Need advice from community

I have many drawers of letterpress type, but it’s an incomplete cabinet. I would like to sell whole drawers, but how much?
Does it depend on the font and size or pound?
What if I list the font as labelled on the drawer, and it turns out that was incorrect?
If the whole drawer doesn’t sell, what is the next best way to liquidate these items?
Also, what is the printer’s preferred way to purchase it: in bags or in a drawer?
I haven’t seen examples yet of lead type or drawers here on Briarpress, only cabinets on eBay, and it’s disappointing. Tearing apart the drawers, and “bone-selling” all the pieces (the ‘Hamilton’ drawer pulls, miscellaneous bags? of lead type, and empty drawers) seems like bad business and also seems ethically wrong. I wouldn’t want to receive a wad of unsorted letters, but maybe this is normal.
Is there a safe way to box and sell the type so that:
1: sets stay together
2: it arrives safe (I’ve read that old lead is brittle?)
3:is it safe to ship lead items?
I have more questions but I’m hoping to at least get a contact or point person for answers.

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If you’re selling type to re-loaders they don’t care how it comes. If you’re selling to printers, they care a lot, and bagging it is the wrong way to do it. For printers the letters should be set up in equal-length rows about 6 inches long, one row below the other, whole fonts (style-size) together, with flat metal or wood strips at least above the top row and below the bottom row, and tied firmly with string, then wrapped with a sheet of strong corrugated board below and above the whole font, the wrapping a piece of heavy kraft paper like grocery shopping bags, then packed with styrofoam foam spacing in a suitable-size USPS flat rate box for mailing insured. It’s a lot of effort, but it’s just about the only way to get the type from you to a buyer safely, short of personal pickup. The type isn’t so much “brittle” as easily damaged in bouncing around in a bag. But well packed it is quite safe to ship.


Great advice from Bob.

Where are you located? Perhaps there are people interested in your type that are relatively close and can ideally pick it up from you.

There are all kinds of factors to determine the value of your type. Just some of the considerations are the actual typeface (mundane vs. desirable), point size of the typeface, condition (worn or not) of the type, amount of type in the case, etc. etc. etc. There is no ‘generic’ rule of thumb.

Another advantage of having a printer in fairly close proximity come and see your type is that they can also hopefully name and classify the amount/condition of your fonts.



In acquiring presses, we generally get the type too.

I have found that sorting the type and putting it into
cardboard boxes, like you would get earrings, bracelets and or a necklace in…works great. Box is a little higher than type high. A little tissue paper to fill in any empty space!

T & T Press

I’m not having much luck folks. Due to some physical problems, I have limited computer time before the computer causes major headaches, so Im fighting an uphill battle. I’ve called a local letterpress company, and they informed me that no one uses the old heavy type anymore. I can’t hardly believe this. Maybe I should start piecing out drawers like carrion. :-( I’ve researched this until my head is throbbing. Must move it once and for all.

The local letterpress company doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

Where are you located?

Southwest Michigan just nort of the Indiana border.

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