S G Type founders Leipzig

I have had in my possession for many years, and used on a regular basis, some illuminated two-colour drop caps. I have tried to obtain information regarding the foundry responsible for their manufacture. They are very old and the pin mark says S G Leipzig. I wonder if anyone has any information. (see attached)

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J.G. Schelter & Giesecke is the company. They also made the Phoenix line of heavy art platens, as well as proof and cylinder presses. I borrowed a G&S catalog and copied the most interesting pages, but those particular initials aren’t in that catalog.
According to the late Bill Elliget’s page about their Windsbraut cylinder press (anybody have the url?), they started founding type in 1819, and maufacturing equipment in 1827.

I have an undated catalog from the J.G. Schelter & Giesecke Foundry of Leipzig, Germany and your intials are
shown on page 99. Unfortunately, they are simply listed under the name Initialen. They were cast in four sizes - 36, 48, 66 and 84 Punkte.

I have a note I placed just inside the cover that tells me that they were taken over by the D. Stemple Foundry in 1918. I can’t recall where I picked up that tidbit of information.

It is interesting that the very first font of type that I really wanted to purchase was in the posession of a San Francisco typographer (Timely Typography) and listed as Showboat. I did obtain it in the mid 1970’s and it turned out to be Aurora from J.G. Schelter & Giesecke and was the start of a personal collection that now encompasses around 2,000 fonts of handset type in my shop.

Schriftgießerei J.G. Schelter & Giesecke was one of the most important pre WWII German type foundries - they were especially known for their fancy initials, ornaments, borders etc. After the war Leipzig was situated in the new German Democratic Republic - DDR, and in 1951 the foundry was nationalized (closed down) as a part of VEB Typoart, Dresden.
Gott grüß die Kunst

I found a date in my S&G catalog copies, 1927, at the bottom of the last page. At this point they are calling the initials “Zierbuchstaben”; some are just numbered series (gruppe 1332a), others are for specific faces (Zierbuchstaben zur Schelter-Antiqua, Salzmann-Zierbuchstaben, etc.). Unfortunatley I did not copy all the typographic pages.
Elliget said that the machinery manufacturing part of the company was absorbed into the Polygraf conglomerate, which also included the Rockstroh-Werke Victoria presses made in Dresen/Heidenau.

Please take a look on this photo
Gott grüß die Kunst

That is the catalog that I also have. Thanks Jens for giving it an approximate date of 1910.

I wonder if it’s possible to ascertain the approximate date of manufacture and subsequent value? They are still in good condition, having been thoroughly brushed out with type wash after use over the thirty years they have been in my possession. I acquired them with a job lot of ornaments and borders, that looked as though they had been in storage for a long time.

I started out in the mid-70’s with a handful of fonts that came with a 5” x 8” Kelsey which I acquired in trade for a gumball machine. The first font of type that I actively went after was a S&G font named Aurora. It was misslabeled as Showboat where I found it. It is not a mediaeval-looking as your initials, but it is just about as fancy.

I have been adding to my collection ever since then and now have over 2,000 fonts of handset type in my shop. I can tell you that the Aurora font is still one of my absolute favorites!!!!!!

Because of the sheer beauty and rarity of your font, I would put a value of easily $300 - $500 on it. It could very well be the only one left anywhere.


Thanks Rick.
Because I haven’t got a full fount, it may take some of the value off. There are approximately twenty different characters and about fifteen of them have their secondary counter parts. I sold my business recently, so will probably not use these again. Subsequently I will possibly offer them for sale.

One of the drop caps in question, in use on one of my old ad. flyers. I used to have a workshop on the end of a water mill. Piccotts End Mill, in Hertfordshire, South East England.

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Hello, I have a book commemorating 75 years of this type foundry in Leipzig, it did start in 1819, there are many plates inside of the foundry, machines etc., the book measures 11 x 15 inches with an embossed cover and bound by Hubel and Denck, it is printed in German but I can get the gist by the dates and plates, I did contact a Print Museum in Leipzig to ask if they had one, I think they replied they had not, as I do not understand German so could not take it any further, just wondering if anyone in the Briar community has ever seen one and how rare they are? I tried to attach an image but it exceeded the file size limit, sorry.

resized it, maybe too small now, new camera, John

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