>And today, there are letterpress shops whose press work is such
>that, at first cursory glance, it is indistinguishable from offset.
The old Monotype specimens had an extraordinary clarity to the
outline, reinforced by a depth of black that is (almost) impossible
in offset. The only types I can rember looking like 'real type' were
those that were intended to (like Poliphilus).
The 'battered' or 'pitted' look is found in some older sources - but
by no means all of them. Where it is found mostly, however, is in
(small) type specimen that are photographically enlarged. But is that
any more 'real type' than a laserprinted specimen blown up on a stat
machine until the black breacks down into a delightful grungy