H.C. Hansen Type Foundry - Type Cabinet

Hey folks, I’m an amateur and have just gotten into leterpress the last few years.

Couple of years ago I was at a antique show and picked up an old H.C. Hansen Type Cabinet.

I’m looking to sell the piece but have no idea what it’s worth. If anyone has more info about this piece I’d love to hear.


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Hello Anthony,

This is a very nice cabinet. The value depends on whether it’s being sold printer-to-printer to be used in a shop, or from an antique dealer to someone who wants a charming old piece for her living room in which she’ll store her grandmother’s button collection. For the former, I’d guess about $450 if the innards are configured for type and are in good shape. For the latter, at least $1000. It depends on your location, since it would be expensive to ship.

This is just my opinion, having been in the market for such a piece for a long time. I’ll be interested to see what others think.


Hansen’s 1909 catalog shows your cabinet as a No.20. It is a two-thirds cabinet, 43” tall x 25.25” x 20.625”. This cabinet was manufactured by The Hamilton Mfg. Co. of Two Rivers, WI and the brass plate you show was added by Hansen simply because they were the retail seller. What does it say on the iron handles on the front of each case????????

Hamilton was a major manufacturer of type cabinets and printers furniture and there wares were offered by many different foundries.

2/3 cabinets are not as common as full width cabinets. They can be a little more desirable to those with small shops with limited floor space. It’s one drawback is that it only has 20 cases, and not 24-25 like later models.

Really don’t see many Hansen labels on cabinets in the midwest or west coast simply because Hansen’s cabinets were originally sold regionally. Why would anyone in the midwest or west have a cabinet shipped from Boston when they were manufactured in Wisconsin?

I looks very nice, but price is determined by what someone is willing to pay for it.


Wow, I did not expect such through reply’s! Thanks so much.

It’s not everyday your able to find out the history of something you own that is over 100 years old.

As probably suspected the handles read “Hamilton MFG CO.” (See attached photo). Not sure if that adds or takes away to the possible rarity of the cabinet.

If anyone is interested in buying it from me or if you have has further information please don’t hesitate to let me know!!

I live in Brooklyn, NY. Thanks again for all your help!


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The cabinet is rarer than some configurations, but probably not so rare that its scarsity alone adds a ton of value at least for a printer. It being a 2/3 cabinet means the market is slightly different (small, home shops) and that the people looking for this type of cabinet are likely to have been looking a little bit longer for one that fits their space. Small shops usually have fewer cabinets and in my experience dont mind paying a little more, big shops may have a lot of cabinets, so they are likely to go for the bargain when they see it.

In my experience, the really big factor with type cabinets is condition and matching cases/hardware. Beaten and mismatched cabinets go very cheap, clean and matching ones fetch higher prices and might be attractive to nonprinters. Nonprinters tend to spend more money for mint-condition display pieces than printers do for storage and organization.

This one is in pretty good condition, it has seen some real use and I’m sure you’ll find a printer who is interested.

I have an identical 2/3 size cabinet, but mine was built with a sloped work top.

Michael Vickey

Printer’s shop equipment was often sold with the dealer’s name like this really nice Hansen cabinet, and not only for the US market, but for export as well. Several years ago Ed Thompson of the Thompson Cabinet Co., in Luddington, Michigan, sent me a sampling of the cabinet and equipment tags that Thompson used for their customers. They are shown here:


These 2/3 size cabinets usually have a double cap layout rather than an abridged California layout.


For type case layouts see:


Two-third (and also three-quarter size California or Yankee type cases may have cap layouts of 28 OR 32 compartments. Having some of each style in the same shop may quite often be hazardous to your physical and/or mental health, bringing on/back recurring drinking problems.

Hi Anthony,

How much would you sell it for if it is still available? I live in Prospect Harbor, Maine. I have been looking for this type of item for myself. Thanks very much.


Anthony, I have a two-thirds cabinet also, although from a different manufacturer. I paid $200 for the cabinet last spring.

If you still have your cabinet and would like to sell it, I offer $250 for the one you have. I don’t quite know what state you are in; I had found your listing by searching on “Massachusetts”, but perhaps that is not right. If you are elsewhere and there are substantial shipping charges, I cannot do that and would have to withdraw this offer.

Anyway, you have a very workable cabinet. I have been slowly growing my set of printing supplies, typefaces, cabinets, etc., and am a relative newbie to the letterpress world as well. My intention is to use the cabinet as a working cabinet, not as a piece of cute furniture. That probably means that my offer is lower than perhaps a price in an antique shop.