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My One and Only Live Auction

In October 2012, my daughter and I went to our first live auction. After obsessing about letterpress for several years, and combing the internet looking for a press, I came across a Vandercook at the most unlikely location, the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport. It was a small photo of the backside of the press, but after staring at it forever, I was pretty sure it was a model 4. I really didnt expect that I even had a shot at buying it, but my curiousity got the better of me and we drove down to the auction.

The auction was filled with all sorts of random finds, from landscaping equipment to electric generators, but I seemed to be the only person in attendance who came for the Vandercook. The press didnt look pretty, but I still thought it could be restored back to working order. When it finally came time to bid on it, there was someone on the phone from Vermont who wanted the lot, but with some quick talking during the bidding, I made an agreement with another bidder to split the lot. He wanted the type and cases, and I wanted the press. Together we won the auction and I was the proud new owner of a 1947 Vandercook 4T printing press. The Airport said I needed to get this 1100 pound machine out of the hanger in two days, since the US President was coming in town and this hanger is where they housed the planes in event of snow. As fortune would have it, my new bidding partner lived just a few miles from me and agreed to wrap, transport and forklift my press into my home two days later.

The restoration began. I have to thank Paul Moxon and all the helpful people at the Vanderblog for all the advice they gave me as I cleaned every inch of the press, replaced the rollers and belt on the motor, and worked on the foot pedal. All I can say is Evaporust is an amazing product and removing rust is an addictive process. A year later, my press is fully restored and printing great. I feel so lucky to have a press like this of my own.

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