The city of Boston has shut down its 78-year-old printing office to save money, and they're auctioning off 200 lots of astounding old print-shop junk. This is a potential bonanza for fine-art printers, zinesters, and people whose idea of fun is historical recreation of pre-digital printing techniques (green eyeshade optional). The auction is being held on Feb 24 at 11AM estern and will be simultaneously conducted live and digitally.
Row after row of creaky oak drawers hold thousands of letters, both metal type and wooden blocks, from fine print to 72-point Tudor. A cigar box brims with square block stamps of the city seal. And there are metal etchings of a few of the city's forefathers, presumably used years ago to print their faces on official documents...
The etchings, city seals, and alphabet after alphabet of dusty type will be sold as a single lot along with oak cabinets and other accoutrements of old-fashioned printing. That means a bidder cannot buy just a single object, such as the curving block of Old English type that says "The City of Boston.'' If someone really wants, for instance, that etching of Norton or DiCara, it will come with enough equipment to fill an antique print shop...
The sale will include about 200 lots, from a row of oak file cabinets from the 1930s or 1940s to an Art Deco-style grandfather clock made by IBM. The auction will comprise plenty of modern printing equipment, including paper cutters, collators, saddle stitch staplers, and even a massive Heidelberg four-color press.
Putting a price on antique printing (Boston Globe)
(Image: John Tlumacki/Boston Globe)
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