The Box SF-Historic Pressroom and Mercantile – San Francisco, California - Atlas Obscura

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The Box SF-Historic Pressroom and Mercantile

This antique shop specializes in the history of print and design. 


The Box SF-Historic Pressroom and Mercantile is a recreation of a historic 1850’s mercantile specializing in all things printed in San Francisco, California. With over 15 million individual pieces for sale, The Box SF is perhaps the most extensive ephemera, antiquarian paper, and vintage advertising store in the United States.

Located in the heart of the South of Market district of San Francisco, the space that houses the store was once home to the San Francisco Examiner during the 1920s. Upon entering this unassuming building, visitors are greeted with a visual feast that certainly catches the eye. Brightly colored games, toys, posters, packaging, books, and antique advertising fill the space from floor to ceiling.

The Pressroom contains printing presses that date to the 1830s, all restored to working order. Each day, the store exhibits, sells, and educates its clients on the remarkable and varied types of printing from the past.

Unlike a museum, one can see, touch, and examine everything inside and everything is priced to sell. Visitors will find rare printed items such as magazines, poster stamps, labels, books, packaging, games, toys, posters, and original prints from the 1700s. The Box SF is most certainly a paradise for artists, graphic designers, archivists, historians, collectors, and printers. It offers a unique opportunity to leave the busy city streets and travel back in time.

Know Before You Go

Ring the doorbell for admission at 1073 Howard Street (at the Corner of Moss Street and Howard). Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Closed Sunday, except by appointment). Closed most Holidays. Call 415-602-9500 for any questions at all.  Hour-long tours of the Pressroom and Mercantile as well as our Hidden Speakeasy are also available with advanced notice. Our Event Spaces and Meeting Rooms on the upper floors are available to Book 24/7, call to inquire about availability.


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