pricing guides for foundry type

I am in the process of preparing to sell my printing business but have no idea of how to price the rarer faces in my studio. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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Place each fount on eBay, together with info or scan of the typeface from a specimen book.

Place the link to the eBay listing on Briar press.

If your typefaces are truly rare, someone will bite :-)

Ebay’s a great way to go, but for the best price, you must describe what you’ve got pretty thoroughly, and be willing to ship.

I can do that. Just need to know the value to set starting bid. I have a fairly complete family of Eve and Eve Italic in several sizes. Am not willing to just take a guess at the value and leave it to chance on any site and trust right people are looking that day. Thank you for your thoughts.

Hi T Hunter,

There may be collectors who trade privately, but I think if you list the type on eBay and post links here and perhaps on the Letpress and SFletterpress listservs, you will hit the bulk of likely buyers.

I haven’t done a formal analysis of eBay opening bids, but just from what I recall, I’ve seen opening bids of $50 or $60 for quality fonts. These generally go for $200 or $300. I would say that a large, complete font of like-new Eve might fall in this category. But please, check the “completed” auctions yourself.

There’s always a problem selling multiple fonts of the same face individually on eBay, since what you have will likely end up distributed among multiple buyers, which would diminish the value since a run of sizes is much more desirable than just a single size. If I were selling a run of really nice type, I’d sell it in consecutive, not simultaneous, auctions, and mention in each the listing that more will be coming in such-and-such sizes. That way, the sale prices of the later fonts will be higher because someone who has already purchased a font will bid higher since a companion font will be worth more to her than to someone who does not already own the face. This may serve to keep your collection together.

One more thought: If by “rare” you also mean “old,” then you might consider donating the type to a printing museum instead of selling it. You would get a nice tax deduction and you’d save the type from abuse at the hands of an eBay buyer with more money than sensibility.


Thank you for your thoughtful answer and good advise. As part of my research I have an ebay watch list now of items similar to what I want to sell. I have considered donating initial letters which are quite old and was told they belong in the Smithsonian. Maybe donating is the best for my beloved Eve. I have used it carefully for years. By ‘rare’ I guess I mean hard to find. I searched many times for it and found very little available. My other faces don’t have the same value. All in all, I want it well taken care of.


No one is going to have any idea of what you have or what they might want to spend on it unless you give at least a few details at a minimum. Such as:

Name of Face and pt. size
Quantity - 7A 23a for instance
Condition - is it pristine or worn and nicked
Is it pied or packed in cases
Where are you?????? - distance is a shipping factor

Eve is a great face and the reason you have found very little available is because it had to be imported from Germany and therefore was less available than domestic fonts.


The Smithsonian is a graveyard for type. What is held there is essentially lost to the world- not even researchers have had luck accessing their typographic holdings.

I suspect there are a few of us here that are eager to see your list, maybe some photos, and asking prices.


Rick and DGM,

Thanks for the messages. I hesitated to be specific about size etc. because I didn’t want it to seem I was trying to sell it without formally listing it. I wanted general pricing guidelines and can see how it can be confusing without enough details. Just so difficult to let go it. It was my house face for 25 years. It has been well cared for.
I am compiling a complete list of my fonts and expect to finish it in a couple of weeks. I then will start fonting.


Thanks Teri,
Keep us in the loop!


Don’t assume that selling rare type on Ebay will make you rich. Two years ago I boxed up four founts of clean, pre-point size Victorian types in decent sized synopses. There were decorated faces and comparatively rare. They included City Initials (full set, immaculate), a Tuscan face (can’t remember which), Sicilian and one other. The four sold for around £30 sterling (that’s an average of just £7.50 each). They were all bought by the same man. My starting price was 99p per item on a 7-day auction. I was disappointed with the sale price, but that’s what Ebay is like. I thought lots of Briar Press members would be bidding!

Here is an interesting bit of history in which Eve plays a part.

Hi Ink Spirite and Clothdog,
Thank you for your thoughts. I don’t really want to get rich, just sell for a fair price. Sorry yours did not work out as you wished. I mostly want my collection of old and not- so-old to be used with respect.
The smashingmagazine article was very interesting. I had done research years ago and had never heard as much history and info as this. Do have Rivioli in my studio - my way of preserving wear and tear on Eve with longer runs etc.

A local colleague with much experience in these matters has done formal appraisals of type value for estates. He values interesting foundry type (ATF or European), in good condition, at $10 per pound. Other desirable type from Thompson casters or Monotype casters, in good condition, is valued at $5 per pound. If the type is in a case, weigh the case and subtract the weight of an empty case. The value of the case is often zero in this context, unless it is part of, say, an all-oak Hamilton cabinet.

Aside from those considerations, I must admit that I have long lusted for Eve! In the late 80s I worked in a shop with several cases of this desired typeface, and I was able to use it for one or two projects, especially Eve Italic with the hairline stroke - so elegant and graceful.

Matt Kelsey

Thank you so much, Matt

I just posted an ad, 02-07-13, for five cabinets with cases full of type. No idea of the real value. I know it needs some sorting. There is a huge variety. Anyone interested in giving an appraisal? See the ad in For Sale or Trade.