Well, after having the Golding Pearl snatched up from under me during the last 8 seconds of the eBay auction, I was devastated thinking I was never going to find a letterpress. That I was confined to a life behind a desk, staring into a computer screen. That I was never going to be able to work from home in a sunny studio, my kids playing beside me while I press some gorgeous invitations for a lucky bride (I have quite a vivid imagination!) But I soldiered on. Looking for the positives in the ‘it’s not meant to be’ and ‘something better is just round the corner’ And it was!
A few days after the soul crushing auction, I was starting to hate eBay. Hating the auction garbage you have to go through. When one afternoon as I was getting ready to leave work I checked eBay on my phone. There was a new posting for a Chandler & Price press. I clicked on it and while waiting for it to load on my slow and outdated 3G, I started chanting in my mind ‘Please be in Australia, please be in Australia’. Better than that, it was in Melbourne! Starting bid $395 with 6 days to go. Hmmm ok. I put it on my watch list and then see it has a buy it now price of $495! Heart pumping, I think this is it! I scroll through the photos. Seems to be in good shape, no obvious signs of damage or missing parts. A little rusty, but that will clean up fine. I hesitate, wondering if I should speak to the hubby first. But what if it gets sold while I am trying to convince him that we need a 120 year old printing machine to make our lives complete? A Chandler and Price sells up to $2.5K, there was no way a $495 price tag would stay around for long.
I hit buy it now, hold my breath and all of a sudden I am the proud owner of a 800kg cast iron piece of printing history that I don’t even know works! But I can’t wipe the smile off my face. I keep checking eBay to make sure I read it properly and that I did in fact buy it. When I finally get home I tell the hubby. He thinks it’s great until I tell him the part about how big and heavy it is…
I guess I am a little naive when it comes to things like physics. And weight. And floor strength. Reluctantly I accept that an 800kg weight is not going to sit prettily in our spare bedroom/future studio. Floorboards and timber joists are not going to support her and my precious new press is going to have to stay in the carport on the sturdy concrete. My hubby has promised to build a special room around her so she will be at least a little protected from the elements. Not looking forward to those cold Melbourne nights and tight deadline projects though.
The next day we go and visit her. She is lovely. A little worn from being out in the cold and the dispensing tray is broken. An easy replacement though and she has her original chase as well as some quoins and furniture. But the best part is, she has a friend.
We are not too sure what this friend is though. Similar looking with a flywheel and treadle, much smaller and lighter than the C&P and in better condition.
The lady selling lost her husband a year ago who kept these machines as a side hobby after retirement. They were used commercially for 35 years prior. But this smaller one was his favourite. She is set to put it on ebay as well but as it doesn’t have any branding, is not sure of the value to put it up for. I immediately let her know that I would be very keen to take them both.
When I get home I get an email from eBay saying I have been given a second chance on the Golding Pearl…