Lead Type Value **With Pictures**


My grandfather was a book binder and printing man for our local library since the 40’s. He passed away in 1998 and we recently received a call from the library saying that there were two cabinets with 20 drawers each of type inside.

We are assuming it’s lead but we aren’t sure. Is this type worth anything anymore? eBay has wildly varying prices. We have no use for it so we are looking to sell it.


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Rarity, Condition, and Location all influence value. Can you shed any more on these aspects of the type?

It would probably be best to sell as a unit to avoid cherry picking and being left with the dregs worth only scrap value.

Thank You for the reply.

I will swing by the library tomorrow to get more info and photos. I will then post them to see what you think.

The condition of the cabinets and type is important, as is what faces they are. Where you are located is also important. The simple fact is that this stuff can be very hard to move. If you’re in a region of the world with a large letterpress community, it may be much easier to find buyers and therefore easier to get a higher price. If there aren’t many enthusiasts nearby you might have to settle for a lower price to induce folks to pay for shipping or travel.

Another thing to decide would be whether you want to box the individual founts of type in each case (drawers of type are called cases) and sell them and the cases and cabinets separately which will be more work, vs. selling the cabinets full of their type which will be less work, but probably won’t get as much money for everything.

Looking forward to your future post. Where are you?


Made it to the library and snapped some pictures. The items are located in Redondo Beach California.

Inventory list compiled by the library is as follows:

1 blue metal type cabinet containing 23 type drawers of metal type in various type / fonts / sizes

1 gray wooden type cabinet containing 8 type drawers of metal type in various type fonts and sizes.

3 type drawers of metal type in various type fonts and sizes.

2 table top book presses

1 Hot foil stamping machine

2 galley trays

1 decorative metal rule

2 slug cutters

1 book stapler

8 weights

1 level

2 metal C clamps

1 Hand drill

7 rolls of assorted linen twines

1 Speed ball pen set

Various copper and brass spacers

Various book cloth and book tape.

Any feedback you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

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Anybody have an ideas on this stuff? Worth anything?

Nothing ornate, just workshop stuff it looks like.

Nice stuff, but I don’t see anything particularly rare. The fonts of type are fairly small (I see Cloister Black, Venus Medium and an unidentified script). The foil stamping press is probably the most valuable item. You should be able to get a couple of hundred for everything. Maybe more if you go through the hassle of selling on eBay.

Since you are near the International Printing Museum in Carson, CA, I’d go there and ask the experts there. Might make sense to donate it all to them and take a tax write-off.