Trying to buy a Vandercook……what’s a fair price?

Hi there,

I have been renting studio time for all my printing and I’m researching the costs of a Vandercook because I eventually will want my own press. Either a #4 or a Universal I. The only reason why I’m particular to a Vandercook is because that’s what I learned on and I really like them but I’d be open to something else as long as the printing area is large enough (I print stationery). However, the responses I got the last time I posted in the “wanted” section were way out of my price range. People are wanting anywhere from $5k-10k. Is that crazy? I’m just wondering if that’s just what these presses go for now? I feel like not too long ago they were going for a few thousand, and before that they were even cheaper. I just don’t want to pay more than I have to obviously, but do I just need to deal with the fact that this is what Vandercooks sell for now…..any thoughts? Or does anyone know of a reputable dealer that I could see that could help me without me feeling like I’m getting ripped off? Thanks!

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In the later 1990’s, I bought a pristene SP20 from a printer for $250, which I think was a good price then. These days you would expect to pay $3000-5000 without blinking. The SP series is a bit over-valued in my opinion, because some of the older models seem to have been made better. Prices will vary on local demand, and condition. Best advice is to go to a reputable dealer like John Barrett, Don Black, or Dave Churchman, and pay what they ask - it will be a fair price.

That is unbelievable that you only paid that much! Argh….! Oh well, it is what it is…..I will contact those dealers, thanks for the info.

Vandercooks have increased quite a bit in price over the last decade - especially the SP series. Other less popular models, like the No.4, or 15-21 are probably better value. Most “production grade” Vandercooks are well over $1000 these days.

Most of the people I know who print stationery use a motorized, self-feeding platen press. You can probably get a couple of Heidelbergs for the cost of one Vandercook.

Thanks to all for your comments and help. km

I got interested in printing in 2008, I bought a press, restored it, and then lost the space I was hoping to use. In the interim we have been busy renovating our house. And, now that we are finished, I’m returning to my interest in printing. Thus, I am interested in what the current value in various parts of north america for various popular vandercook models…I’d be willing to travel.

Thanks to all for your comments and help. km has some very reasonable cylinder presses occaisionally, eg beautifully re conditioned Korrex, FAG, search under andruckpresse eg lovely machine from lettermax reduced to 1400 euros starting , might be cheaper to import, spoke to someone bought a press to states last year only cost 350 euros to crate up $750 on a container ship but the expensive bit was the transport from the docks, but some presses seriously only few hundred euros eg Nurnberg for 311 euros but needed a good clean up and de-rust …..

When I was looking for my Vandercook I too saw quite a bit of differences in price. However I took a night a search all of Craigslist and came a across of an well kept Universal III for $5,500. Only other cost was freight. This has been a great press for us and would gladly pay that again. However would not go over that price as I have seen smaller SP-15s go for $9k-$15k easily. Also check with Steve Robinson - Letterpreservation, he restores Vandercook and does a fantastic job: [email protected]

I second that steve robinson, i had one dealing with him and i must say he is a great person to deal with.