8x5 Kelsey on ebay w/ 6 days to go, $1295.00

Yes, that’s the bid ($1295.00) on an 8x5 Kelsey, with six days to go.

Kelsey 8x5 $1295. w/3 bidders and 6 days to go…$1295.00
KELSEY 8x5 (not a 5x8) Mercury Letterpress Printing Press Die Cut Emboss Ready to Print.


Of course it will print, die-cut, emboss, perforate, score. And it is seller-refurbished, including a red and silver paint job, to make this Kelsey resemble an Adana, including the Adana size (8x5) rather than the Kelsey size (5x8).
Belated P.T. Barnum birthday sale!

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die-cut, emboss, perforate, score?

Not likely on a 5x8 Excelsior. Such claims are really not good to see.

Yes, you could die-cut a short slit, or emboss a small image, and scoring really should not be a problem.

But to advertise *any* table top press to “die cut & emboss” seems a bit misleading.

Has anyone out there actually done die-cutting or embossing on *any* table top press? I’d like to see examples and a report to support this seller’s claim.

I queried a seller on eBay a few years ago who advertised a 3x5 Excelsior to “die cut, emboss” as per this listing.

When I went to place a bid I found that I had been excluded from bidding! Just for asking a question!

Not good form in my book…

- Al

This site is an ideal spot to find the gullible ,that is not a generalisation ,nor a proper description for the members but there are a lot of people that wont know what they are buying until they find it wont perform as sold . Hopefully people will keep asking the members first before they buy anything from E bay , it is not so easy to re ship a press even tabletop!!!
Like alan notes above, a hand press is hardly going to be man enough for much more than printing ,although i think a score or a crease is within the capabilities of a press of cast iron construction but not one that has pot metal construction , As for embossing on one i wouldnt have a go …
I just had a quick look , i would not even consider that as honest offer .. why is the pic not of a real machine ????

I have seen his work, and have a couple of his presses. They are some of the best I have ever seen. Look at his feed back he sells a lot of letterpresses. This year the 5x8 Kelsey has moved up to the most popular selling letterpress roller.

i have a 3x5 kelsey that i keep set up with a perforating rule for perfing tickets in half, it works quite well but i wouldn’t want to do much more on these little guys. as for embossing, it takes a lot of pressure to emboss, i never tried it on a kelsey and probably won’t. Alan, you saw the covers that i foil stamped on my 5x8 kelsey, the form took up the whole chase, the type was large and spread out but the little kelsey did a good job. I hate to tell you how i got my 5x8 kelsey, i grew up a couple of houses away from the local town dump, i was about 15 years old and had my 3x5 kelsey, one day the man that ran the dump called my house and told me someone threw out a print shop and if i wanted it i could come down and pull it from the trash. there was a 5x8 kelsey and a lot of smaller tools and stuff, i can’t believe what these are selling for today, even my 3x5 that my grandfather bought me for a birthday present only cost around $50 for the press and whole kit, 3 fonts of type and all the stuff needed to start printing.

todds presstime
I wasnt having a go at mr runfeldt nor any individual , if i want to do that i would do so offline and to the person of the subject . Sorry if that miss led anyone !!

Not miss led just saying, Truth is a lot of these small presses are going to females to do there scrap booking stuff and they do die cut on them a lot of it is foam like material. My sister in law borrows my presses and has her friends come over to make stuff and I do not think any of them have a clue what letterpress is about. and they prefer the lighter smaller presses. I think they like a shiny presses better too. just saying

Read this post and stop picking on that seller. That is the cost these days. Just look at LetterPreservation, T&T, The Churchman’s, etc.
Kelsey’s are not made of pot metal, they are cast iron just like the bigger presses such as a C&P.
Al, why would you want to buy a press….don’t you sell them? Shouldn’t you be getting your own orders out? And stop being jealous about someone who clearly does a better restoration job than you. Your rollers are never the correct size to the trucks…you say tape the trucks…on brand new rollers? You shouldn’t have to tape anything if it is new. Where is your pal Lou and all his pilots? He said he has so many he was going to start an airline. Todd’s rollers and trucks are perfect every time.

As someone new to this community, I’ve got to agree with Girl with a Kluge here.

I looked at a lot of wildmh2000’s listings when I thought I didn’t have enough room for a floor press, and he does some of the cleanest, most thorough restorations I’ve seen. Buying one of those is as close to buying a brand new table top press as is possible these days.

You can debate whether a full restoration like that is required for printing (it probably isn’t), and you can debate the press’s ability to emboss, but I don’t think questioning the quality of wildmh2000’s work, or the price paid for it is what this forum is for.

He does good work, and it is an auction, so fair market price will be paid for such presses. If people are willing to compensate him for the amount of time he spent cleaning and restoring, then let them. He’s not swindling anyone. He does such a good job one commenter above thought it wasn’t even a real press!

I’ve seen these types of jealousies and attitudes in other areas (vintage bikes, photography), and it really is sad. The people that buy these presses will most likely become more serious printers, or customers of more serious press shops. Do we want to go back to the time when someone would have to go to a museum to learn about letterpress?

If a customer came to you with a job that included 10 runs through the press, hot foil stamping, embossing and scoring, etc, would you try to convince them that all that work is “unnecessary”? Or would you calculate up all the time it took to do that, and the cost of all your materials, and then charge them a price? Wildmh2000 doesn’t even set his prices!!

If people are willing to pay for what they want, we shouldn’t tell them that they are stupid, or blind. Unless you can provide a similar service for cheaper, then these criticisms ring hollow.

While not a Kelsey, I have done diecutting and embossing on my C&P Pilot press, and I would say that you could do some such work on a Kelsey as well. You would have to be careful of the pressures used, and probably could not emboss extra-heavy cover stock, but they certainly can be used for such work.

Some readers may have seen or used the Henry Compressible Gage pins I make. These are diecut using my C&P Pilot. It is a simple die, and I can leave the press set up for it as I rarely use the Pilot for much beyond demonstrations and for visitors to use. This application involves diecutting through polycarbonate, foam and paper liner to create individual pieces. What is created is a finished gage pin, and I have produced several thousand of the pins in this manner. The pressures required for this die-cut image is very small, and there is no particular stress to the press when using a sharp die.

John Henry

All I have to add is this: that Kelsey looks beautiful. Amazing restoration job. I figure it’s worth the money. Wow.


(no comment on the embossing, cutting, etc)

The last time I talked to Craig Black (at Don Black Linecasting here in Toronto), they were selling Kelsey 5x8s for $1800, refurbed and with new rollers.

While doing your own refurb work is a joy for some of us, there seem to be lots of folks out there who don’t mind paying a premium for having it done for them. And if taking something of little value (like a worn-out rusty press) and putting value into it (through knowledge and sweat) isn’t good economic sense, I don’t know what is.

So, rather than running down folks with a keen appreciation (read: willing to pay lots) for easy-to-store presses, let’s encourage the interest!

I’m waiting for anyone who wants to sell me their old rusty garage-sale-found press for $50. Funny, they all seem to be keen on keeping them, for all that they are apparently so common…

Serious post, and I can handle everything, from the falling off the chair with laughter, including “the man is cracked” up to the one(s) that possibly have laughed first, and then thought just maybe!? Goes thus for a long time a little maggot has been boring into the brain, suggesting why dont we design and make a powerful hydraulickly operated table top machine bigger Adana size machine, O K so far but recently an unusual machine arrived, at the working museum print shop, which incorporated a mechanical ram, on the platen which actually ends up as parallel approach and far more powerful than pro rata size adana. Admittedly it had a steel frame, and was possibly for die stamping and or hot foiling. From my pathetic description I would welcome identification, but thats a side issue. My possibly silly idea goes thus, the main frame is made from 3 3/4 inch or thicker steel plates spaced and welded up wider than the main frame of the larger adana, that is line bored to carry one main fulcrum rod on which the platen arcs. The bed is carried with adana style mountings and impression screws, and made from stainless steel and ground. A train buffer style post takes the place of the usual impression handle, then between that and the platen, is inserted an ordinary common or garden hydraulic slave cylinder from your chevvy day van or similar. Then the vacuum unit all so from your van truck or whatever, is mounted on the floor, foot operated as normal, The last main component is any tiny vacuum pump, ex print down frame, or what you will, to power the master cycilnder. All of the units involved would be standard car/auto parts of the shelf, or plundered from your car breakers. Virtually all other components are contributed from (for example) machines with busted main frames etc. The main thrust of these posts. Likewise standard rollers from normal suppliers. As previous FALL ABOUT WITH LAUGHTER BY ALL MEANS but then possibly just possibly, for a few seconds think! could this concept end up as a small very powerful machine.

Thank you, Mick, for at least offering an alternative, I’m not laughing one bit here, evidently Stan is stuck in a bitter miserable state less than helpful or creative, especially since this forum is for the betterment of an almost extinct art.

I have been working on, and with platen press machines for 40+ years, every size, make and model, from simple image reproduction to very complex combination high speed print/foil/emboss/score/cut, on substrates ranging from .005’ polyester to 1/8 inch board.

These small bench top machines, in question here on this forum, are excellent for folks needing the platen process on a small scale, for a wide variety of applications, those whom are not fortunate to have access or space for the large machines.

I have a collection of small lever presses that are still used today to emboss official seals on to documents, the platen and bed size is usually less than 1 and 1/2 inch in diameter, yet these little devices, with their toggle action, produce a deep impression every time. Certainly, when properly set up, made ready and employed, the venerable Kelsey 8” x 5” platen toggle machine will do the same.

Willie Nelson has an old guitar with holes in it, he makes millions of dollars every time he picks it up and strums out a ditty. It’s not necessarily the guitar, it’s more Willie doing his thing.

I know on old seasoned pressman who had a small platen press, he said it was no good and sent it for scrap. He received $ 3.25 for the machine. He was dismayed to see the same machine later sell for $1725.00 at on line auction, he is still a bit bitter, but he will need to get over it someday, the industrious lady whom purchased the machine is very creative, and has been able to enlist a great deal of advice and assistance from some wonderful veterans of the trade, and has thus become quite successful with her endeavor, furthering the cause of this very site and its members.

A good clean workable machine is invaluable, they simply are not available at Walmart, so let the American system of commerce do it’s thing, and please, Stan, offer some alternatives, rather than just continually firing shots at someone or something you simply do not comprehend.

The press Mick refers to is an AJAX its a revolting shade of bright light blue , the ram like bit appears to be keeping the platen in the correct orientation and prevent movement in any direction but back and forth . I have no proper reason for thinking it but i believe it may be recently built ,its made of aluminium or similar alloy with some steel bits , it looks business like if nothing else .

Thanks charles for the non laughing little support. But its moved on a little already, not sure how he found me, but a friend from along time ago, has had a good laugh at my expense, he knows that from 140 miles away theres not much chance of the friendly house brick through the window, which was always the standard threat, in jest of course. But after a long dip into the past, he has sort of thrown down a challenge, like our “put your money were your mouth is” but in this case, see if your expertise is as good as your clap trap. Thats possibly 2 house bricks behind the seat of my van, but he has been a little bit constructive, by saying that he, with his spare adana will try to crush a piece of copper tube, simulating heavy impression, and then eventually (if it transpires) can my hydraulic do better. I gotta try now. Watch this space during the winter!!!!!

more power to the seller

but i do think the bidders are daft

its a blinking Kelsey
sure its a very pretty Kelsey
but will it really be used
or will it be put on display

apprenticed back in the 60s
nothing on the shop floor
ever was this clean

its a display piece

anybody willing to root around a bit
can find a better press
not as pretty but a better tool of a press
three years ago picked up a clean
Craftsman 5X8 at a yard sale for 150 bucks

next month am driving out east to pick up
a free Pearl
figure will take about 80 hours work
to get it all cleaned up fixed and running

people willing to spend this kind of money
for a Kelsey
don’t seem to me like people
that are willing to get their hands dirty

can spot a real printer by looking
at their hands

Ink should be on the ink disk, rollers or paper…not on your hands….duh. If it’s on your hands then it is also on your paper. I thought I washed my hands a lot when I was a waitress…but not nearly as much as I do, as a printer. If you are getting ink on your hands when you are washing the press up, rubber gloves work wonderfully to keep it off your paws.

How many men buy expensive tools on this list? Don’t you think “Girls” want some some nice things too? Do you think husband is going to let the wife spend hard earned money on a rusty press that may or may not function? I certainly am not going to place a rusty, seized up letterpress on my kitchen table and try to print. We also like bling! Bling is good, it’s like cosmetics or pretty jewelery….most people prefer bling over plainness.

Have you seen the lettra that is the “cat’s meow”? It is expensive….you better not be putting ink fingerprints on your paper, or you can’t sell it.

Kelsey is an American icon.

Stan, you really have never offered anyone on here any support or shared your knowledge. You just *^%@&# and complain. See http://www.briarpress.org/30376#comment-37402 for an example, or read any of his comments he has posted in the past.

Al, don’t you sell kelseys? Isn’t your site called Excelsior Press….isn’t that a kelsey? Are you bashing the same press that you sell?

My first press was a kelsey….I have still have it and use it all the time. At first, I used it for die cutting, because the rollers had melted and the mice ate what was left. I used an old aluminum cake pan lid, cut to size with tin snips, for a die cutting jacket to protect the platen.. I also cold emboss with it very successfully. Perforating, kiss cutting, and printing is also not, hard to do with a kelsey. ANY platen press can do all of the things the seller said it will do. It’s all about the toggle action on any platen press. If it doesn’t toggle over on impression you aren’t going to be doing anything productive on that press. Each of my boys have their own kelsey press. We get all three set up. And start production. Ink on one, second color ink on the next press, and then finishing work on the third press either a diecut or an emboss. I can show anyone how to do this on their own press. Send me a note if you want pictures.

Your free press…how much in gas to pick it up, buy rollers and other needed parts, your labor? Doesn’t really look free anymore.

i want pictures. i know girls like expensive things so i try to but my wife a font or two of ludlow mats each month. last year i got her about a ton and a half of lead. i know its a lot but she is worth it.

hahaha dick, wish I had married you. Remember that 3x5 kelsey chase you FILLED with type and sent for my son….you have pictures and the printed ticket, silly rabbit. Utube takes a super long time to upload videos, and I don’t know how to resize pictures I have already taken, but a friend on here has reduced mine in the past for posting. I will change my camera settings and snap some photos for all the inquiring minds on here and post a new thread to prove to the naysayers. My foreman used to tell me he could train a monkey to run the 40” inch miller major…so I don’t think it would be a problem to teach anyone how to print, diecut, perf, crease, or emboss.

Bid is up to 1725.00 Time is running out

Two hours to go…$3,550.00.
Don’t know what this is all about.
Perhaps some one can explain.

“Perhaps some one can explain.”

Stan, it’s a shiny one.


I’m going to Disney!

Someone has more money than sense…

maybe it comes with plates to print 100’s.

nobody that bided
had more than 24 feedbacks
one bidder had 0

the wining bid came from somebody
with only 7 feedbacks

now that ebay has anonymous bidding
you can’t tell who may or may not
be playing a shill game

Here is a good deal:


Could this be PT Barnum’s ex partner Bailey? Did they have a falling out perhaps?

Or, is it the ghost of PT hiding behind a sonzabear?

No one will ever know, because eBay will make certain that these shills will continue with their shell game. No one out there can identify these scoundrels, this is a crime.

No this is the mould making blank produced for making the sand moulds to cast a press , i think its one of Lou,s the guy who gets all the stick , i have seen this” machine” on his site , it looks from the text with the add like he is selling up his Order book with the pattern as well , or passing on a few outraged promisees !!

Oh, I see, thank you.