Kelmscott Press

New York Times article on William Morris’s Albion that Christie’s is auctioning today:

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It sold for a winning bid of $190,000, exceeding the top end of Christie’s estimate. Perhaps the buyer has plans to exhibit the press, or print with it? Here’s hoping.

Interesting, according to one of the posters on Letpress is went for $233K.

About $100 a pound — a bit more than the price of new type!


The price difference was a probably due to a buyer’s premium and auction fees. Whoever paid that much, it probably wasn’t a printer.

That’s right Bill: the “hammer price,” or the winning bid, was $190, and the “realized” price is indeed $233.

This has always been the Holy Graile of existing printing presses. The final price does not surprise me at all. I wonder if we will find out where it will actually go now?


While not arguing that was a serious amount of money for an iron handpress, a few years ago we paid $3,000 for an Albion about the same size. Say we were making $50,000 a year at the time. That relationship just needs someone to want the KG and make $3.8 million a year. Clearly there are lots of people who make that who are into book collections or perhaps the “friends of a library” who might pool their resources and make their annual donation “one of a lifetime” of such an object. And there might be a way to take it off of taxes to reduce the actual cost to you.

Clearly as a press, if you were going to buy one and couldn’t find Gutenberg’s, this would be a good one to buy.

Imagine being rich and collecting guitars and you had the chance to buy Bob Dylan’s electric guitar that he played at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival when he went electric. That would be worth a bunch because of how momentous the occasion was. This is clearly the same issue.

How many people could you get to pay $10 to pull a facsimile page of the Caucer using that press? I would do that in a second. 23,000 of those and you got the press for free.

I rekon enough folks would pay $50 a pull. (I would.) That gets you in the black pretty quick.

That guitar of Bob Dylan’s mentioned above just sold for something in the vicinity of 965 thousand buckaroos…….db

Carole didn’t have to pay anything when she pulled an impression on the press many years ago. See:

I was very glad to see on the Cary Collection site that they were the buyers of Kelmscott Albion!


couple of Columbians in Uk for sale about £5500 ish by comparison