old brass letters - scrap or sell

A friend has a bucket of old raised brass letters and spacers (?) that were on their way to be scrapped/melted. Maybe 30 or 40 pounds of letters and numbers (it was hard for me to pick it up).

I’m posting a couple of pix that include coins for size reference (a couple of letters are standing on their side to show the thickness). I didn’t include any of the ‘spacers,’ but they are rectangles of all sizes. I’m not familiar with printing, so I’m posting here with hopes that someone can let me know if there is a value to these in the printing press community or should they go to scrap? Or maybe a craft site like etsy? I think they’re really neat as they are. My friend wants to make a brass cannon from them.

image: brassletters1.jpg


image: brassletters2.jpg


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Too cool to scrap.

I wonder if they were used for foil stamping.


They look like brass patterns from the engraving trade. you fit them in a line like type setting on a table with a stylus you run round the edge and on an arm like a pantograph ther is an engraving head as you follow the pattern so the engraving head will cut a reduced or enlarged copy onto a brass plate or wood block a few feet away from you .
Not something you scrap , i may not be exactly right but you could certainly use them to do this .They certainly look print related .

Don’t scrap!

Are they type high? By comparison to the coins they look very large, like wood type size. They might also have been used in mat making for newspapers, where the wood type would have been damaged by the pressure — headline types maybe.


they look like brass lettering for a Masseeley hot foil or blocking machine, I have some of this type and on the back of this type is normally a replica of the front but engraved into the back. You could mount these on a metal base to use for blocking, or letterpress if you get the height right, some bookbinders may be interested in buying this if you wanted to sell. I also have engraving machines, the copy for these is cut into the brass so the stylo point travels in the groove and transfers to the cutter.

those are beautiful, don’t scrap them! :) if they’re not good for printing anymore, and if chances are small that he’s actually going to make a cannon, he could get more for these piecing them out on etsy or ebay (i want to buy them, lol). at current brass price, scrapping 50lbs would net him less than $10.

J and l sones yes i know your system for engraving i have seen the reverse used too …..
it is strange to see that the letters shown are only those used for “happy birthday , Merry xmas & etc so maybe they are from the foiling trade they could work for that too ,maybe a few measurement would help here .

Most likely for foil stamping. Do not scrap these! There’s no such thing as “scrap” in the letterpress trade these days. You just don’t scrap something that’s irreplaceable. I do not think they are patterns as most patterns are negatives. I’ve never seen brass type this large and it would be a crime to melt these down for no more than the price of brass (shudder).