Another which press should I buy question…Sigwalt #5 vs. Cooks Victor

Hi Everyone.
I’m hoping to get my first press, 5 years after taking my first letterpress course. I’ve narrowed it down to a tabletop, 6x9 platen style press, but am stuck between the Cooks Victor (before it became the Kelsey Victor) and a nonparallel Sigwalt #5.

Like most newbie letterpress printers, I’m interested in something that will give me a nice tactile impression that stationery customers have come to know and love. I’ll be printing mostly greeting card sizes.

I’ve seen some impressive work printed on the Victor, but understand the Sigwalt is a highly recommended first press. I also like the idea of the flexibility of the Sigwalt in terms of paper size.

Which would you choose?

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I don’t have any practical experience with that Sigwalt, but I have worked on a couple of those Victors and they are very well-built presses. The iron is very strong and they are a very clever and well balanced design. I too have seen some very nice work done on them.


I have used a Sigwalt Nonpareil, the predecessor of the Ideal (which I assume is what you are looking at), for about 40 years, printing many kinds of things on it including books, but not with the “nice tactile impression”. The press is quite strong and easy to use, and though it is heavier than the Cook’s (I would expect) that is an advantage when printing — it doesn’t move around as readily. I also like that it can print much larger sheets of paper, a portion at a time. You will want a good set of rubber rollers and matching trucks for whichever press you choose.


Thank you both for your comments!

I believe I’ve thrown a wrench in my plan. I’ve found a Golding #11 Improved Press that’s a great price. I think it might be a better first press.

Just be very careful about running a heavy impression on it — they can be badly broken that way. But for regular printing the #11 is hard to beat.