08 January 2009
Today, I got a rare treat. I got to hold this early 17th century hinged book. Inside, it holds two texts: commentaries on the books of Ruth and Judges from 1609 and another set of commentaries by the same author on Kings, Chronicles and Samuel printed in 1617. The book is part of a collection which is housed in our library but is owned by the Catholic Diocese of Victoria.
My inner bookgeek and inner historygeek both got very excited seeing the book hinges still both in tact and the binding still flexible enough that the hinges can be used.
The full record can be found in our catalog. To give you an idea of the value, a volume by the same author bound in a similar manner in 1604 (but with only one hinge in tact) is listed on Abebooks for a little over four thousand dollars Canadian from a seller in Zurich.
So, yeah. Really our library is full of stuff like this -- most academic libraries are -- so when patrons used to come to the desk with a book published in 1898 insisting that it be placed in Special Collections we would tell them it wasn't old enough. This is old enough.