Linotype magazines?

I met a guy recently who has some Linotype matrix magazines for sale, and I’m wondering what a reasonable price would be for these? They are clean and well cared for and were in use until three years ago. Typefaces include some mid-century gothics, as well as Bodoni, Baskerville and Caslon. Sizes range from 8 - 18 points. I would be very grateful for any help you can offer.

Thank you,

Craig Malmrose

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Hi Craig,

I recently attended “Linotype University” in Denmark, Iowa, and asked Larry Raid (the ‘dean’) about your question. His answer through email:

“To answer your email message about the price of Linotype mats, which are For Sale, that is very hard to do.

When I get a Linotype, all of the mats go with the machine.

To purchase a font of mats from a dealer, they are priced as to the demand for that particular font. They can go from just above scrap ($1.25 per pound) up to $500.00 for the one font.

A font of mats, like I have come up with, while at a show this year, ALL OF THE CAPITAL Ts came up missing. I will have to pay $1.00 per mat to get six of those mats, plus shipping. Usually, there are up to 19 mats in a magazine.

With 91 channels in a magazine and up to 19 per channel, that is 1929 mats. I can not afford $1929.00 for a font of mats.

Brand NEW mats from a mat producer will charge up to $25.00 per mat or more, depending up on mat.

All three of the fonts you mention are highly desired fonts. One of those fonts of from a mat dealer, will ask for $100.00 per font for that one size plus shipping.

BUT, you would be able to use that font for millions of castings, and it (the font) will work perfectly.”

I hope this helps. I wish I’d spent more time at your print shop while an undergrad at ECU, but I’m getting quite an education in letterpress printing out here at the U of Iowa Center for the Book!

Jessica White

Wow! What a bizarre rambling “answer” from Larry. Fast-and-loose with the numbers too. 19x91=1,729 not 1,929 and all 91 channels do NOT have the maximum 19 mats. Some have less than a handful (Z, for instance). Not being a Linotype or Intertype person, but having been around them often enough, I would guess that there are less than 1,000 mats in a magazine.

Yes, the particular face/size has a lot to do with its desirability and therefore its value or price, but another determining factor is the overall shape of the mats themselves. Good clean mats are one matter, and worn-out hairline-cracked mats are entirely another. Some have been used-to-death and are way beyond their prime.

I’ll let someone with more expertise and experience in buying linecdasting mats step in here to answer this question. I do know that the price of brass has escalated greatly recently and a lot of this stuff has been scrapped because of that.

Pay as little as possible. I’d start offering $50.00/magazine full of mats. If that doesn’t work, go a little higher. Sooner or later you and the seller will come to agreement.
Good idea to see that all channels have mats and if possible run them out to check the mats; don’t want chewed up ears etc.

I recently sold some mats at a scrap yard and was paid only 46 cents a pound. Magazines with less than 1000 mats in them are usually three-quarter splits or half-splits. Most fonts are 1200 plus. I have a C-4 Intertype with arount 120 magazines of type. Are they still worth anything or just scrap.

Wow!! I can see the price of a font of mats is all over the lot. I have some fonts (short and full) that are brand new and over 20 years old and still in the box.

I am looking for a ball park price on today’s market. The faces are primarily Helvetica and Hel lite. There may be some other faces. They have been in my attic all that time and I have to dig them out and inventory them. Sizes are mostly 9 and 10 point.

Can someone give me an idea of the price?

Thank you.

Sammy G.

Hard to tell the value of things. There was a couple large fonts of Kennerly that went well over $200 on Ebay.

The big problem with buying mats is that you don’t know what condition they are in and the difficulty in assessing if they have hairlines or not. I would not consider $1.00 a pound for less common/useful faces to be out of line, with good book faces being worth more. But it all revolves around condtion, condition, condition.

Another question is if the mats are being sold in a large lot. If I was able to find 20 fonts for $500, and was assured they were good, I’d buy them right quick. I guess (phooey) that it all depends.

Still, better to sell them to another operator for scrap prices than to scrap them.


The fonts I have are brand new and all are contrasted. Let me know if you are interested.

Our museum has the opportunity to acquire an Intertype that was once in use in our small town at our local paper. Does anyone know how much this unit weighs? We need to plan shoring for our floor.

Figure somewhere around 3000 pounds, possibly a little less and possibly a bit more. How many magazines does the machine have (C-2, C-3, C-4). Does it have auxilliary magazines (C-4-4 etc)? Basically, the more magazines or special functions (mixers F or G series) the more the unit will weigh.
My C-4-4 came out of a old fire station (one-time home of the group I acquired it from) and was situated on a 3/4 tongue and groove floor, with 2 x 10s spreading the weight out. That particular machine probably weighs 3800 pounds loaded, this on the “Universal” style base. A star base machine will have even more concentrated floor loadings.
If you are concerned about your floor structure, not only will you need to shore it up underneath, but you will need to reinforce the floor for the distance you are bringing the machine in from an entryway.

The machine should have a plate above the assembler which will have the serial number and the model type. If you have technical inquiries, I would recommend the Intertypeworld list at