Should I buy this? (Golding Official #4)

I am somewhat of a newbie to letterpress, but took an intro class and loved it. I’ve fantasized about one day having the equipment in my house to create on.

I found a letterpress machine for sale today in Michigan at an Estate Sale. I’m trying to determine if it makes sense for me to purchase it. There is a ton of type that comes with this and it is all lead, making it extremely heavy. The family running the sale didn’t know too much about letterpress but he estimated it all to weigh 1,000#? Seems really high, but since lead is so heavy maybe likely…?

The price is $350 for everything.

I don’t know the make/model of the machine or even if it is in working condition. All of the parts and pieces appear to be there, including the machine itself, the type, the frames, the spacers, etc. I’m definitely not an expert of these machines either which is why I’m posting this. After reaching out to some letterpress people they’ve responded that this is a Golding Official #4 (6 x 9), but I haven’t confirmed with any markings that I spotted.

Can you help provide any advice to whether I should make an offer on the machine, type and parts? Do you think it is completely ridiculous to try to transport this back from Michigan to Oregon?

I’ve attached a couple of pictures that I took today. There is another cabinet with more typeface not pictured, plus many smaller boxes with god knows what inside. If I’m going to make a move on this I’d likely need to do it within the next two days. On the emotional side, my heart did a leap when I saw this as I know they’re not a common find. This has been on my mind for the past 12 hours and I can’t shake it. I have a feeling that I must get this machine. I just need to hear that it is a decent value and I’m not getting totally ripped off.

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I can’t get any of my pictures to post. :(

Hi Emily,

The price is more than fair. The cost will come in transporting the press and type to Oregon.

In the help section at the top of the page see “Why won’t my photos upload”


I figured it out - here are all of the pics…

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Press will need some work and new rollers will be required. If available that will set you back a few hundred.

Again, the price is more than fair. Go for it.

The price seems more than fair, looks like you might have even more than 1000 pounds of type, some of these presses have sold for more than $1000. Good luck Dick G.

In a word, yes! It is a Golding Official No. 4 and looks to be all there. I see at least 5 chases as well. You could pay for recovering your rollers by selling three of those. Then you have all the fun of going through all the unknowns in the boxes, plus lots of type. It is a great price in my opinion. The only thing in your post that isn’t clear is your transportation situation. Can’t tell if your driving or have to ship this, but, you have a lot of weight and bulk here. When just considering the price, it is a no brainer.

Awesome, thanks everyone!

I have to wait an hour and a half until this sale opens again today and need to brace myself for the (slim) possibility that someone else has bought this. This craft isn’t too popular in the city I found this in so I’m hoping it is still there. Wish me luck and I’ll let you know what happens!

I will definitely post more updates to this site if I am able to score the machine and type. I imagine lots of fun sorting ahead of me. I love “junking” so for me this is icing on the cake (despite my allergies to dust, mold, etc.).

Keep your fingers crossed for me!


If you can swing it I’d suggest flying there and renting a small truck, or Rent-A-Wreck and U-Haul trailer, to drive the stuff back to Oregon. The cost will probably be less (maybe WAY less) than having it shipped. The 6x9 Golding probably weighs about 100 lbs and is most likely the heaviest piece. In my opinion this is a real deal.


Update: I bought it! Let the fun begin!

Hi Emily,

Everyone thinks this is a Golding. All Golding presses had their name cast into the side of the press. If there is no name, and it has a round base, it is a Sigwalt Nonpareil No. 25. If it has a “H” shaped base, it is a Sigwalt Ideal #5. It is a knockoff of the Golding and almost as good as a Golding.

You’re right, Paul — I had not looked carefully enough at the platen mount. I’ve had a Nonpareil for about 30 years and printed a lot on it including a 192-page book in an edition of 250 and many other fun projects. It’s a sweet press and every bit as good as the Golding Official the same size. You’ll have lots of fun!


I also stand corrected Paul. You know your presses. Now that I read your post, I see the springs are also wrong for a Golding. I will attempt to be more careful about comments in the future. I am relieved it is still a great deal and a good press.

Spend a few hours in the basement organizing loose type into ziploc bags, rubbermaid boxes, cleaning stuff off, throwing out disintegrated boxes I will not need. More needs to be done tomorrow before it can be hauled out.

I think I’m going to wrap the cases (filled with type) in saran wrap individually, then stack them in a large rubbermaid box, so I don’t lose anything during the move. Does anyone have a better suggestion?

I’m finding all sorts of cool stuff - slug cutter, interesting picture plates and who knows what else is waiting in the boxes remaining!

I’ll fly back to Michigan in a few months and load up a Uhaul with the letterpress, accessories and bring it back to Portland to revive it! I’d planned to do the Uhaul thing soon regardless, as I have many boxes at my parents that needed to be moved. It is all working out.

I’m trying to document this with pictures and will probably set up a blog about it to track my new adventures. If anyone has gone through this process before and has comments/thoughts/feedback please share with me!

Thanks again,

Sounds like the saran wrap will work just fine, i never moved type as far as you are moving, i taped a piece of cardboard over the type cases to hold the type in the case. i have always removed the cases from their racks and never had a problem. lay the empty type racks down and put your small boxes of treasures inside, you can lay the racks on their side then put the cases stacked one on the other inside, sounds like you already have a great plan and i hope the move goes well. Good Luck Dick G.

Not to beat a dead horse, but I am super pumped and wanted to post more pics of my press…along with everything organized and out of the musty basement.

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Emily, another person infected with the letterpress bug. Once you start setting up your shop you will find out you need more space, so the car gets put out of the garage, then you have room, lots of room, now you think of things to buy to fill the space, more type then you need a larger press, more type, and on and on. Its good to see young people getting excited about letterpress. This site is a great place to have your questions answered, there are many experienced printers here willing to share what they know. Good Luck Dick G.

Congratulations Emily, I ran into a deal like this too, but it didn’t quite work out as well as yours did. Very happy for you to get started letterpressing!!!

Hi Emily !!

How are you getting on ?
I have a Nonpareil No.24 and Also a Golding Official No.4 as well as several Adana’s Have you managed to sort your haul yet? it seems a great deal !

All the best

Hi Mike - I don’t get updates on this into my mailbox but just happened to look today and saw your comment. I have not gotten my haul to my new home, so it sits in a garage in Michigan through the winter. :( Very sad about it still, but still VERY very excited about the purchase. My dad is going to craft a work station for me to bring back as well. Most of the cases/cabinets were rotted or in bad shape. I have the book General Printing by Cleeton, Pitkin & Cornwell and looking for other sources to get myself in the know on supplies - paper, ink, etc. Any suggestions?

Thanks for the feedback!

Hi Emily,

Congratulations on your purchase!

As for paper suppliers and ink, I have been using boxcar for van-son rubber inks and for paper. They are both easy for me since I am pretty new to it all too, but both are on the east coast. Boxcar has reasonable “starter kits” that include most inks you will need at start-up. There are so many papers out now which makes it a bit daunting, but starting off with a few basics (Lettra, strathmore 300, some French Paper cover stock) to see what you like and how they print and press differently will really help you later. Be sure to use rubber based inks on your uncoated stock and oil-based for your coated. I made this mistake and it caused much frustration… This community also has lots of posts about papers and inks - you could be reading for hours.

Good luck and can’t wait to see some of your work in the future!


I hope you will update us when you get your goods! I’m really jealous!

Hi Emily, Spring is coming, is there any update yet? you could try looking on ebay for letterpress supplies, you are sure to find some bargains there

Awaiting your update!


Sadly, the press isn’t back in my hot hands yet and it is killing me. I need to spend some time at the IPRC ( to practice and learn more. Time and money are preventing me hauling this back, but I WILL get this soon. I brought a few of the cigar boxes back with me that sit on my coffee table to keep my imagination alive…

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