Like other antiques and collectables, seal presses vary in value due to a wide range of factors. The seal itself may have historical value. If so the other factors are moot. The age of the press, the body style, the condition of the paint, and the quality of the imprint all affect value. In general smooth body presses, hand held presses, and stamped seal body presses form the last 70 years have little or no value.
Indented body presses from the 1800’s through then 1930’s can be dated by the complexity of the decoration. The 1900 through 1920 period produced many presses with cast in designs. Keystone, Star, Anchor, Rolling Log, and Leaf designs are found among others. The 1870’s through the 1930’s produced a large variety (more than 100) styles of Lion Presses. These can range in value from $50 to $500 depending on style and condition. Starting in the mid 1860’s presses in the shape of a fist were popular. About 10 varieties exist. These are actively sought by press collectors, cast iron collectors, and folk art collectors. The same body style fist can vary in value by four or five times depending on the paint. The 1850’s through 1870’s also produced lever presses in the shape of people, sea monsters, eagles, squirrels, and bison. Percussion presses shaped like toads, lions, and buffalo were produced. The value of a seal press can best be determined by hands on inspection. As this is not usually feasible, photos accompanied by specific measurements will help.
Fancy Figural and Unusual Seal Presses Collectors Guide
By Cox R. Crider and Don Grampp
This guide book is sure to become a much sought after resource for collectors of American lever and percussion style seal presses manufactured prior to 1930. Profusely illustrated with color examples of over 160 different body styles and including over 60 different figural lions. This book has 113 8 ½” by 11” pages including the index with value guide.
If you search E bay you have seen listings for Evans lever presses. Did you know there are at least six different styles? The standard size Evans lever press comes in three different variations. Evans lever No2 has two variations. There is also a large size variety of Evan Lever Presses. The guide shows examples of each and tells how to tell them apart. The most common figural seal press is the 1904 patent lion. Did you know this comes in at least 3 major sizes and has five varieties?
You will see examples of Merriam toad and lion percussion presses, Hall and Evans percussion presses and other pre 1900 percussion presses. Other styles covered include left and right hand fist presses, bison, buffalo, and beaver figural lever presses. We have assigned a reference number to the body styles shown in the book which should help make it easier to communicate with fellow collectors. Each press has a CGG reference number, height with the handle up, Length of the base, Weight, base type (flat, indented, divided, pour hole, or no pour hole) and Rarity on a scale of 1 to 8.
There is a section devoted to the patent fight between C.F. Hall and Platt Evans, and illustrations from patent record research showing other styles of presses that may or may not have been manufactured. This guide book is printed in full color on glossy paper. Coil bound so it lays flat to make it easy to compare photos to your example. Te second edition of this guide with added pages and varieties will be available in the Spring of 2015. Contact his site for further information.
Types of Seal Presses:
Toad Press, Lion Press, Princess Press, La Fleur Press, Bison Percussion Press, Bulldog Percussion Press, Scotty Dog Press, Castanet Press, Sphinx Press, Evens Percussion Press, Hall Percussion Press, Mega Monster, Sea Monster, Ornate Lever Press, Ram’s Horn Press, Screw Press, Burdened Man, Elusive Eagle, Exquisite Eagle, Regal Eagle, Fist Presses, Squirrel Press, Bison Seal Press, Beaver Press, Lion Presses (50 varieties), Indented Body Press, Moon and Star Press, County Press, Good Old Seal Press Smooth Body Press, Pocket Presses and many many more.