Book Press Identification

I found this within the home I recently purchased. After some researching I learned it is probably a book press. The picture on the left is one I found I believe on this site. The two pictures to the right of it are mine and it looks like the detailing is the same. I see the mechanism for turning the screw are different. But can anyone shed some light on a manufacturer, how old is it, is it even worth anything? Thanks in advance.


image: Book Press.jpg

Book Press.jpg

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Technically it is a “copying press”, made and used in the 19th century to make copies of documents hand-written in ink. Many bookbinders use them as “nipping” presses or to press a completed book lightly while the glue dries. They really are not strong enough for printing except for small blocks such as linoleum cuts. As to value, cleaned up it would probably be worth $100-400 depending on how it cleaned up. Some, like your example photo, had elaborate decorative painting or gilding, and those tend to bring more.


Most of these presses aren’t easy to identify. Because their construction is so simple, and they have existed for such a long time, there are probably thousands of models. They could be made from fairly simple patterns by just about any commercial foundry, unlike printing presses that tend to require a lot more precision and calibration.

In some cases, office equipment vendors would order them with custom decals, lettering or badges, so the names applied often have no relationship to the actual manufacturer, but only the reseller. And those resellers could have been a single location, a mail-order company, or a general store etc.

It does look like the same decals on both your references, with a different handle-casting. Not uncommon.

They are very useful for bookbinders, not so much for the copying these days. In my experience, Bob’s price-range is spot on. Simpler designs tend to fetch on the lower end, clean versions with more elaborate castings or designs on the higher end.