Shipping Type in Type Case

I have about 50 Fonts of type in cases and a additional 6 fonts in original wrappers to sell. I am going to digital letterpress so as such out they go. But!! How do you wrap ‘em for shipment? I did a “test” sell on ebay using my shrink wrap system on an entire type case with type. It went okay. I did pack the top of the case with heavy corrugated box board and did a double shrink wrap to avoid a “Pi” of the type in shipment. Any suggestions here?

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Best solution I have come up with involves thin plywood screwed on top of cases that are actually stuffed, compartment by compartment with facial tissue (I am sure some substitute could be found). I have then bundled several cases together and tightly strapped them with plastic strapping tape. I have shipped cases cross country like this with no damage. Individual cases might require plywood top and bottom depending on the case. If you are selling to a lot of buyers it might be better just to pack the fonts securely and sell the cases separately. Although it might seem time consuming, so is the other method.

I must be unusual in that I actually find hand composing type relaxing.

While I can’t advise on how to ship them in cases, I am curious as to what you are selling?

Zwack: It is interesting that you say you find it relaxing to compose type - that’s exactly what my “test” buyer on ebay said - no problem if it got mixed up. However, I felt I was selling a “finished” product on Ebay with no fuss or muss, in other words no pile of type to be sorted with a composing stick - ready to go. “Fonting” printers type is no stranger to me - I learned it as a kid but that just adds to the selling price so I am trying to avoid that. But I have seen that empty type cases sell for big bucks and fonted type sells for even more. I’ll take a close look at this…

gachap: Your tissue paper stuffing sounds good but I think packing foam “peanuts” is quicker. Just scatter a coupla handfuls of peanuts over the case and press ‘em down into the type case over the type and then shrink wrap it. I think corrugate box board rather than thin plywood will do it. I would never put wood screws into a fragile type case. I have two Baltimore portable type cases in my collection, they use a sliding plywood cover to keep from mixing the type font - I wish every type case had this feature - but then the cost would be outa sight! Oh well…

I shipped hundreds of cases from California to Iowa when I moved here in the early 80’s. Via truck and train - lots of bouncing and jerking around.

The advise I got and the method I used proved invaluable. The outside edge AND the heavy section dividers are higher than the dividers that separate the individual compartments.So….. I needed to cut regular flat cardboard inserts over those sections (three for a California case). With those in place you can then shrinkwrap the entire case and the small thin characters will not migrate from compartment to compartment when bounced-around.


Thank you Rick. The center of the Calif. style case is the problem - the easy solution is to use a staple gun to tack it down, but like I’ve said here I don’t want to damage the woodwork in the case. I did not mention that about half my fonts are in Franklin Plasticases - very easy to ship. I will advise a potential buyer that these fonts are Monotype not the much harder foundry type of ATF. Some are Acme Type outa Chicago, others are from Quaker City and M&H out of San Francisco. I think I have a Flash Bold from Los Angeles Type Founders. I have all of their original printed catalogs in my collection so I think I can identify my type fonts by the foundry. Outa be fun - eh?

I assume that your Franklin Plasticases are stored on 12”x18” galleys. The slight ‘lip’ on the bottom of those cases slide into the slight groove under the side walls of those galleys and ‘lock’ the case into position and add immense rigidity to the fairly thin plastic. Case + galley would be the ideal way to wrap and ship those. More weight, but pretty much bullet-proof. I have a 100-galley rack full of these plasticases. A very compact way to store fonts.

I also have well over 700 galleys full of type, stored upright in rows with chipboard strips between each line. These are almost all larger point-size fonts that would be used for display work, so extracting the type is not hard. It frees up tons of space that would otherwise be sucked-up if all these were is cases. I have 2,000+ fonts of handset type in my shop so storage efficiency is paramount for me.


With every compartment stuffed tight with toilet tissue, plus a plywood lid pinnned on, it has been possible to carrya case held in a vertical position down the escalators and travel on London Transports Piccadilly Line at the peak of the rush hour. And thats saying something! One gets stared at hard by the staff, not unreasonably, but I got away with it several times. Transferring cases from my press to the late Roy Lewis’ Keepsake Press, via the tube and via a rather special charity’s offices, near Buck House.

I transported a couple dozen California cases and space/quad cases ranging from 8 pt to 48 pt from the east coast to the Minnesota using the “stuff with paper and cover the sections with cardboard and wrap tightly in shrink wrap” method that Rick mentions. I had three plastic cases that I cut 1/8” plywood bottoms for and then shrink wrapped them together. The U-Haul rental I was driving didn’t have the best shock absorbers and the Penna mountain roads and Indiana potholes gave me some worrying moments, But everything arrived in very good shape, with no pi and no damage to the individual sorts (that was my biggest worry: that the jostling would snap off some of the overhangs on the script faces). I later used the same method transferring assorted dingbats and rule from Sioux Falls back here. No problems. I’m sure there are other ways to do this, but the basic idea is the same: pack the individual compartments and cover the whole case tightly. Good luck! - Denis

Foolproof: The Franklin Plasticases are not in 12x18 galleys- I forgot that I built two cabinets for them years ago and I still have them! Type drawer dimensions are 14 and 3/8 by 19 and1/14 - they are in my shed out back - I totally forgot about this! Thank you Rick or “refreshing” my long lost memory here! Meanwhile, where do we get 12x18 galleys these days?

I moved a lot of full typecases from one home to another. I stacked about 5 cases one on top of another, so that the bottom of one case completely covered the case under it. The top case I stapled heavy cardboard over, but for shipping you might want to nail a piece of 1/4” plywood. Then strap the 5 cases tightly together.