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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 31, July 30, 2006, Article 9

THE ART OF THE BOOKPLATE

Mark Tomasko writes: "On the subject of bookplates, I may have
suggestions as to where someone seriously interested can get a
bookplate engraved and printed - contact me at mntomasko@att.net.
I personally have never been interested in having my own bookplate
despite my interest in engraving and acquaintance with bank note
engravers because too many bookplates end up defacing the book. A
small, well-done bookplate could be a nice item, however. Related
to my interest in documenting bank note engraving, I have quite a
few bookplates done by American Bank Note. Some are clearly "favor"
items done for ABN executives or executives of clients, and in one
case, for the child of an ABN officer."

Allan Davisson writes: "I was set to respond to the query about
bookplates and pulled down my copy of Keenan's work (ART OF THE
BOOKPLATE, a great little book!) Then I went to the web sites you
listed and found that you and George Kolbe had already covered all
the other points I had intended to raise.  (By the way, I agree
absolutely with George about embossers and books. To me, it is akin
to etching your name on the surface of your coins.)

My own problem with a personal bookplate is sorting out the difference
between pride and vanity. Some of my books have unappealing bookplates
from people I do not recognize. Others once belonged to famous collectors.
I have carefully removed some of the bookplates that lack both aesthetic
appeal and important provenance, but not everyone is careful to use
nonpermanent glue.  Despite having developed some designs, I still have
not decided whether to do a bookplate myself.

As long as we are talking about personal marks on libraries, I am
more interested in binding styles. I follow a few special design
characteristics with the books I have bound for my own library. I
have one leather bound book I treasure highly that was bound for me
by Basil Demetriadi's binder in the style of Basil's books. Back when
books were issued in publisher's boards buyers had them bound after
purchase and distinctive styles were the norm.

There is the specialized artistic field of book arts that could well
be more evident in numismatic publication. I have a few publications
on my shelves that display a style and beauty in binding that provides
the double satisfaction of having a well produced reference in a
particularly pleasing format. The Gulbenkian Greek volumes and the
Bird and Bull Press work on booksellers' tokens are good examples. It
seems to me generally that the current focus is on dust jackets rather
than high quality bindings, particularly in the general book press.
Dust jackets are relatively inexpensive to produce and can be attractive
on their own, particularly when printed on heavy paper with folded edges
at the top and bottom. But a dust jacket is not a substitute for a well
bound book with sewn binding and high quality cloth.

Looking through my shelves I spotted two of George Kolbe's publications,
His 1999 publication of John Adams' work on Indian Peace Medals and his
2001 publication ILLUSTRIUM IMAGINES, A Leaf Book are outstanding examples
of books published with fine attention to books as art as well as
information."

[QUICK QUIZ:  Just who is Basil Demetriadi?  Longtime E-Sylum readers
might know - his name has popped up before.  It's OK to consult the
E-Sylum archive, as long as you 'fess up. -Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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