to purchase a Chandler and Price 12x8 flatbed press. The current owner reports that it is in working order.

What questions should I ask the current owner? Provided that the press in good condition, what would be considered a fair price? There is also a 1950 Heidelberg available, is this considered a better press? I am new to the world of letterpress with only one introductory course and a chest full of printer’s blocks, so any guidance you could provide would be much appreciated!


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Hi Lindsey,

First, a 8” x 12” Chandler and Price press is a platen press rather than a flatbed press. If you are a beginner it should be a great press to learn upon. A Heidelberg platen weighs about a ton more, takes up much larger floorspace, and is a difficult press to operate if you have no prior experience. If you know someone who is knowledgeable about C&Ps you might have them take a look. Otherwise you should look for breaks or welds, shape of the rollers, and inquire about its working history (if known). An extended conversation with the owner might reveal a lot about the press and its operation.

I guess the days of buying a C&P for $25 is over, but condition and location can have quite an effect of the value of a press. If it is a relatively easy to transport location and is in decent shape $500 or $600 seems like a fair price.


Hi Paul,

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I will be going tonight to see the press tonight. There is also a Dayton paper cutter. I am really excited, I have been looking for press for a few years!


Quick update if anyone out there is available. I recently found out that this is an entire print shop that was recently still in operation. There is a C&P 12x8, a Heidelberg, a Dayton paper cutter, all sorts of furniture and type, paper, etc.

I desperately want to make this gentleman an offer this evening, but I do not know what would be considered fair. I do not want to insult him with something too low, but I also do not want to overpay. Any help would be much appreciated.


Do you have enough room to store everything? If not, it might be smart to cherry-pick the pieces you want and let the owner worry about the rest of it.

It seems like this shop might not be the easiest to move for a beginner. I’m only familiar with Dayton cutters which weigh at least 4 tonnes and are hydraulically operated. Do you have somewhere to store it or the ability to move it? Rigging a Windmill is doable but pretty tricky, a huge cutter or other equipment that needs to be moved is a different question.

Lindsey, be prepared to pay several thousand dollars (at least) more in moving costs, assuming you do it professionally. I recently moved an entire shop, including an old guillotine, SP20 and Windmill, plus 8 cabinets of type. Cost was around $4k.

Thanks everyone for your input. I do have the space for everything and was expecting that I would be looking somewhere in the 2500 - 4000 mark. I get the impression from the owner that he just wants it all out of the space (he is a landlord and someone just abandoned everything). My only concern is the moving, however I do have access to a towtruck (complete with driver!) and a lot of pretty handy men.

Anyways, I was up against one other interested party and he is going to confirm everything with him tomorrow morning. It breaks my heart because I really wanted the C&P. Oh well, if it does not go through, I may be back with more questions!

Thanks everyone,