There are many times that a small press becomes a testament to the collection of inspiring and hardworking people who are associated with it. Anvil Press is such an endeavour. Started in Lexington, Kentucky, the Anvil Press is really not a unique hand Press on its own, but is in fact an association of the leading amateur and hobby printers of the Lexington area, comprised of the influential Bur Press, Helm Press, and Victor Hammer’s own private press the Stamperia del Santuccio. Like many of the founding Book Clubs of the previous Arts and Crafts Movement, Anvil Press started as a means by which local friends and printing enthusiasts could come together to create print runs at cost on any of the assembled presses (as is the way of the private presses; one printer might be very pleased with their Washington press, but would love to see what a colleagues Chandler & Price Press could accomplish).
The key figure behind this all is, of course, the German expatriate Dr. Victor hammer, who fled Nazi Germany to America, and bringing with him his love and craftsmanship at home printing. Over the decades of the Anvil associations printing, they became known for very high quality classical works, designed for limited collection. Their four Gospels of the New Testament (1954) is considered to be their finest work and is valued (when complete at four volumes) to be worth easily $1000. Another fine edition from the Anvil association would be Shakespeare’s Sonnets (1956) one of 240 unnumbered copies, worth at least $350.
As Anvil was undoubtedly a work of love by a number of people, then there is great opportunity to find some very astounding works produced by the press at very little cost. One such is Father Junipero’s Holy Family (1956) which can be valued at auction for a little under $250, but shows a remarkable clean style and use of very attractive coloured medieval lettering on the front. Well worth the investment for any collector of fine presses!
Pico Della Mirandola, Giovanni. Oratio de Hominis Dignitate. Anvil (1953). Oration on the Dignity of Man
,. The Newe Testamente. Anvil (1954). The Gospells of S. Mathew, S. Marke, S. Luke, and S. Jhon
Sedulius,. Coelii Sedulii de Quatuor Evangelistis.. Anvil (1955). Ex libro primo openis Paschalis vulgati circa annum cccxxiv
Hebel, Johann Peter. Francisca. Anvil (1957). And Other Stories; Translated by Clavia Goodman and Bayard Quincy Morgan, with an Appreciation by Emil Strauss.
Hammer, Victor. Those Visible Marks. Anvil (1988). The Forms of Our Letters
Hammer, Victor. A Second Book of Fragments and Alexander von Humboldt The Genius of Rhodes. Anvil (1991). Translated by Helmut Gordon
Holbrook, Paul Evans. An Introduction to Victor and Carolyn Hammer. Anvil (1995). With a Listing of the Books Printed At Their Several Presses