I’m not upset


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Hi, Enriquevw!

It makes me feel a little less sad to hear that someone else has had a similar experience.
I was at an old print shop in southern Iowa while I was looking for letterpress articles and such. I asked the proprieter if he would sell me his C&P 8x12… He said it would be the entire shop or nothing. I went back there after a year or so only to find that he had sold the press for scrap iron and gotten rid of everything else.

Oh, and thank you for posting that Pic!

Call bindery tools, they have old presses and they ship

@picaandpress. That is exactly my fear. That I’ll ask him about it in a year or so, and he’ll tell me they used it for bonfire wood!! aarrrggg.

Might have been a 14.5x22” C&P. That’s the largest they ever made.

Just be nice and be patient. Good things happen.



I can’t tell you how many times I have made offers for print shops, even Hamilton Wood Type, only to have my offer rejected and discover later that it sold for the exact same price. Unfortunately with the renewed interest in letterpress the prices now represent the competition for what is left. I have built my shop pretty much one font at a time as I could afford it. It has taken 30 years, but I finally have the shop I always wanted.

A friend observed once that he thought I had the best of the best, but he wasn’t there when I bought an incomplete font here, and another from another source, and had to makeready by putting bits of tape under individual letters. He wasn’t there when (as I did tonight) picked through mouse droppings and lint to have a few more brasses and coppers that I can use. He missed it when I spend sunny afternoons repainting the fronts of my green metal Hamilton 2/3 cases grey to match the empty cabinets I was lucky enough to find in Chicago 15 years ago, and it only took 10 years to find enough cases to fill them.

Be patient, good things will happen for you, it just takes time. And money. And a tolerant spouse. And more money.


Paul, that tolerant spouse line cracked me up, you are so, so, so, right. Dick G.

Welcome to the world of people who dont use it but wont part with it , i have a long list of those and i ring them every year or so and the story is always similar !!
I knew of a couple of garages filled with type but could not get the owner to accept an offer of £100.per case , the reason was he claimed that he could get more for it , i know it was scrapped and there was probably twenty tons of it , however the guys who cleared it got most of that for shifting it all and they made £70.00 per ton , Now i just shift kit to install for companys i know but i still keep an eye for kit rotting in corners !!

I can’t believe my eyes!!!! I have dozens of fonts of metal and wood I don’t use. That isn’t the same as I should sell them to anyone just because they want them. My equipment is my private property and I decide watt to do with it. Because I don’t want to sell one day doesn’t mean that I don’t want to sell the day after. Things and life will change. The main part of my collection is from old print shops here in Denmark – a bit from here and a bit from there. All collected within the last 20 years. I have also tried to contact people with a lot of treasures in their garages and basements just to know that it wasn’t for sale that day. That’s life!
Be patient there is so much equipment out there. Letterpress printing is like deer hunting – and sometimes you miss the deer! It’s sad but that’s a part of the game.
Gott grüß die Kunst

BTW, this doesn’t mean that I don’t sell or give some equipment away now and then – I do! I use a lot of time helping others to equip their studios and I’m a big fan of circulation and that unused stuff shall be used - including my own collection.
Sorry if I was a little too harsh :-)
Gott grüß die Kunst

I agree that everyone gets to sell or not sell their goodies as the whim strikes or the occasion inspires.

I did have (however) a scarring experience a couple of years ago. A guy advertised some type and presses about two hours away from me, in western Wisconsin. I called, and we agreed on a price and a time for me to come pick it all up.

My tolerant spouse, who works about 100 hours a week and rarely has a day off, gave up an afternoon to come along for the cause, as I knew I couldn’t lift it all myself.

So we drive the two hours to get there, and the guy informs us he’s had a telephone offer from someone else from out of state, for a thousand dollars above what we had agreed on.

I didn’t have it, and was so angry at this double-dealing that I wouldn’t have enjoyed all this stuff even if I had gotten it. This guy had my cell phone number, too—he could have called at any time, at least sparing us the full drive.

We returned home with nothing. In my view, that guy sold his integrity for $1,000.

@bogtrykkeren and everyone, just to clarify:

of course, everyone’s free to keep their stuff and not use it.

i was just upset that he had his type full of dust and grime, evidently unused for years, but claiming that he uses it often, and thus not selling it.. still he’s free to do whatever he wants..

it will still upset me not being able to buy it :)

@Pressingtheadana, what’s a wind up?

And there is the other side of the situation.
I had a person contact me about a press as he wanted to get into letterpress printing.
The only press I had available at that time had to be repaired and he wanted to have a treadle installed.
I repaired the press ordered a treadle from Hern Iron Works.
With the press ready to print, a test print done, I called this person asking where he wanted it delivered and was told ” I’m no longer interested goodbye”. This after multiple phone calls and several visits to my shop.
I don’t believe I was being unreasonable on the press
it was C&P 10X15 and I asked $750 with the new treadle installed.
It looks to me it is not buyer versus seller or seller versus buyer, It’s just people being people.

I would echo the cries for patience. All in all, in my experience printers are a generous lot, and I’ve done what I can to mimic the same generosity to people getting started around my area. I am sure that I could have sold things I’ve given away for at least something, but so could all the folks who have given me things for shipping, or completely free.

(Plus: time is what it is, right? I just this past month installed a treadle on my C&P that was given to me over a year ago for shipping…hobby folks move slow, I think.)

Best of luck. If you drive through Columbus & swing by, I’ll send you home with something…


also: reddit + lettepress = reddipress?

A few weeks ago, I visited a warehouse in the suburbs of Paris, somebody told me that there was equipment and type for sale. When I saw the list, I couldn’t believe my eyes. 181 cases of woodtype, the complete French print history in woodtype! Hundreds of cases of metal type, 4 Stanhope presses, 11 treadle platen presses, guillotines, 2 litho presses, 7-8 proof presses. The man selling it was only interested in making a lot of money out of the material that he had been given by printers that closed down. His pretext was to start a museum. In the end I managed to wrangle two cases of woodtype out of him, but not more. He reckons he can make more by the selling the woodtype on markets, to people who like to have their name in type on the fireplace. Nothing to do there, you just have to live what that. Other opportunities will arise, keep looking…

@thomas, I feel you. And seriously, your story makes me feel less bad. I hope by some reason he changes his mind and finally decides to sell it to you.

Wait.. 181 cases of wood type? 7 or 8 proof presses? Who is this guy? The Letterpress lord?

Thanks for posting, Enrique. Anecdotes like that help to paint a realistic picture of the market for letterpress things. It runs the gamut. I’ve gone to printers to buy one little thing, and have had them shove things in my trunk — for free, one after another — until it couldn’t hold any more. I’ve seen eight cabinets — cabinets! — of like-new type, left out in the rain for years so that only a few cases were not warped shut, waiting for the scrap man to pick them up because no printer (including me) had the resources to take them. Heartbreaking! You can only do so much. Maybe if you continue visiting the print shop on your trips home you will become a friendly, familiar face and the owner will have a change of heart.

Fellow Redditor here, Rich. Dangerous site when you should be cleaning and organizing your shop.


Am I sensing the start of a letterpress Sub-Reddit?

So.. today I continued my search and research for the holy grail of wood type in my home town.
A couple of phrases I’m quickly getting tired of are:

“What do you want it for?”
“That’s obsolete.”
“You are not going to find it.”

We have a saying in spanish, which is from the latin “”Qui Patitur Vincit”, meaning: “That who perseveres, succeeds”, or you could also say: “Good things come to those who wait”

That’s why I’ll take a couple cans of patience and tolerance towards the people I encounter, because I’ve come across some real pieces of work, but on the other hand, I’ve come across some real nice people.

Anyways.. that’s the status so far: zero, nada..

I’m going to visit an old town near here, maybe I’ll have better luck there.

Good night, everyone.

This is ridiculous. I have some 7” wood type I’ve NEVER used because I don’t have anything large enough to print with it, but I still don’t want to sell it. I also have a 1949 Harley Panhead that I haven’t rode in about 3 years, but I don’t want to sell it either. Why do you think that someone is obligated to sell you something they own just because you want it? They didn’t advertise it for sale, did they? You just walked in and said “sell it to me”, right? This is the “they should sell it to me because I want it more than they do” attitude. The reason people want to keep the stuff they own is none of your business. Would you walk into somebody’s home and ask to buy something and then get angry when they tell you to get lost? Grow up.


Just responding to your original post. I have to absolutely agree with smokeynewton.

Imagine someone walking into your place and asking to buy this and that. If you actually want to sell this and that, and let the community know about it, fine. But…

Seriously, what the H do you think you are doing? Saving letterpress? Probably not by a long shot.


I probably should add this. If you even get into one of these old time letterpress shops, you should get down on your knees, and try to learn from the goings on in the shop rather than scavenge what you think has worth. I can tell right off the bat, those old guys know a hell of a lot more than you about it all. Pay attention to them.



@smokeynewton, I totally agree with you, actually.
And no, smokeynewton, that was not my attitude, it was one of humbleness, and asking simply for what I was looking for.
Actually talking to another printer last night, he told me that that specific printer is known for being very arrogant.
So I wasn’t way off.. and he’s not even the printer, he’s the owner.. the one who knows the craft it the operator.. but he wouldn’t let me talk directly to him.

@Gerald, you are right. I’m not saving anything not by a long shot.. not even local letterpress history. It’s by far gone.
I should add though, that no one else will try to save anything of the sort here, you can have my word on that.



I just want to add.. don’t take me THAT seriously!

Come on, maybe yes, I’m young(er) and immature..

This were just some feelings, I might have exaggerated…

Also the image, is supposed to be funny.. it’s a meme..

I appreciate all of your advice.. believe me my attitude is not of arrogance, cockiness or greediness like you might imagine… if that were the case I wouldn’t probably be allowed into their shops right away.
I’ve already been given some stuff for free, and I don’t think it was for having a bad and disrespectful attitude.

Maybe I get carried away in my feelings easily, because I haven’t seen that much in my life yet.. and even my home town, I didn’t know it would still have anything.

Maybe I’ll just write a long story on my journal, accompanying the research I’m doing.
I’m also marking every pirnt shop on a map.

Finally, I do see how my post struck some chords.. I’m sorry guys! That was not my intention..

I guess was just being a spoiled little brat here on the forum.

I apologize..

Happy Holidays!!!

Absolutely! I have many things in my collection. I am not ready to part with them. Some things I am still discovering. What I inherited from my father plus buying rom other printers. Many times when I have gone to purchase something they wind up giving me far more than I imagined for less that I thought. They are happy to see someone interested. But treat people with respect and dignity and you will go further in life. Some friends of mine have an all letterpress shop. I go to see them often. I saw a 6 x 10 Kesley in the corner collecting dust. I mentioned that if they would like to sell it to let me know. They didn’t know what they were going to do with it so they didn’t do anything. Several months ago they were at my house , he went out to his car and came back carrying that press! Just gave it to me! Happy Birthday! Those older printers are truly a generous bunch. But the most valuable thing they will give you is Friendship and knowledge.

Also I want to add that I don’t live in my hometown. I’m here for the holidays, so I wanted to find stuff and salvage them not save them.
I can guarantee you most of what’s here will be going to the scrapyard very soon… that’s the way it goes and you know it.. and I know it.

I don’t know if I told you about another printer.

Truly nice person, he showed me all of his shop, he let me have 2 packs of 12 gauge pins for free. And gave me some addresses to continue my search. I went there on a thursday. He had gotten rid of ALL his type on tuesday.
All scraped. He’s probably the person who had the most type in this town. About 18 chivalets (cabinets, that’s what they are called here).
Sad stories.

And where I actually live there’s this nicest man, who is the owner of an old shop. We have shared great conversations, he has told me the history of his shop. We’ve shared good laughs and cigarettes. (He’s 88 and still smokes)
Then there’s also this guy, who is a real character… he’s also a great friend, he often comes to my shop and helps me with whatever I’m doing…
I appreciate their friendships more than whatever they could ever give me or sell me..

I am a nice guy.. really.

The one thing that I found to be invaluable over the years, when I visited print shops, was to have a few samples of my own work with me. Even early on, when my “stuff” wasn’t particularly good, I would at least have something that immediately identified me as a printer (or at least trying to be a printer!) and that would usually loosen things up. A lot of people are very leary of folks just showing up to glean their jewels only to sell them at a flea market, etc.

If you can demonstrate that you are passionate and seriously want to use/preserve what they have, their attitude immediatley improves.

I once responded to an ad of type for sale. Got there and what they were willing to sell I did not want and what I would have liked they still wanted to keep. On my way out I stopped to show them a few samples of what I do and said I am always really looking for the quant old stuff. At that point the owner said “There’s a bunch of old stuff in the basement, but you wouldn’t want to go down there because everything is filthy and moldy.” NO PROBLEM! I always have overalls, flashlights, etc. with me when I go looking for type.

He was right. It was absolutely disgusting down there (their basement had flooded a few times)….but I did manage to find quite a few warped and moldy cases of ornamental 19th-century fonts. BINGO!!!! I hauled the first few up the stairs and was going to lay them on his counter so we could talk about price.

He said don’t even think about trying to lay those filthy cases down on anything upstairs, and to just keep walking out to my truck and put them in it!!!! I gladly made several trips back to the basement to haul all of the crown jewels out of there.

I know they probably thought I was absolutely crazy, because was I was smiling ear to ear the whole time.

Having samples of your own stuff probably is even more critical nowadays with lots more non-printers on the prowl for wood type, etc.

That’s probably the best advice I can give.


Rick, thank you. That’s a beautiful story, and good advice.
Actually makes sense. I get asked a lot that. What do you want it for?
I haven’t produced much work. But if I had thought ahead, I could have brought samples with me. I only brought one.
That might or might not be enough.
But it’s worth the shot.

What do you know? This guy I went to see today.. I told him I’d bring some of my work so he’d know what I’m trying to accomplish. And he understood perfectly. He’s going to try and get me some wood type. (Hopefully he’ll get me some).
And he even knows Fritz, and the briarpress community :)
It was very invigorating talking to him. He really appreciated the kind of work I’m trying to do.

:) Thanks, Rick, and everyone for your support.

Glad that you are making progress!
One thing that I have learned, Respect. One of the most important things you can possibly show to fellow printers and possible sellers. No doubt you are already doing this.

I’m 16 years old and I have gotten pretty far by just doing what I say I am going to do and Respecting other people and their things.
Thank you for keeping us posted and Good luck to you on your journey to letterpress treasures!

Merry Christmas!