American Numismatic Society
American Numismatic Society



Bound For Glory: Exotic Bindings in the ANS Library Collections Opening: October 23, 2010

Introduction: Judging a book by its cover

Since the invention of the printing press, books have changed from massive Latin tomes, the province of the elite, to modern mass-market paperbacks, read by prince and pauper alike. The five hundred fifty years between Gutenberg and Amy Tan (author of The Kitchen God’s Wife, New York Times #1 Bestseller on July 7, 1991) saw changes not just to the inside but also to the outside of books as technology and taste changed. Although the American Numismatic Society does not collect books for their fine bindings, over its 150-year history, the ANS Library has acquired a number of fine bindings. This exhibition showcases some of the finer bindings in the Library’s holdings, from a sixteenth-century alum-tawed pigskin to a late-nineteenth-century binding from an Imperial Russian library.

Grand Duke Georgii Mikhailovich.
Monety tsarstvovaniia (= The Corpus of Russian Coins). (12 volumes). Volumes from the library of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich.
Tipografiia A. Benke, 1888-1914.
Gift of Catherine Bullowa Moore.

Binding: Fine calf leather with colored leather onlays with initials of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich.
Inside: Gilt tooling with purple moiré silk doublures.

Other items in this exhibition include:

-- Panvinio, Onofrio. Fasti et triumphi Romanorum a Romulo Rege usque ad Carolum V. Caes. Aug. Venice, 1557.

Binding: Vellum impressed with concentric frame design. Brass clasps.

-- Junius, Hadrian. Nomenclator omnium rerum propris nomina variis linguis explicata indicans : multo quam antea emendatior ac locupletior. Antwerp, 1583.

Binding: Alum-tawed pig-skin with wood block impression of Martin Luther.

-- Epitome Emblematvm Panegyricorvm Academiae Altorfinae. Studiosæ Juuentuti propsita. Noriberg (Nuremburg) : Levinus Hulsius, 1602.

Binding: Imitation of medieval manuscript of Decretum Gratiani.

-- Vico, Aeneas. Augustarum Imagines aereis formis expressae… Paris, 1619.

Binding: Vellum.

-- Orville, Jacques Philippe d'. Sicula quibus Siciliae veteris rudera Amsterdam, 1764.

Binding: Alum-tawed pig-skin with gilt tooling details.

-- Angeloni, C. Raccolta de disegni de’ conij della monete ch’ attrovanai in corso con suoi respettivi saggi esequiti nella publica zecca di Venezia. Venice, 1790.

Binding: Speckled sheep leather with acid treatment design. Iron clasps. Gilt and gauffered edges.

-- Humphrey’s, H. N. The Coinage of the British Empire. an outline of the progress of the coinage in Great Britain and her dependencies, from the earliest period to the present time. London: David Bogue, Fleet Street, 1855.

Binding: Lacquer, plaster and paper-Mache over iron frame.

-- A record of the Palace collection of ancient bronzes and coins by Imperial decree. Compiled by Yuu Lum & Hong Zhan et al. on the orders of the emperor Qiam Long. 4th Emperor of the Qing Dynasty in the 14th year of his reign (1750 AD). 24 volumes. Reprint in the 14th year of Emperor Guang Xu (1889 A.D.). Shanghai.
Gift of John Reilly, Jr.

Binding: Wooden box housing with engraved characters.

-- Grand Duke Georgii Mikhailovich.
Monety tsarstvovaniia (= The Corpus of Russian Coins). (12 volumes). Volumes from the library of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich.
Tipografiia A. Benke, 1888-1914.
Gift of Catherine Bullowa Moore.

Binding: Fine calf leather with colored leather onlays with initials of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich.
Inside: Gilt tooling with purple moiré silk doublures.

-- Babelon, Ernest. Description historique et chronologique des monnaies de la République romaine vulgairement appélees monnaies consulaires. Paris: Rollin et Feuardent, 1885-86. Gift of Catherine Bullowa Moore.

Binding: Green leather with gilt tooling details.