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Re: M&H Type Foundry Newsletter

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  • Gerald Lange
    Well, yes, it s just relative value. Books once had an extremely high social/cultural iconographic value. They certainly don t have that status today. But the
    Message 1 of 13 , Nov 30 6:49 PM
      Well, yes, it's just relative value. Books once had an extremely high
      social/cultural iconographic value. They certainly don't have that
      status today. But the pricing of high-end fine press books and artists
      books has also grown quite a bit since the last quarter of the
      century. If Hoyem issued a production exactly like Moby Dick today it
      would likely have to sell at around $5,000 at minimum.

      In terms of relative value: Then there is the Vandercook. When I
      started looking for one in the Chicago area back in 1975, used
      Vandercooks (mainly SP-15s) were selling for $1,000. I bought one at
      that price. They were relatively high then because Vandercook was
      still selling them new. I have a letter dated February 11, 1976 from
      Vandercook and the price quoted for the SP15 with standard equipment
      was $4,500. Thoughout the 1980s though I was able to pick them up for
      $100, $200 (as new), $400, and was even offered two Universal IIIs (in
      as new condition for $500 each-which I passed on). About half-a-decade
      ago though, the prices on used Vandercooks started escalating. Today
      we are seeing SP-15s and Universals selling at near the $8,000 mark
      (as a high) and even the older model #4s and #219s are selling at high
      prices. A recent #4 sale that I am aware of was $5,000. $4,500 back in
      1976 might translate into around $12,000 in today's money. But it's
      really not just a matter of supply and demand that determines the
      pricing. Letterpress currently has growing iconographic value and the
      pricing is following suit.


      --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, "Gerald Lange" <Bieler@...> wrote:
      > One source suggests that the Gutenberg Bible sold for 30 florins.
      > About three years wages for the average "clerk" of the time period.
      > Equivalent today of between $132,000 to $144,000, based on various
      > financial calculations.
      > William Morris is said to have priced his books at the average monthly
      > wage of the middle class. Equivalent today of $3,500 to $4,000.
      > These figures are likely somewhat meaningless in real terms but they
      > give a bit of a perspective.
      > Hoyem's Moby Dick was released at the controversial price of $1,000
      > back in 1979 (now worth about 4 to 5 times that). I'd say that $2,500
      > for the Bible is quite a bargain, if you can afford it.
      > Gerald
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