Brass type? Helvetica Bold?

Has anyone had experience with brass type? I acquired some as a result of purchasing a small file cabinet (US Navy surplus) for storing cuts and borders. Inside it had somewhat complete sets of brass type in 24, 30 and 36’ — looks like Helvetica Bold. I am wondering if it is worthwhile to look to fill out these sets. They are quite clear and sharp. They look like they would be ideal for deep image printing.

What do you think? Do I have the name of the font correct?
Thanks, Jim

image: brass .jpg

brass .jpg

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Brass type is usually used for hot stamping where the type is heated. It will cost you a small fortune to purchase sets in all sizes. Don’t know any reason not to use them for regular printing. Good luck.

Ginkgo is right, when you hot stamp you heat the type which softens it and will wear it out very fast so brass type is used, the darn stuff will last forever but it is expensive. You will have a hard time wearing it out, its lots harder than lead. Good Luck Dick G.

I don’t have any specimens in front of me, but it looks like Helvetica Medium, not Bold.


Thank you for your advice! I will keep my eyes open for more of this. I tried it on blank paper and it made a fantastic embossed impression.

Im after brass type sets second hand, preferrably in Australia so the shipping doesn’t kill me.. any suggestions or offers?


Brass type does wear, but it doesn’t soften appreciably with the heat of hot stamping or rubber stamp making. I recently sold a font of 18 point News Gothic that showed significant wear but was still usable, and I still have a few characters of another design that are not type high, so not all brass type is type high — that made for bookbinding work doesn’t need to be.


Thanks for that Bob :)
Hey, I came across the Skyliner type maker - anyone heard of him (Sky) or used his type for hot foil work?

He seems very genuine and helpful in email communications..


It’s not Helvetica. It’s close, but not quite: the terminals on the “S” and “C” aren’t horizontal, the leg on the “R” isn’t vertical enough. Also looks like lowercase “t” has a sloped terminal on the ascender.

Hard to say exactly what it is without being able to zoom in, but it’s not any of the other biggies that I would initially guess either: Akzidenz, Frutiger, Univers.

Tricky one…