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Re: [BKARTS] seeking opinions on rare book

On Feb 26, 2004, at 11:02 AM, Nate Chrissy wrote:

The original leather boards are
attached, worn at the corners, exposing the boards.
As conservators, what would you do to this book?
Would you have it rebound?  Is it more valuable left
as original?  There are no definite rules, therefore I
ask your opinions.
I have had a number of opportunities to work on Mr. Johnson's
Dictionary. Obviously you have seen the definition of "oats" and other
similar words.

One does not want to have to sew such a book if you can avoid it --
there are over 1200 pages and each "signature" is a single sheet. The
books I have seen are sewn on six raised cords. Therefore, in order to
keep the swelling down, the binder had to sew each signature at only
one station, thus the book is sewn "seven-on". (I have a too-long story
about resewing a Johnson's Dictionary -- some other time).

I think that rebinding is an option to be used as a last resort. The
original should be saved wherever possible.
Greg Campbell  has suggested a box, and that is certainly appropriate.
If the sewing is sound and the boards are attached, there are ways to
preserve the original --- that would be my recommendation. The book can
be rebacked with new leather and the spine can gold-tooled in a period
The ultimate decision rests with the owner/curator, and/or dealer, who
is familiar with the value.
Bill Minter

William Minter Bookbinding & Conservation, Inc.
4364 Woodbury Pike
Woodbury, PA  16695
Fax:   814-793-4045
Email:    wminter@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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