How to Describe Rare Books, Manuscripts, Autographs, Maps, Prints, Atlases, First Editions, Illustrated Books - Glossary in English
Book binding leather from a calf hide or cattle hide; a commonly used material for leather binding (see also morocco, sheep, and vellum).
"Calligraphy has been defined by Stanley Morison (in the Encyclopaedia Britannica) as ‘freehand in which the freedom is so nicely reconciled with order that the understanding eye is pleased to...
A new leaf, often the title page, to which changes have been made, which is glued onto the narrow stub left by the removed leaf which has been excised.
A manuscript or letter that was created using carbon paper, i.e. the second (or later) copy in the typewriter, a device used by hard-drinking authors before the invention of the personal computer...
|Carter's ABC for Book Collectors||
An excellent book collectors' glossary, by John Carter and first published in 1952. It is in fact perhaps the definitive glossary of its kind and highly recommended. You can browse the ABC for Book...
"A tablet, for inscription (e.g. the titling of maps) or ornament; originally in the form of a scroll, but sometimes used loosely (especially in descriptions of bindings) for round, oval or...
The covers enclosing a book, usually made of thick cardboard, or a specially made case for a book.
"Book Catalogues come in as many forms as booksellers ... What every catalogue has in common - and has had since secondhand booksellers first started issuing catalogues - is that customers or...
|Chambre Professionelle Belge de la Librairie Ancienne et Moderne / Belgische Beroepskamer van Antiquaren (CLAM/BBA)||
The Chambre Professionelle Belge de la Librairie Ancienne et Moderne (CLAM) or Belgische Beroepskamer van Antiquaren (BBA) was founded in 1946 and has been an ILAB member from the beginnings in...
Small, inexpensive books produced from the 17th century until today, originally sold by "chapmen", peddlers, and hawkers.
Fairly modern term referring to books for older children which are organized into chapters, as opposed to "picture books", which often are not.
Either naughty underwear worn by women, or a case or folding tray into which a fragile or valuable book or manuscript is laid (as perhaps are the women in naughty underwear), usually used in...
"A very thin, soft, absorbent paper, made in China from bamboo fibre, yellowish or greyish or straw-coloured, used for proofs of engravings or wood-cuts, and occasionally also for lithographs. The...
Small pieces broken off of a dust jacket or binding.
Color printing from multiple impositions of lithographic stones or similar lithographic printing surfaces. A process of illustration that reached its zenith in the mid-Nineteenth century.
"Clasps, like bosses and corner-pieces, were part of the protective armour of medieval (and post-medieval) bindings. A clasp, either of metal with a hinge, or with an intervening strip of leather...
A tear in a dustjacket that fits closely together, in other words, doesn't look too much like a tear, as opposed to a ragged or jagged tear. Some dealers use the term to mean a tear that has been...
Book binding material woven from cotton, linen, wool or synthetic fibers.
|Coat of arms|
Paper is smooth and polished; something has been applied to the surface to make it appear glossy.
A slant to the spine of the book, causing the book to be out of square, usually caused by either reading the book, or stacking cases of beer on it.
Refers to the condition of a book; the wrinkled, puckered, waving, or curling condition of a page or of the boards of a book, which is caused by non-uniform drying and shrinkage. If the cockled...
To verify completeness of a book by examining it carefully (e.g.: all illustrative plates are present, no pages are missing, etc.)
Used in descriptive bibliography as the term which describes the non-binding portion of the book, verifying the proper sequence and completeness of pages & their gatherings (signatures).
|Collection of books|
A statement occurring at the rear of a volume following the text, relating information about the printing history and physical aspects of the book; often includes name of printer, type of paper,...
|Coloured (frontier lines on maps)|
Ruled lines forming a square border or frame on a binding, which is done in gilt or blind. Also known as panelled.
Condition sometimes shown as __/__, i.e., F/F, denoting first book & then dustjacket condition.
Leaves which are physically attached, part of the same sheet.
|Consecutive numbering (of leaves)|
A binding that was placed on the book at or around the time of publication. Some books were issued in paper covers, or plain cardboard boards, and the purchaser would often have a binding...
Illustrations produced when the original printing plate was engraved on copper; this method was introduced before the end of the 15th century. They replaced the woodcut, which reappeared later on.
|Copy in sheets|
The page that appears on verso of the title page, containing the artistic property protection.
You know, corners – the pointy things that stick out at the edges of the book. Like all things that stick out, they are the most likely to get bumped or worn.
Refers to the condition of a book; there is a long narrow opening or break down the spine or in the cover
A permanent bend to a page or dustjacket. In days of yore some collectors would remove the jacket from the book, fold it neatly in two, and store it somewhere safe.
Refers to the condition of a book; a grooved, indented, or pinched condition of a cover or page, which is caused by extreme humidity. It can also describe a bookmaking process that bends the hinges...
The margins of the book have been trimmed by the binder, usually too close to the text or into the text.
The very top edge of the spine, of either the book or the jacket. Since most people tug books off shelves from the crown, this area is very prone to wear. The recommended way to remove a book from...
|Cuir de Russie|
A drink-ring or circular stain left when a book is used as a coaster for a drinking glass. A handy Italian term which has no one-word English equivalent (and, from the perspective of book people,...
An illustration that is printed on a text page
The most common type of book edges, trimmed even with a large binders knife prior to finishing the binding process (see also uncut, unopened, and deckle edges).