I am considering selling my 2 Vandercooks to my employer. (Read: “I needs the cash!”) As I don’t keep up with recent Vandercook sales & prices anymore, I am curious what any of you might think they are worth.
The first is a Vandercook 4 that has been rebuilt, repainted, and has everything you’d expect to come with a standard issue 4. Delivery tray, brand new rollers . . . .
The second is a 325G that again has been rebuilt, repainted, and has everything you’d expect. New rollers, plenty of tympan paper.
Both are tight and print true. I’d appreciate input from any of you on or offline.
A Vandercook SP33 Power, is it a good versatile letterpress ?
Pointers on what to look for positive, negative ?
Value of this letterpress in Like new shape with all kit for replacement oem electrical parts and all tools and parts delivered in 1961 ?
Find some printing supplies is possible in 2010 for this model ? rollers etc ?
Any advice is greatly appreciated.
In 2004 I paid $3500 for my Vandercook 4 at auction on Ebay. Maybe not the wisest purchse as I was completely flying blind… needless to say it wasn’t quite in the “ready to print” condition that was promised, but I have no regrets. After $650 to ship, I probably bought around $200 in various missing or broken parts from Fritz and bought new rollers, $500. That brings the grand total pretty close to $5,000.
The SP-15 Daniel mentions actually cost me $195., but for that price I was prepared for problems and sure enough, the press has the oft-mentioned SP print/trip affliction, which I am just beginning to try to solve. (Thank you, Paul, for your helpful recent post on this subject)
No doubt there will still be deals to be found. One in our ranks here on the Vanderblog recently bought an SP-15 from an Illinois equipment dealer for what was it, $50?
The same dealer advertised Kelseys for over a grand!
It is a strange market. I am sure some great Vandercooks will still be going to scrap over the next years simply because the owner was out of the loop.
The Arm Letterpress
Its a sellers market, for sure. If they balk at your price, tell your Dean that there are “less than a thousand worldwide”:https://vandercookpress.info/vanderblog/census/. And that if they don’t jump soon then, some young, wide-eyed acolyte will drive to your sleepy hamlet in the middle of the night with a big fat cashiers check thereby diminishing the educational experience that the college’s book arts center has to offer for generations to come.
Cash in pocket and you still have access. Shrewd move, Terence P.
I talked with Charles Mohr today who has his book bindery in the same building as the Carson museum and he related that the $5000 #4 had new rollers and had been cleaned up and checked out by staff and volunteers at the museum–a perfect press? No, but he said it was in good condition. I have talked to the person who bought it and she said she knew the price was high but she was tired of trying to find a press and also wished to help the museum out financially. But a trend none-the-less. SP-15s have also sold recently for $5000, but I heard of one selling recently in eastern Pennsylvania for $1500 but it was between friends and we are now recovering the rollers for that press at the buyer’s expense.
Universal series preses have sold to one particular printer in New York in the $6000 to $8000 range. Many factors influence press prices, and location is not necessarily that important as I hear of them criss-crossing the country–a #4 just moved from Texas to S. Carolina this week. I wouldn’t count on current prices being a bubble that will break as there are more and more people entering letterpress, or up grading on their equipment. I try to steer people to presses suited for what they are doing and there are much better presses available than Vandercooks for many of the current social and wedding printing needs.
As to relative value it depends at what level of financial stability/success a person has achieved. I live in a small town that was basically a working class town–miners toiling in the local mines digging for gold and silver–real wealth was not here, and I remarked to our planning commission one evening “that we have all been poor for so long that we think we’re well off.” And we loose sight of the fact that there are a lot of people with real money out there, and these prices are not necessarily relevent to their decisions.
The International Printing Museum out in the LA environs just sold a #4 for $5,000. I don’t think it was reconditioned. Highest selling price I have seen for a Vandercook (irregardless of condition or model and eBay) is $8,000.
If you need the cash, go for it. Cash in before the bubble breaks.
I too will be curious to see what the real experts think, but from what i see, alot of Vandercooks in good working shape are regularly listed on Briar Press for upwards of $4,000.
I think it varies from region to region. I live in Bay Area, California and see them going for 4-5,000, but then agian, everything is expensive here.
Each situation is different too, depending on the buyer/seller relationship. For instance, I bought my #4 last year in fairly good shape, and paid $1,400. I think it was a steal, but I bought it from my alma mater, so I like to think that I got a bit of an “alumni discount”. I liked that my money was also going to my old art school. My old school is also in Portland, OR, and the asking price may run cheaper there.
Anyway, that is my limited experience in Vandercook pricing.