Page 15 - December 2016
P. 15

|  The Brooks Press |                               |  Peter Criddle (6562)  |
       A                                     for scrap. A fi nal charming letter asked
             recent letter in Small Printer asking
             for information about The Brooks
                                             the auctioneer to send the Caxton Black
             Press of Derbyshire rang bells and
       set me searching through my printing   to Derbyshire and – ‘We do hope that
                                             we shall not be troubling you but these
       bookshelves. What I pulled out was a   items are a long way from here, and we
       1938 auction catalogue for the Arden   propose sending along tomorrow per
       Press of London; the sale lasted four days   passenger train paid a case made to fi t
       and ran to 2530 lots.                 these seven cases of type, enclosed in
        Briefl y, the contents included: 11   which we will send seven strawboards,
       crown Victoria art platens; 45 two    and all we ask is could you get someone
       revolution presses, mostly Miehle quad   to nail these on top of each case before
       demy, quad crown, eight crown and quad   packing in the case and the LMS Railway
       royal; and, in the three composing rooms,   Goods Depot would fetch this from
       15 proof presses, mainly Vandercooks   Stamford Street if you would ask them.
       and Albions. The Monotype set up was 15   There will be no other trouble and we will
       casters with 215 founts of matrices in 35   even send the label.’ From the receipt
       faces, and also on offer was 50 tons of   also enclosed we learn that this service
       scrap type, 100 tons of founders’ type in   was to be carried out for the 17s 6d
       cases, and 3500 galleys and 4000 chases.   auctioneer’s commission. As a bonus all
       Wouldn’t you love to have been there?  these letters were typed on the backs of
         So why The Brooks Press? Enclosed   Brooks Press offprints, and the lot has
       in the catalogue were carbon copies of   gone off to the letter writer to help with
       letters from the press in which they left   the history of the press.
       bids for 14 cases of Locarno Italic at 6d
       per pound, but it fetched 1s 3d; 40 steel   Pedants’ Corner ()
       galleys at 6d each which they also lost;
       and seven cases of Caxton Black which   I am delighted to welcome a fellow pedant
       they won at 5d per pound, with the cases   to the group – Alan Brignull sent me the
       thrown in at half a crown each. A second   following:
       letter asked for the prices realised on a    My fi rst employer after college was Philips
       further twenty lots, and here we learn   the map publishers. I was interested to note
       that a 32 inch guillotine fetched £45;   various publications about the offi ce: Philip’s
       Victoria art platens £65-£100; Centurette   School Atlas, Philips Road Map, Philips’ World
       double crowns £155- £170; a quad crown   Atlas. All apostrophic permutations seemed
       Miehle £1050; and a double crown Albion   to be there. I was told that the company had
       £11. Evidently heavy type was popular in   once been called simply George Philip Ltd, but
       Derbyshire as they were also interested   changed later to George Philip and Son, so
       in Cooper Black, Post Bold and Erbar Bold   they could all have been correct, depending
       which all sold at 7d per pound. Obviously   on the date and how you thought about it.
       these prices are only interesting for the   The one that was never right was the atlas
       relative values of the lots at the time but,   with the name on the front in enormous
       according to the RPI, £1 in 1938 would be   extra-super-light Helvetica with the
       about £58 now.                        letterspacing reduced to the absolute
         In recent years Albions have gone for   minimum. It actually said Phlips but nobody
       £3000 at auction and Miehles have gone   had ever noticed.
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