The Philadelphia Print Shop, a long time player in the maps and prints field, cashed their chips in late 2019 and sold the firm to David Mackey, a collector who is moving the reconstituted firm opening in October, just a few miles distant, to Wayne, Pennsylvania. It’s encouraging news. The PPS was established in 1982 by Dr. Don Cresswell, a former curator of Revolutionary War Maps at the Library of Congress. The Doctor was for many years a regular on the Antiques Roadshow. For some years since, old age was catching up with him and this circumstance prompted the sale.
For Mr. Mackey, a collector, the purchase of the company was an opportunity.
He comes into the field at a complex time. Maps and related collectible paper is one of the strongest elements of the collecting category but, the field overall has been retrenching. Shops have been closing for decades and Covid-19 has reduced foot traffic in 2020 to naught.
Nevertheless, location is important as Philadelphia has a loyal following who appreciate and remember the deep roots of the American experiment; to collect, support, and visit the many shrines that keep the enlivening spirit of democracy fresh in the national awareness. That should keep the reconstituted shop busy.
But, while an inventory and a company name can be purchased, the sinews and muscle of the firm is only as strong as its professional support. Mr. Mackey is familiar with the field from the perspective as a collector but Jane Toczek, a long term team member, is the one who brings the day to day business familiarity that will turn maps on the shelves into stories, prices and transactions.
To Mr. Mackey, we commend your courage and commitment. Many have been retiring but we have no doubt the field will be quick to provide support. It’s an important moment.
Here is the new address [in October]:
209 W. Lancaster Ave.
Wayne, Pennsylvania 19087
Here are two websites associated with the new firm: