I have a nice collection of type specimens from American type setters that I’ve used for my Daily Type Specimen blog. I prefer type setter specimens to the foundry books because the bindings were intended to be disassembled, making them more durable and easy to scan. At this point I’m not buying more American stuff because I don’t need any more ATF/Lino/Mono specimens. I’d like to get some European stuff to post, but all I can find are bound foundry specimen books, pamphlets, and flyers. Did Europe have a tradition of typesetters printing their own specimen books? Do they turn up in some European bookstores that might be willing to sell them to me? Does anybody have advice on acquiring European type setter specimens?
The most common specimen floating around the German market are those from Offizin Haag-Drugulin in Leipzig. In the mid-1950s, I think, their name was changed to VEB Andersen-Nexö. The Museum für Druckkunst in Leipzig still has a stash of two specimen books printed by this printing house from the 1950s, but the earlier ones are of better quality.
As I said, I don’t have much of a collection in this area myself. But a friend of mine had some English specimen from The Alden Press (phototype faces) and Riscatype (letterpress printing via hand-setting and Monotype-setting) that were so nice that I bought these myself.
Maybe some of the bigger Europe-based book collectors on this forum can chime in with more suggestions. From what I’ve seen and heard, Stewf has smashed quite a collection of phototype-specimen in the last year. But I don’t know if those catalogues are from machine manufacturers or typesetting services.
Feel free to send me a PM if you are looking for any specific European specimen.
Monotype had the Alphabet Sheets and Desk Catalogue for example. There's a huge binder by Layton (typesetters) called »Layton's Serif Typefaces« (mostly Monotype UK faces).
D. Stempel AG also issued monthly collections by post incl. loose sheets of specimen. Klingspor also had various folders for single faces that incl. loose sheets with specimen and they had the »Schriftkartei« in multiple parts that came as ringbound.
Stephenson Blake issued at least 2 ring bounds (one for wood), Ludwig & Mayer had at least 3, Nebiolo at least 1, Fonderie Olive had 1. I believe there are many many more ...
For Monotype (UK and Lanston) Harold Berliner's three-ring comes to my mind. D. Stempel AG had two in house 2-ring (one brown, one red), but that are impossible to find at any 2nd hand book seller.
Casterman, imprimeurs, Tournai
The Western Type Book, Bristol, 1960
E. Keiser KG, Augsburg
Weisbecker, Alphabette, Frankfurt
Type faces for DISPLAY, Hazell Watson & Viney, Aylesbury, 1955
Book Types from Clowes, London, 1950
I'm hanging on to them!
Most on my list above are stitched. Some are easier to flatten and scan than others.
The Benhams specimen has “Cerlox” (comb) binding.
I own a dozen of such specimens from different printers from 20th Century. From time to time they are available on Czech ebay alternative (aukro.cz) or in second hand book stores. For instance, there are three specimens available here http://www.antikvariaty.cz/index.php?action=ShowImages&id=161179 at CZK 500 = approx USD 25.