Wood type collection for sale

woodtype's picture

My large personal collection of classic and rare wood type fonts is now for sale: 373 fonts in eleven type cabinets, plus 129 related items.

The collection is about one-third historic and fancy fonts, one-third modern 20th century fonts, and one-third gothics. Also included are two smaller collections, one of borders, catchwords & ornaments and one of sorts, as well as several wood type catalogs and books and a 36-inch wood type composing stick from the old print shop at St. Meinrad's Abbey Press.

For an inventory and prospectus with additional photos, please email me at malcolmdean@mac.com

"In closing, I'd like to recount an interesting incident which adds another dimension to the allure of wood type… a mother and child incident [at an antiques mall not long ago]. The boy, about 11 years old, was unhappy with the mall experience; but his eyes lit up on spotting [our] array of type cases holding type, cuts and other seductive what nots. After inspecting things for a while, he started on a second tour despite his mother's tuggings. The mother persisted, the boy resisted. My wife, who had been observing this with quiet amusement (having raised three sons) asked him why he found the type of such interest. He caressed the piece he had in hand - thought a bit and said, "It's real."

- Stan Harris, writing in Greg Ruffa's The Art of Wood Type

Si_Daniels's picture

Obvious question, why not sell these off one at a time on ebay?

woodtype's picture

Sii: It took years of work to collect these - I'd hate to break it up now. Big collections are hard to find. Plus, just on the practical side, one sale to the right collector/printer/museum is a lot more efficient than 502 separate Ebay sales. But... as you suggest, I may have to end up selling smaller lots, or by the font. Worth giving it a try first, though.

gregruffa's picture

Gregory Ruffa

This is a magnificent collection of wood type with a long list of high end type styles.
All the fonts are complete and in excellent condition. I have knowledge of them,
I can only report that they are breath taking. The collection is a once in a lifetime opportunity. This is not for the casual ebay collector. To sell this collection one at a time will separate the font groups that required years to assemble and catalog, verifying the historical foundry, the type style's catalog name and date. A wood type collector's dream. Inquire about the sale, be ready to be amazed.

Andy Martin's picture

Fantastic collection, I just wish I could afford to buy and also have the room to store it.

Joe Pemberton's picture


woodtype's picture

Weeman: As one gets a bit older, and perhaps a bit wiser, one realizes one must keep life in perspective: trivial matters like money and room must always assume a lesser priority than type. Especially wood type.

Si_Daniels's picture

>Sii: It took years of work to collect these - I’d hate to break it up now.

That was really what I was trying to tease out - if you're looking for another collector/museum or don't really care what happens to it once its sold.

jonsel's picture

This looks like a stellar collection just from the few pictures posted above. It really needs to be with a collector or museum. I doubt these days most museums have the money to acquire a collection like this, though. I would also hate to see it go on ebay. You'd make a mint – probably $300-400/drawer at least, but it might take you a year to do it! Any thoughts of donating it somewhere like the Hamilton Wood Type Museum? There are others probably as well that I'm not familiar with.

woodtype's picture

Sii: I do indeed care what happens to the collection after its sold. I'm going to try to avoid Ebay at all costs. I have a long email list of printers and collectors interested in individual fonts or small groups, and I will sell to them first. But if at all possible, I'd love to place it as a whole with a collector or museum that would really care for it, and keep it growing. It's unfortunate the entire global financial system is in meltdown at the moment. It makes it much more difficult. It may just not be in the cards, and I know that. If you have any interest at all, even in the individual fonts, send me an email and I'll send you the PDF of the inventory and prospectus, and put you on my email list in case I am forced to break it up. The prospectus is kind of interesting just on its own.

woodtype's picture

Jonsel: The collection represents a fairly major investment for us, so I'm not in the position to just donate it (wish I were!). The fonts pictured run in value from about $500 to $1500 each. I estimate the average price is $425/font. Drop me a line and I'll send you the inventory.

Quincunx's picture

I read 'donate' a bit like on loan. I'd never just give a collection like this away. That they're still yours, but that the museum can exhibit them and take care of it. But I have no idea if they would even be interested in something like that.

I have quite some boxes of woodtype, that aren't nearly as special as the collection in this thread, but even that I wouldn't just give away. Woodtype has been chucked into the fireplace far too much in the last decennia to just give it away. :)

BarbHauser's picture

I'm wondering if someone in this forum knows of a foundation or corporation that could purchase the collection and then donate it to a museum, receiving in return a tax benefit as well as some name recognition among exhibit-goers. This might, however, take more time to arrange than Mr. Dean has. Another possibility would be to find an "angel" or angels who might want to do the same. I would be happy to make a contribution but it wouldn't go very far, considering the value of the collection.

DrDoc's picture

"That belongs in a museum!"

Sorry, couldn't resist.

kegler's picture

I know of a museum that would gladly accept
We have space. Donations welcome.

woodtype's picture

I've left this post up for the value of the photos to all wood type lovers, but just to update things, the collection has been sold to a printer/collector. Thanks to everyone for their comments and suggestions. -- woodtype

Thomas Phinney's picture

I wanted to check something: did you by any chance have a wood type version of Columbus in that set?

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