Buy New or Used Type … and which Font?

Thanks everyone for educating me regarding rubber-base vs oil-base inks in my previous post. I learned a lot.

I was perusing Ebay today and was looking at metal type … it seems that used type is pretty much the same price as new type … change my mind . . please :)

I have an Adana 8x5 and will be doing a couple of photo polymer plates to get started.

Looking for recommendations on which one or two fonts to purchase first and in which sizes (points) and where to source new or used … … FWIW I like the ~classic~ look of letterpress …

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For a typical ebay listing, you will want to determine if it is foundry type, Monotype, or something in-between. The difference will be hardness and durability. Older type may be worn, no matter what it is. Get a copy of McGrew’s “American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century”. This is invaluable for identifying typefaces, and who made them. There are still several sources of new cast type, but most of them are Monotype. The face you want will be determined by the kind of work you plan to do, and so there is no easy answer. Best advice: don’t try for deep impression - you will ruin your type, and possibly your press. Also, get a copy of Polk’s “Practice of Printing”, a good guide for beginners.

I have many different fonts of both new and used type in stock for sale. My pricing is much less expensive than purchasing new fonts from current foundries. All my stock was acquired from letterpress shops that have since closed.
Feel free to call me with any questions you may have. I am not a graphic designer so font sizes and styles are strictly your decision.
Larry 516-633-5107

Thanks BillWhitley for your response. I have already ordered Polk’s “Practice of Printing” and will order McGrew’s “American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century” shortly. I am a retired Engineer so I fully appreciate good references and well written primers.

I will not be trying for deep impressions with a tabletop press. I anticipate starting with my own business card (I operate a small Hobby Farm here in Central New York) and then to cards with witty sayings and inspirational messages along with seasonal cards

I have a small booth at a few of the local Farmers Markets where I sell Garlic and some other produce I grow. I will be offering these cards at my booth also, possibly even setting up the tabletop press there to see what interest is garnered … . Then see where it goes from there.

Amgreqcorp, thank you for your response. Once I decide which fonts to start with I will give you a call . . do you also have furniture, quoins and spacers etc?

Amgreqcorp- do you have your inventory listed online somewhere?


eBay can be a toss up between people who are just antique sellers who don’t really know what they have and people who overcharge for old/ incomplete sets beause letterpress has been gaining steam for a while. Once in a while you’ll get lucky there and grab cheap stuff. Estate sales can be good too. As for new type it’s always a bit more expensive but usually done by people who really care and are good at it, its an investment. Wood type is expensive no matter where its coming from

I have everything you need for letterpress printing except paper and ink. I have purchased a number of defunct letterpress shops over the last 3 years and I resell the contents to printers, hobbyists, schools, art co-ops,etc.
Can put together a kit or you can purchase whatever you need individually.
Furniture, reglets, quoins and keys, spaces and quads, TYMPAN sheets and rolled, gauge pins, leading, brass rule, borders, ornaments, dingbats, composing sticks, metal type, wood type, initial sets, Virkotype sets, cuts/ print blocks in all sizes and subjects, etc.

I do not have an inventory listing online. Just call, text, or email and I can send pics of anything you might have interest in.
Larry Lionetti
Cell/text 516-633-5107
[email protected]