Regarding last week's item on the notoriously poor binding of certain editions of the Breen Encyclopedia, Dave Lange offers the following thoughts. -Editor My first copy of this book was inscribed to me by Walter upon its release, and it suffered the loss of only one or two pages before I retired it and bought another working copy. When I went to work for NGC I began to use the new one almost daily, and my working copy quickly turned to confetti.
At that point I bought yet another copy and immediately took it apart. I used a comb-binding machine and laminated paper covers to reassemble it by chapters, and these sections have served me well ever since. It's actually much more convenient to retrieve the desired chapters individually, as needed.
Another book that quickly fell apart with only moderate use was Ronald Manley's wonderful reference The Half Cent Die State Book. I use this exclusively for attributing half cents, due to its excellent plates. The pages of my copy fell out quite easily, and I again solved the problem with do-it-yourself comb binding. I didn't bind it with new covers, as the cloth covers of the original binding remained securely attached to one another. I simply use the original cloth as a slipcover for the rebound pages, which works just fine.
The original edition of my Buffalo Nickel book was published only in perfect-bound softcover, but I had requests for hardcover copies. The late Dave Feigenbaum, founder of DLRC Press, put me in touch with the binder he used for the hardcover copies of his titles, and this seemed like a cost-effective solution. Unfortunately, in my naivete I didn't realize that simply cutting away the spine from a paperback and gluing the pages directly to cloth would not make for a very durable binding.
One dealer even told me that the reason he wouldn't buy a hardcopy from me was that the pages would soon begin to fall out of such a binding. Nevertheless, I had several dozen copies bound that way in red, brown and black cloth, and these found ready buyers. Of course, I've never seen one of these reappear at auction or in a numismatic bookseller's inventory, and I suspect that they may have indeed succumbed to regular use and fallen apart. My own sample copies were placed into a bookcase and retired, so I don't have firsthand experience in using them. Subsequent editions were offered in hardcopy only and with more durable bindings as made.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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