Am I getting hosed?

I’m looking to buy my first press. I found a Chandler & Price new style press at a local antique shop. The motor switch needs rewiring (and who knows what else), the ink disk is getting a bit rusty, the rollers are missing, it needs a new belt, and it’s pretty filthy. It comes with a couple boxes of extra odds and ends.
Because presses are so hard to come by in my area, I offered what I thought was high… $1000 plus $100 to deliver it from a mile and a half away. They refuse to come down to less than $1100, but I’m pretty sure it’s not worth that much. There’s one in a nearby city selling for $1250 in working condition, refurbished. One guy (not the owner, who contradicted what this fool told me) said that they could get $1200 for scrap iron, which I called two local scrap yards and they said $160 tops. I want it, it’s conveniently located, and the timing is right, but I’m not an impulsive moron and want a good deal. Thoughts and/or advice?

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The price does seem a bit high to me, considering the number of old C&P’s out there, but $100 to deliver is not bad at all. Those beasts are rather heavy.

I don’t know your experience in letterpress, but if you’ve never printed before, you may want a smaller, less dangerous machine as your first press. As anyone with a bit of experience will tell you, a power operated platen press can bite, and bite hard. If you are just learning to print, i’d recommend passing on that particular machine.

I suppose it depends on geography and availability. C&P 10x15’s here in the San Francisco Bay Area are now running $1500 and up when you can find them from local equipment dealers. That is up from around $1000 a few years ago. I think the price of Vandercooks has driven many people to look at alternatives and the 10x15 C&P is a good compromise on floor space, cost, and printable area, so the price is going up. Of course if you wait and watch, you may get a better deal later, but I don’t know that I would find $1100 for a press in good repair to be unreasonable. At that price I would still expect to have to buy rollers and do some motor work.



Two questions:

1. What is the size inside the chase (which will be the size of the press)?
2. Where are you located? Perhaps if you desire, one of us could go and look at it with you.

Maybe you might want to post a picture. There was one person on Briarpress recently who thought they were looking at a C&P (in that case an oldstyle), when actually it was a different brand of press.

Want direct feedback?
No rollers? No cores of the rollers? Rusty condition? I’d offer 800 tops and offer to collect.

To give another point on the geography vs. availability scale, I bought in December a fully working 8x12 NS plus extras for $750. This was the first time I’d seen a press like this come up for sale in my area in years. I live in Memphis. Letterpress is not well known here and there’s not really any demand for presses. I got a good deal, but a big part of that is living in letterpress nowheresville.

i’m still trying to sell a 10x15 golden jobber with a few cases of type in a basement for $300.

Hey, guys. To answer a few questions:

@Winking Cat: I have letterpress experience, so I’m not overly concerned about safety.

@Alan: Wish it were a 10x15! Availability in Michigan is not great for any presses, it seems.

@ Geoffrey: It’s a C&P 8x12, comes with two chases. I inspected it pretty thoroughly, but they took some parts off to move it. I have a pretty good idea of what it’ll take to get it back into good condition, and luckily I have a good motor repair shop a couple blocks from my house. The iron looks like it’s in decent condition…no breaks or welds. There’s some rust on the ink plate and decades worth of dirt and dust, but it moves pretty fluidly.

@mephits: Same here. A few enthusiasts, one shop. I was the only one who even used the presses in college at MSU.

@dickg: That’s not bad, depending on how far I’d have to drive to get it. :)

It’s too much, especially as it sounds like you’re in a buyer’s market.

I paid $500 for the same press, which included 3 cabinets of type.

Mind you, it cost me $700 to move it.


I gave the guy the $1000 plus $100 to move it. I’m feeling like it’s a good deal for me, right now. It turns out that there was a pretty massive roll of tympan, an extra motor (which I assume is not working, but could be fixed), various fonts, the missing rollers (in useable condition), a counter, several dies, and a slew of other unidentifiable things. It’ll need a bit of TLC and a small amount reassembling.

That said, since this is my first press and I’ve never had to find parts, do any of you have an info on where to get a new belt? The old leather one works, but is a bit loose and pretty worn.

A bit too much! I am in Ohio and bought one for $500 and another was FREE, just had to get it out of a basement. Both in working order, lots of chases and extra rollers to boot! Currently, I have a line on two more, one old style and one new style[both 8x12], also a 14 x 22, will be posting these soon I hope!!

Sometimes you get lucky . what you get one for today wont be what the next guy wants for it !