The going rate

Found a stash of wood type at an antique mall. 2.5 to 3 inches tall. Lots of it. Didn’t have time to look it over real close, but wondered what a fair price would be per letter. Is that how wood type is usually sold? Thanks!

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Oh you lucky duck. i went through every antique mall in my area last weekend and couldn’t find a thing. ah well!


What’s it worth, or what’s it bringing? Those are the two big questions. I picked up 10 full drawers, with letters nudged side by side for $200 a year ago. I also got a Kelsey, and a small Showcard press in the mix. Offer the person one lump sum. You don’t want to get into the per piece game. I have a friend back home who is convinced that I should be paying him no less that $5 per piece, no matter the size. Buy it all if you can.

That’s what I thought, on not getting into a “per piece” issue. THey are obviously marketing them to be glued into little signs and things. YIKES!! She also has a *lot* of lead. We’re talking maybe 7 trays full of wood type or so. That’s a guess. They’re really scattered. The smallest is about an inch, the tallest about 3 inches. Will keep you posted.

The other “problem” in trying to acquire enough type this manner to build a useable font, is that because this is being sold this way, there is a great probability that a lot of sorts might already be missing or greatly reduced by people that have already started picking away at the type. It may appear to be a good deal, but if there aren’t many or any vowels for instance, you won’t have much to “work” with. Let the buyer beware.

Updated. Before eBay downgraded the value of just about everything (except heretofore unknown collectibles), wood type was valued at $2 per vertical inch per character (dealer pricing). Though if you were lucky, as they say, you might have gotten it for much much less.

Other side of the coin. What would you sell it for?


Not sure if this merits a separate topic heading, but papermaking, metal typecasting and cutting wood letter are all closely associated crafts to printing. Has anyone reading this experimented with cutting wood letter? In essence it seems fairly simple if you have a wood router and also have or can jig up a pantograph.