Adams Cottage Press

Wanted to know what is the worth of an Adams Cottage Press in very good condition?
Thank You
Robert Wagner

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AdamsCottagePress040312 001.jpg

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Even though you’re missing some parts, I’ll offer you $2000

I wanted to include a photo close-up of the only flaw i could find, and some other angles of the press.

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AdamsCottagePress040312 007.jpg

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AdamsCottagePress040312 006.jpg

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While this is an interesting press, I would say that Mr. Horn’s offer is more than generous.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

I was just suprised when i saw the press on the Smithsonian Website and the history significance it had during the Civil War. How many presses like this are out there?

I have one in a larger size, the Smithsonian has one, Appomattox Court House National Historical Park has one I think and at least two in other private collections. These presses were made in three sizes and I’m guessing yours is the smallest, a No. 2, that printed 5 x 8 inches. Do you know any history about your press?

I measured and it appears to be the same size as the one pictured on the Smithsonian website. You can get a rough idea of size from the bricks and the photo showing my badly worn sneakers. I know little about the history of the press.
I purchased it years ago from another artist in Intercourse, PA in Lancaster County that owned a gallery and has since passed away. I saw it on the floor at the gallery and thought i could use it for making my own prints.

Purchased around 2005 and could provide cancelled check from bank, so you can be assured it was acquired legally.

I wasn’t questioning your honesty, just wondered if you knew any of the history of the press.

Do people really steal old presses?

Kluge Girl, my friend had a 8x12 golding in his front yard and last year he heard noise outside, when he checked it out there were 2 guys trying to move it, he believes they would have made off with it if he was not at home. Now the press sits in front of my shop.

Wonder if the would be theives were after a press or just thought they had a big piece of metal to cash in at a scrapyard?

Isn’t scrapyard a dirty word here?

as the would be thieves left my friend noticed that his 2 cast iron bunneis at the end of his sidewalk were missing, he called the police who stopped the pickup in the next town but the bunnies were not with them, the police showed him pictures of the men and truck on their computer, they were the men who were moving the press. with the price of junk today tou have to be careful. Kluge Girl, you said a bad word.

as the would be thieves left my friend noticed that his 2 cast iron bunneis at the end of his sidewalk were missing, he called the police who stopped the pickup in the next town but the bunnies were not with them, the police showed him pictures of the men and truck on their computer, they were the men who were moving the press. with the price of junk today tou have to be careful. Kluge Girl, you said a bad word.

I am going to try to reasearch further and find out what size press it is. Was not aware of the different sizes.
thank you

Sorry, have been busy- but new information on my Civil War Era Adams Cottage Press. Approximate size is 25” long, by 14” wide, by 5” deep. Approximate weight is 85 lbs that includes the large wood that is attached as a base.
Looks like it would easily print a 10 x 12 inch area from the size of the plate and roller. I have found some interest in the press at Texas Tech. and another location were they show a Adams Cottage Press that they made, not a real antique from the era they use for demonstrations. Hoping this will result in a sale. I appreciate the information and help, this is a great site for information on presses. thank you

Looks like after giving this much thought i am going to donate press to the Appomattox Museum in Virginia as they have been using a replica and would now have the real thing. Seems like a good thing to do and benefit everyone.

That’s a great plan. Hopefully they can provide you with a tax receipt for your filing this year.


i was planning on that and using the $2,000 offer i had received for a fair cost for using for tax purposes, giving to museum not selling it. Does that seem like a fair estimate to use for giving purposes? I actually thought it was worth more when i found out the history of the press and how many are out there, but i don’t want to over estimate the gift or be greedy.

I would really like to know what to put down at tax time for the proper worth (so far i guess 2,000 dollars- i am putting on ebay to see what is offered for a better idea?
The only only thing i can think of would be to go to one of the antique info. websites, which before basically said whatever a collector is willing to pay basically. I appreciate the information and help with this press, when it is at Appomattox next year i want to look back at this and feel good about donating to the museum and knowing i have the right info.
thank you, this is a great site for printers.

There is no yardstick to measure the “worth” of something like this simply because there are no comparable sales, etc. I think $2,000 is a fair and equitable number to use. I am baffled by your statement “I am putting on e-bay to see what is offered for a better idea.” Are you saying that you are going to offer this for sale and then NOT sell it???????? Are you nuts?????

Appomattox would seem to be the ideal place for this press to go, so I think your “FEEL GOOD” should simply be that you would have done the right thing by sending it to where it belongs, for posterity.


Rick, it seems that is exactly what is happening, the press is currently on eBay with one bid that doesn’t meet reserve.

I don’t see the point.

The offer of $2k is very generous since a press this size is not worth that to a non-collector/non-museum buyer, though certainly a valid number for tax purposes. I suspect most printers bidding on eBay would rather find a cheaper, larger alternative long before reaching that price.

maybe i am a little “nuts” but i wanted to put it out there for the world to see. It seems like the conclusion is it would be worth whatever someone would want to pay, as there is no yard stick to measure. This site is great! It reminds me of the fun and informative radio talk show by the auto mechanic guys that answer all kind of questions about peoples automobiles.
I am not an expert but this has been fun and informative. It will be good to know what to put down for gift at tax time. And you are probably right that the ebay price will be less than the 2,000, although you never know (refer to crazy ebay discussion), we should know in a few days.
Thank You all.

Last day on ebay for the adams cottage press, 2 bids and lots of people interested.

Sorry, I think that listing on eBay with no intention of selling is a real jerk move.

Received a good idea of the worth, slightly higher than previous offer. I intend to have the Press at Museum next year for the 150th anniversary of the treaty.
Did not meet reserve price, you never know.
Thank You for the information on the press, now it will be viewed by thousands in operation as it was long ago and put to very good use.

I doubt seriously if the IRS will accept the Ebay bids as a valuation of the press. Usually, I believe, if the value is considered by them to be high they will want to see an appraiser’s report. If you plan to take a deduction for the gift you might want to check either with a tax accountant or the IRS to be sure what’s required. The museum is not permitted to give you a valuation for tax purposes.


I will be using a tax accountant and an appraiser’s report, but think it doesn’t hurt to have the info on the value. Not doing this for the tax credit as i am not close to being rich or well off but it would be silly not to use. The Civil War had sacrifices and the dedication of many, it seems like a worthwhile gift for the museum and the many visitors. My great great grandfather fought in the civil war and having a small part in portraying the history of the peace that was brought together at Appomattox is something special.
Thank You all for the help with this.

I wanted to say thank you for all the help and info on this press. The press was donated to the Museum and should be up and running for their 150th Anniversary. What a piece of history.

shirtandhat, good for you! Texas Tech in Lubbock has
a Steve Pratt reproduction of this press. Bruce Cammack
in the Library Southwest Collections Dept. is the go to person.
your Museums new press needs a tympan, the impression roller is steel and it will crush type. best james