Re: M&H Type Foundry Newsletter
- 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.