Farley proofing press sells for more than £4k

Jo Francis
Wednesday, October 26, 2016

An old Farley letterpress proofing press has fetched an astonishing price of more than £4,000 after a bidding war between two buyers on eBay.

The press was put up for sale by Broadstairs-based Urbanfox Design, which specialises in selling letterpress ephemera.

Owner Roger Beevers admitted he had initially thought the bidding was some sort of wind-up: “I had expected it to fetch about £800 but the bidding went a bit crazy. There was a Swiss guy who was desperate to buy it, and basically two people went head-to-head over it."

He said that as far as he was aware it did not have any exceptional provenance, or a famous former owner.

“It’s just a basic press, it doesn’t have any bells and whistles.”

The winning bid was £4,118. News of the exceptionally high price reached has caused a stir in the letterpress community, with a number of people tweeting about the sale as the listing came to a conclusion yesterday (25 October).


“Someone asked me if it came with a gold bar!” Beevers quipped.

The winning bidder, who is based in the UK, has paid for the press and is in the process of arranging to pick it up.

Beevers said the bench top sized Farley press was popular because it sits inbetween small models like the Adana, and more heavyweight options such as a Vandercook or treadle presses, and it allows people to print from wooden type.

“Wooden poster type is highly desirable at the moment and you need a proofing press for that really,” he explained.

Beevers said he had developed his speciality in letterpress wares by accident, but it had subsequently become a passion. “I’m keen to get the equipment and type back out there to be used, rather than languishing around in a shed or being scrapped,” he said.

“The trouble is, something like this can make life difficult because people will now think all these presses are worth thousands of pounds, but you never know with eBay, it just depends who’s bidding and who wants it more on the day.

“That said, if any PrintWeek readers do have old proofing presses lying about, I’d be most interested in buying them off them!”

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