Manhattan rubber-stamp shop preserves whimsical art form

ByChristina Georgiou Localish logo
Friday, August 25, 2023
Manhattan rubber-stamp shop preserves whimsical art form
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For decades, John Casey has been putting his stamp on preserving a unique art form.

EAST VILLAGE, MANHATTAN -- Hidden in Manhattan's East Village is Casey Rubber Stamps, a shoebox of a shop brimming with handmade rubber stamps, crafted by owner John Casey and his team.

Casey's stamp collection provides a number of unique prints, curating a vintage charm with wide appeal.

"We do custom stamps but we also have a large selection of stock items, most are from old stock printers-cut catalogs, old books, probably half my designs are pre-1920," Casey said.

Casey maintains the traditional stamp-making process using natural rubber, negatives, plates, and molds, a method more time-consuming and costly than modern alternatives.

Regardless, Casey favors performing tasks in the old-fashioned way.

"Most modern business rubber stamps are either laser cut or are made of this liquid silicone material. The disadvantage to both of these techniques is they don't hold the ink as well as natural rubber and they break down in a number of years," he said.

Doing what he loves is getting more difficult, Casey acknowledges, but he's proof that there is a niche for it.

"People still want a design that is as pristine as possible to make a great image," he said.

Despite the changing times and New York's cut-throat retail environment, this charming hole-in-the-wall shop has survived over 40 years.

"I hope I'm just one of many smaller craft-type businesses that manage to survive in the big bad city that is New York," Casey said.