HFA mystery

Hi all
I am teaching the SLV Rare Book Summer School in Melbourne as I type, with a wondeful class of 6 book and print enthusiasts. We’re using the Ancora Press room at Monash University, and Brian (the wise man who runs Ancora) is in NZ so is not around to answer our questions.

There is a cabinet of Bembo in the room and while most of it has the standard (dyno) labels of, say, ‘Bembo 12 It’ or ‘Bembo 12 Rom’, there are also a few with ‘Bembo 12 HFA’ and they have us stumped.

Does anyone know what HFA stands for?

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Might it be TFA? If so, that is likely Typefounders of Amsterdam.

This is their pinmark.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

Thanks Daniel, but there’s no pinmark! So I guess not.

I was just thinking that it could mean something in-house like ‘Hold For Ancora’ so that the students don’t use those drawers of type… in which case, this is a pretty fruitless query :)


HF Halbfett Semibold
A Antiqua Roman

HFK Is Halbfett Kursiv Semibold Italic

Bembo was a Monotype face. Not sure what the range was. Haven’t ever seen a semi-bold offered by a US distributor (pre-digital). Sure wish I had. Was it ever released as foundry metal? And by whom? If not, I’d be betting on ‘Hold For Ancora.’


As far as I know, the Amsterdam Typefoundry (Lettergieterij Tetterode) never issued the Bembo.

I’ve not come across that acronym before; as a castor, it’s the sort of thing you might mark on a case that had a different alignment to other cases. ‘High face alignment’, or something similar?

I’d check to see if it’s the same alignment as the other Bembo cases, personally.

Be sure to let us know what this turns out to be when Brian gets back from NZ. It would be a shame to just leave this up in the air.