Robert Rightmire submitted the following query which I'm vexes most bibliophiles - whether the leave a book in its original state, or to have it repaired or rebound. -Editor Recently two works, Loubat's The Medallic History of the US, 1776-1876 (1878) [oh, the wonderful plates!] and Baker's Medallic Portraits of Washington (1885) came my way. While the bindings were in deplorable condition, internally they were sound. In fact, the Baker had 12 uncut sheets.
The decision to rebind (with 3/4 leather & marbled paper) was made so that the works could be consulted without additional damage to the contents; yet, the loss of the original bindings means that the books no longer exist as totally original documents. The intent of the authors/publishers now exist only as photographs. Is rebinding/restoration a detriment or an asset to maintaining the record of our numismatic literary heritage? A photo of the Baker binding is attached.
The topic has been discussed here in the past, but it's been a long time, and I'd be curious to hear what the readership thinks. I've had book boxes made for certain fragile items in my library. I've never had any rebound, but then, I'm basically lazy and cheap. Had I not donated my life savings to the care and feeding of my wife and kids though, I'm sure that by now I would have cared for and fed my numismatic library with at least a few nice rebindings.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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