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Ebony-like binding

A client brought this by recently: SENTIMENTS AND SIMILES OF WILLIAM
SHAKESPEARE by Henry Noel Humphreys, published by Longman, Brown, Green
and Longmans in London in 1851. The boards on first look appear to be
intricately carved ebony, with a cameo portrait of Shakespeare in the
center. But on closer inspection, the material is some sort of cast or
molded, hard, plastic-like material. Some one has suggested this
is laquered papier-mache, but it seems much too dense. Does anyone have
any idea what the material is and/or any information about this book?

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