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Incunabula Rebinding - Any Special Advice

This is the Forum for the art of Bookbinding, post your questions and answers about bookbinding here.

Moderator: denis

Incunabula Rebinding - Any Special Advice

Postby netgaincc on Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:55 pm

I have worked with three different bookbinders a fair amount over the years, and they rebacked or rebound dozens of books in my collection which were in bad shape.

I just acquired my first incunabulum, a 1483 volume in Latin printed in Nuremberg by Anton Koberger. It's a nice copy, internally, but it is in a later binding which has seen better days, a very plain binding of black paste paper boards over a black cloth spine.

I have a couple of binders I've worked with quite a bit over the years. Were this a later volume, I wouldn't hesitate to choose a simple, attractive style for the rebind. But this is the most I've ever spent on a single book (about $4,000), and I'm pausing before I do anything.

As a general principle, would you treat an incunabulum like this any differently than any other older volume - from the 16th or 17th century, for example - for binding purposes? Naturally, I assume a nice full leather rebind would improve the value to a buyer, given its rather homely current appearance. This volume is about 8 1/4" x 11 7/8" tall x 1/2" thick. It has nice wide margins, and should rebind nicely.

Any advice? Is there any particular style or approach you would favor over others? I've looked around quite a bit, but haven't seen too much on point, one way or the other, so perhaps I'm overthinking it . . . .
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Re: Incunabula Rebinding - Any Special Advice

Postby edenworkshops on Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:47 am

Hello

I would love to tackle this rebind.

Blind panel stamped calf with some good book fittings, blind tooled pig skin or vellum. The world is your lobster.

Richard


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Re: Incunabula Rebinding - Any Special Advice

Postby bookbum on Sun Aug 11, 2013 2:34 pm

I've never rebound incunabula and wouldn't want to myself. I've built clamshell boxes for all of mine and keep them safe that way.

if you'd like to get it rebound, I'd advise contacting Cattail Run Bindery in Winchester, VA. They are one of the few binderys in the country with whom the National Park Service will contract for rebinding of the country's valuable books. While I had ghe opportunity to train there, the worked on Robert E. Lee's family and battle bibles and on John Wilkes Booth's diaries they did the conservation on Marshall's entire library Jill, the master binder there could advise you are the best options.
Dan
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