Best way to sell a tray of type?

Hello!
I am new to the world of letterpress, though I am learning a lot. Sites like this certainly help. I bought out a retired printer years ago and had/have no need for the hundred or so trays of metal type that came with the package. I am listing them all on ebay a few at a time. A few of the fonts came in labeled packages all laid out neatly. The majority of the fonts are very large sets in trays. Last night I “set up” (is that the right term?) an entire font to take photos. It took me over 2 hours to get it done. Do you guys think that time is worth it to sell a tray of type, or would I do just as well to take a photo of the tray and set up just a few letters as an example?
Obviously I want to make as much as I can on the sale, but don’t know if putting in that kind of time will make a difference. I have 100 +/- trays to get through. Any input would be helpful. Thank you!

image: goudy complete font.jpg

goudy complete font.jpg

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I would say that if you are setting it up, tying it up and shipping it as a block then it would be worth more to me. If you are dumping it in a container as a pied font I would not be so pleased, especially if the photo showed it nicely set up.

I would make it clear what you are shipping, and decide if your time is worth it. You should also give some idea of the size of sort that is being sold either way.

Having sorted through some assorted pied type before I know how labour intensive it can be.

I would say that if you are setting it up, tying it up and shipping it as a block then it would be worth more to me. If you are dumping it in a container as a pied font I would not be so pleased, especially if the photo showed it nicely set up.

I would make it clear what you are shipping, and decide if your time is worth it. You should also give some idea of the size of sort that is being sold either way.

Having sorted through some assorted pied type before I know how labour intensive it can be.

Pied font - that is a new term for me. Does that mean it’s unsorted in one big pile? The trays I have are sorted, just not set up. I would package each letter in separate little bead baggies I bought for just such purpose. I’m attaching a photo of one of the trays.

image: News Gothic Condensed 12pt 3.jpg

News Gothic Condensed 12pt 3.jpg

“Pied” type was typically the result of a dropped form or case. Smaller amounts were often thrown into the “Hell Box”, which would have been melted down rather than sorted. I’ve sorted my way through several 5 gallon buckets of type which had been dumped so the cases could be sold as decorative items. It’s not really as much fun as it sounds. Also, dumping or pie-ing type runs the risk of damaging the face, and breaking off delicate descenders.

When I buy used type, I first want to know if there are an adequate number of each character, relative to the size of the font. Next, I want to be able to determine the condition.

If it is “fonted,” which is what you did in your first picture, and you take a couple of close-up photos looking down at the type, so that each character can be identified and inspected, I will best be able to do this. Also take a picture of a letter on its side so that people can determine whether it is foundry type, monotype, etc.

If this is done, I would pay more for the font because I can better determine what I am getting.

If you are shipping type, such as in a USPS flat rate box, you need to pack it extremely well, tied up on something rigid like thin plywood, and wrapped in about 20 layers of newspaper, with all the corners and edges taped, both inside and outside the box. Fill the rest of the box above and below the type with pieces of Styrofoam insulation board, layers of corrugated, etc. (I once bought two fonts on eBay and when they arrived, all but 7 pieces of type had fallen out in transit, so I speak from painful experience).

P.S. You are right about “pied,” that means just dumped out in a pile. Also, the correct word for a wooden drawer of type is a “case,” rather than a drawer or a tray. However, it looks like your “tray” in the picture is made of thermoformed black plastic, if I am seeing it correctly, so I’m not sure what the correct terminology would be for that. Maybe “tray” is right.

Anyway, hope this helps. Best of luck to you!

P.S. Where are you located? Perhaps some of us could buy and pick up the type and save you a lot of work and us the shipping charges.

Thanks for the replies, they are most helpful! Especially the shipping tips, I do want to make sure the buyers are happy since I’m sure they’ll know a lot more about the items than I do. I want to be respectful of the craft and tools even though I don’t know much about them. From the little bit I have learned it is obvious the craft has a dedicated following.

I am in central Missouri. If someone wanted to come and look at what I have they would be welcome. I’m afraid they haven’t been stored carefully since we didn’t know what we had when we piled it up in a back room. Most of the fonts are in those plastic trays, a few are in drawers and there are a dozen or so boxes of pied type that I probably won’t mess with. Then there’s a hodgepodge of old equipment that I can’t identify until I do a little research.

I am wondering if there’s any value in a metal workbench I will post a photo of. I assume some of the drawers of type I have stacked up go in it.

image: workbench.jpg

workbench.jpg

You could simply put a rectangle of thick cardboard on top of the case (tray) and use strapping tape to hold it against the case and ship that way if you wish to sell the cases as well as the type.

Most savvy purchasers, however, would prefer to have the type fonted as you have done and tied and wrapped as a block rather than loose, even in individual bags as the characters will get damaged by rubbing against other characters in shipment. You are bound to get a better price for fonted and wrapped type than loose type.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

Loose type can result in damaged faces - never a good idea if shipping commercial or USPS. Fonting is the way to go here, it’s safe and compact.

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All of the comments and tips are much appreciated! Fortunately when I bought all of this it came with tons of small metal sheets for engraving plaques. They will be a perfect base for “fonted” type. I am ordering string and stretch wrap now. I suppose I will font the larger type and perhaps secure and ship the trays of smaller type the way John Henry suggested.
Thanks to all!!

I would suggest you consider your packaging first and then work backward from there on how to pack up the type. Because of weight you might consider flat rate boxes.
You may wish to identify and research a font before you put any labor into it. As you already know, many hours can go into this and you have to decide if the monetary return is worth the investment. Also consider taking your haul to a printers fair and save yourself the labor and fees that result in going the eBay route. I would attach an example image but this forum says my disk quota of 10MB has been reached?

Does anyone know of any printer’s fairs in the Midwest? Seems like most of the activities are on either coast.

Yes plenty, they may not all be called wazegoose or printers fairs

We had one in Muncie Indiana this year,
signal return does one in Detrot,
the great northern printers fair in Iowa
Hatch I believe may start having one after this springs sucessful event
Print week in St. Louis
Hamilton Wood Type as one the first weekend in November
The APA wazegoose is often in the Midwest