Reclaimed Letters | Competition | London | Vintage Matters


As I am sure you all aware we have a thing for letters!

We personally, have been collecting vintage, reclaimed and salvaged letters ourselves for years and then we started reconditioning them to sell at Vintage Matters. As I’m sure you can imagine our collection just keeps growing, as we can’t resist a bit of beautiful or unusual type.

We source our letters globally, which gives us a fantastic variety – from illuminated to non-illuminated and in a variety of materials, from metal to wood to resin.

Like so many of our products we wonder what life they had previously and how they were used – most are reclaimed from shop fronts, pubs, railways and demolished buildings.

We love to know the provenance of our letters – some you instantly recognise like the red T.G.I Friday ones above and some stunning Mercedes Benz letters that have just come in.

Sometimes we just hit a blank though, like we did when we found a number of blue and yellow letters at a market – then in a light bulb moment, realised they were from Blockbuster Video stores!

We still have some of these letters available at

Mostly we have our letters for purely decorative purposes, lovingly scattered around our home, but they can also be used for branding or signage in bars, cafes, pubs, retail stores, offices etc., both inside and out, to make a real statement.

The image below shows a mix of vintage letters and letter lights that we sprayed red, for a commercial project, showing the company’s name in their reception area.

Some of our favourite reclaimed letters we stock are these amazing large illuminated ones that we get from the US – everything just seems bigger and bolder from there!

When they arrive though,  they certainly need some serious tender love and care. Most of them would have been exterior signage, so have been out in the elements for most of their lives, which gives them great character and also means they need some work before we can get them online.

When they arrive with us, the first job is taking them apart and giving them a good clean. Even though we are aware they have been used outside, we are still amazed by the amount of dirt and tumble weed that has collected inside – maybe they were formally lighting up the strip in Vegas?!

When we open the channel letters for cleaning, we strip out all the old glass neon tubes and wiring, which is not a particularly fun job, but very necessary.

In order to return them to their former glory and for them to be electrically safe, we recondition them with new LED’s and a UK 3-pin plug.

This has taken a certain amount of practice to get the lighting correct and also takes a fair amount of patience, fixing the LED’s around all the serifs and bends that our letters tend to have. Once we have wired them up and checked we have a good even glow, they are ready for photography, though sometimes we have to cut new light omitting acrylic fronts, if they have too many marks or cracks and replace any trims that are too worn.

It’s always a fine balance with vintage pieces, just how many character marks we allow before replacing or cleaning it up. We one have one simple rule or question that we ask ourselves –  would we be happy buying that piece and having it in our house? If the answer is “yes”, then it is good to photograph and get online to find a new home.

Our letters look fantastic hung on a wall or on a book shelf and make for an amazing personal gift for someone, or start collecting your initials.

We have a huge amount of reclaimed and salvaged letters that are coming online so keep a look out, or contact [email protected] if you are looking for a specific letter.

This week sees the start of a competition, in collaboration with our friends at Warehouse Home, where you can win  one of our salvaged letters*, simply by logging on to Twitter, retweeting the competition and following both @mywarehousehome and @vintagematters for a chance to win a letter of your choice that we have online.

You can also follow us on Instagram as @vintagemattersuk or our new feed, which is for fans of fonts and typography, where we have branded ourselves @thelettermenuk !

Good luck in the competition!

* the competition is to win one of our salvaged letters from a shop front or pub and does not include our letter lights