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Folio Society Special Bindings

Folio Society devotees

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Edited: Mar 11, 2013, 6:50pm Top

A lot has been posted about the current FS Limited Edition programme, and thanks to wcarter we now have a link on the FSD Wiki page to lots of information on the Folio Press Fine Editions series. Whilst there have been occasional posts about other FS “limited editions” prior to the formal LE programme, I thought it might be useful to start this topic and also link it to the Wiki page to supplement wcarter’s excellent work if others think that is a good idea.

In addition to the LE programme and the Folio Press Fine Editions, and ignoring for now a few “odds and ends”, there have been three other series of “limited editions” published by FS:

1. The ultra-rare series of 5 regular titles from 1960 offered in a special binding, numbered and signed.
2. A series of 12 regular box sets between 1968 and 1989 offered in full morocco leather bindings, limited but unnumbered.
3. A series of 9 regular titles between 1990 and 1995, in quarter morocco leather with Ann Muir marbled paper boards and signed by the artists, each limited to 100 numbered copies.

I can’t add much to the information already available in existing FSD posts in respect of the first and third categories above, as I have none of the first (indeed I have never even seen one) and only one of the third. The aim of this post is to share what I know about the second category and at the same time to ask any other members if they can possibly fill in the gaps by posting any pictures / information about the titles I don’t have, and any information re the size of the limitations where the information is missing). The 12 sets are listed below. I plan to follow this post with pictures of the 7 sets I own. Those marked with an asterisk are ones I do not have and of which I have never even seen pictures, so if anyone has them and can share pictures on here I would be eternally grateful!

• Life of Johnson – Boswell (1968, limited to 200 copies)
• Decameron – Boccaccio (1969, limitation unknown)
• The Bible Designed To Be Read As Literature (1970, limitation 2500?)
• War And Peace – Tolstoy (1971, limited to 2000 copies)*
• The Book of The Thousand Nights And One Night (1974, limited to 500 copies)
• Chronicles of King Arthur – Malory (1982, limitation unknown, signed by the illustrator)
• A Tour Through The Whole Island Of Great Britain – Defoe (1983, limitation unknown)
• The Forsyte Saga – Galsworthy (1984, limitation unknown)
• Jane Austen’s Works (1984, limitation unknown, and again in 1996, limited to 1000 copies)*
• Complete Novels – Radcliffe (1987, limitation unknown)*
• Complete Plays – Shakespeare (1988, limitation unknown – bound to order)*
• The French Revolution – Carlyle (1989, limited to 1000 copies)*

I suspect I am unlikely to ever own some of the ones I am missing given their original prices, even if I ever did see them on the secondary market (the Shakespeare set was originally offered at UK£1,000 / US$2,000, and the French Revolution set was US$900), so if you have any pictures to share please do!

EDIT: Added asterisk to The French Revolution which I omitted in error (I wish I did own it!)

Edited: Mar 11, 2013, 5:03pm Top

#1 The Life of Johnson - James Boswell (1968)

This was the first in the series, and is one of the rarer FS titles, limited to just 200 copies. It is a particular favourite of mine with its lovely red morocco binding titled in gold, with Cockerell marbled endleaves and gilt to the top edge. The volumes are housed in a red buckram-covered slip case.

Mar 11, 2013, 5:12pm Top

Some, but not all, of the FS books in your list above are included in the "Other FS Limited Editions" on the wiki page.
If FSD members wish to make these a separate sub-group it would only improve the overall information about the different FS limited editions.
I can do that once the information is as complete as possible.

Mar 11, 2013, 5:24pm Top

#3 The Bible Designed To Be Read as Literature (1970)

I will come back to #2 shortly (The Decameron) as my photos appear to have gone AWOL.

I am afraid my copy of "The Bible..." is not in as good shape as my other sets from this series, but I will show the photos anyway for completeness.

This set is bound in dark green morocco with Cockerel marbled endleaves and a black cloth-covered slip case. The spines on my copy have suffered a little over the years, but the rest of the binding is in great shape on both volumes. It is not clear from the FS bibliographies how many of these were printed. Folio 50 states 2500, but oddly Folio 60 is silent on the matter,. Whether that is an omission or a correction I cannot say!

This is probably the least impressive of the series in my view, but that may just be coloured by the fact that it is not in as good a condition as my others.

Mar 11, 2013, 5:27pm Top

>3 wcarter: Thanks Dr Carter. Yes, all of the titles are included in that list, and you have done a fantastic job compiling it into one place. I hope that the contents of this topic will be of interest to some by providing a little more information on this particular sub-set - and of course I hope that some kind soul will come along and post some pictures of the rarities I have not been able to track down!

I wasn't proposing to make any amendments to the list you have compiled, but rather to add a link along the lines of the link you provided for the Folio Press Fine Editions.

Mar 11, 2013, 5:31pm Top

#4 War And Peace - Leo Tolstoy (1971)

This is one I don't have, and (like all of the ones I don't have) I have never even seen, even though it shouldn't be that rare, as apparently the limitation was quite large - 2000 copies. Folio 60 confirms that the binding is full dark blue leather with brown pastepaper endleaves, in a dark blue cloth-covered slip case.

If anyone has a copy of this set, please post pictures :-)

Mar 11, 2013, 5:41pm Top

#5 The Book Of A Thousand Nights And One Night (1973).

This is one of the rarer sets, limited to just 500 copies. It was printed in 1973 as a variant binding of the third impression of the 1958 FS edition. It is bound in full red morocco with a design in gold by Jeff Clements, with dark green endleaves and a dark green slip case.

Mar 11, 2013, 5:56pm Top

>5 Conte_Mosca:
OK Michael - Done!
See bottom of Limited Editions list on FSD wiki at:

Edited: Mar 11, 2013, 6:30pm Top

#6 Chronicles of King Arthur - Sir Thomas Malory (1982)

FS obviously took a 9 year sabbatical following The Tales Of A Thousand Nights And One Night before offering regular sets in special bindings again. I am glad they did return, as this is a real gem. Bound in full red morocco in a lovely illustrated cloth-covered slipcase, Volume 1 is also signed by the illustrator, the remarkable Edward Bawden. What is not clear from any of the bibliographies is how many copies this set was limited to.

Mar 11, 2013, 5:59pm Top

>8 wcarter: Thanks! That saves me a job (and saves me trying to remind myself how to create a link!)

Mar 11, 2013, 6:11pm Top

#7 A Tour Through The Whole Island Of Great Britain - Daniel Defoe (1983)

This set is in a lovely rich deep brown morocco, in a dark brown cloth-covered slip case. It is another one where it is not clear what the limitation number was.

Mar 11, 2013, 6:13pm Top

Two more to go (Decameron and The Forsyte Saga) which I will post tomorrow now, as it is getting late, and I need to re-shoot my Decameron pictures!

I hope these pictures will be of interest to some of you.

Mar 11, 2013, 6:15pm Top

>6 Conte_Mosca:

I don't own this set. I just happened to find the photo - a set sold on EBay in 2011.

Mar 11, 2013, 6:39pm Top

Wow! I've been wondering about these "special" limited editions ever since reading about them in the Folio 50 and Folio 60. I've never seen them anywhere on the second-hand market but love seeing the pictures.

Mar 11, 2013, 6:42pm Top

Beautiful pictures! Thanks for posting.

Mar 11, 2013, 6:48pm Top

Many thanks for posting all these images Michael. I'm sure I'm not the only one to be slightly green with envy right now! The Thousand and One Nights and Defoe sets are both really beautiful (I'd never seen pictures of the Defoe before), but cream of the crop for me has to be the Mallory. The ordinary edition of this set was my first venture into the wonderful world of Folio Society books and was bought from a Portsmouth secondhand dealer back when I was a student, so probably would have been '85-'86. As far as I can remember it cost £5. I just looked at it now and it is still pristine. To own the same set with that beautiful binding would really be something else.

Mar 11, 2013, 7:13pm Top

This is indeed a fascinating area to explore, Michael. Thank you for posting the pictures. I have none of these, nor have I ever seen any for sale on the secondhand market. I did once have the chance of buying the second issue Jane Austen set (blue leather) new from FS back in the '90s, but I actually thought the regular binding looked nicer. Since then I've been to Specsavers and regretted my decision. After seeing your photos of some of the others, I can feel a wave of enablement beginning to overwhelm me. Not so easy to satisfy, though, since they don't turn up very often. Well done for tracking down as many as you have.

Mar 11, 2013, 9:40pm Top

So many beautiful things I will never possess!

Edited: Mar 12, 2013, 5:21am Top

What a wonderful set of books! Thanks for the great pictures, Michael. These editions cover the 'middle ground' between the regular bindings and the very special limited ones that are truly luxury items. FS should pay more attention to this 'middle' segment because in my opinion there is a market for it. Of course, I would like to have the whole lot but unfortunately, or perhaps luckily, I only own the two volume set bound in white leather of The Decameron.

Edited: Mar 12, 2013, 9:32am Top

>13 nicklong: Thanks Nick. I can at least say I have seen it now!

>14 jveezer:-19 Thanks for all your comments.

So just to finish where I left off last night...

#8 The Forsyte Sage - John Galsworthy (1984)

This is another nice set in lovely condition. It is yet another where the bibliographies do not indicate the limitation number.

Edited: Mar 12, 2013, 9:38am Top

#2 The Decameron - Boccaccio (1969)

I have now retaken some photos of this one so can fill the gap from earlier. Have I saved the best until last? That's a tough question, given the quality of some of the others, but it is certainly stunning, with its binding of full cream leather, and in almost "as new" condition.

I am not sure how many copies this set was limited to. The FSD Wiki page indicates 1,750, but if I remember rightly Folio 50 and Folio 60 are silent on the matter (I can't be certain as I don.t have them to hand at the moment).

> 19 Antonio, if this is the only set you have of these, at least it is a truly stunning set! It is my most recent aquisition of this collection, and one I had been on the lookout for for quite a long time (since seeing a topic about it here I think!).

Mar 12, 2013, 5:40am Top

...and that's it from me I think.

Thanks to nicklong we also have a picture of War and Peace, so if anyone has a copy of any of the following, please share your pictures so that we have a complete record and so that I can drool at what I am missing!

• Jane Austen’s Works (two different sets, 1984 and 1996)
• Complete Novels – Ann Radcliffe (1987)
• Complete Plays – Shakespeare (1988)
• The French Revolution – Thomas Carlyle (1989)

Mar 12, 2013, 6:09am Top

I have a set of Austens (7 volumes) published 1996. It's the 15th printing of the 1975 reset of the 1962 FS first edition.Is that the one you mean?

Edited: Mar 12, 2013, 6:45am Top

>23 David_E: Hi David. A limited number (1000) of the 1996 printing was offered in an alternate binding of full blue-green morocco leather, rather than the standard binding for that print run. Is it the limited leather bound set you have? If so, please share your pictures, as I have never seen a copy!

Mar 12, 2013, 7:14am Top

>20 Conte_Mosca: I have the Forsyte Saga, bought 2nd hand in the UK, Norwich or Cambridge, can't remember which. It is beautiful, but when I came to read it I found it was missing several pages right at the end of Vol 3. I then got a cheap paperback copy and slipped the relevant pages in my set. Bit of a pity though!

Mar 12, 2013, 8:30am Top

To Conte_Mosca.Sadly not-just a standard quarter-bound red leather edition.Sorry to disappoint!

Mar 12, 2013, 11:32am Top

>26 David_E: Still a very handsome set indeed David. Just not the elusive beast I am hunting!

Mar 12, 2013, 5:29pm Top


Just a glimpse of the Shakespeare and Carlyle, from the 1992 Special Publications booklet.

Mar 12, 2013, 9:39pm Top

>19 drasvola:

I agree, I also think there would for sure be a market for these editions, placing themselves in the mid-range between the current limited editions and the more regular FS books.

Many of the current limited editions are out of my price-range, or in a price-range I MIGHT be able to justify in some form, though I always end up thinking about how many regular FS books I can purchase instead.

If they where to publish editions like this again it would be much less hassle to think about it, well depending on the price of course.

Also for the ones owning some of these editions, how does the leather binding compare to Easton, Franklin and Gryphon for example?

Mar 12, 2013, 9:50pm Top

>29 WinterGloaming:

This is always my consideration too! I might be able to swing the price, but do I really want the $900 Grays Poems more than 30 odd "normal" FS volumes?

Mar 12, 2013, 10:06pm Top

A great set of photos and posts, thanks to all I continue to learn so much about FS as well as fine books.

Mar 13, 2013, 3:43am Top

Thanks for the pictures of the 1969 "Decameron".

When I joined the Society in the early 1970s that edition was still on offer at (if I remember correctly) £20. But I had nothing in the bank in those days, and twenty pounds was a week's wages, so I never acquired it. I now have the 2007 edition in Nigerian goatskin, but the older cream leather binding still looks more attractive somehow.

Edited: Mar 13, 2013, 4:09am Top

>28 housefulofpaper: Thanks housefulofpaper, in the absence of any sightings of the real thing, that is great. It is the first time I have seen what those two items actually look like. I love The French Revolution, in it's leather-covered wooden slip case (more of a mini-bookcase!). I am not as enthused by the Shakespeare set, but I think that is just because I prefer single-play volumes rather than compilations.

>29 WinterGloaming: There have been many previous posts on LT discussing leather quality by people far more knowedgeable than me, but I think it is fair to say that the FS bindings are much higher quality than the standard EP leather bindings or the Gryphon Edition bindings. That is not to cast aspersions on EP or Gryphon, it is just that these would have sold at very different price points, with EP and Gryphon aimed at the value end of the market, delivering good quality attractive leather bound books at an affordable price. Standard EP volumes typically sell for US$50-75? And Gryphon Editions are US$39.95. Compare that to the two FS Special Binding prices I know (thanks to housefulofpaper), $2,000 for the Shakespeare set and $900 for The French Revolution - and that was over 20 years ago. Now, those will be at the very high end of the price range for this series of FS books, but the others will have sold in the hundreds of dollars price range, not tens of dollars, I would imagine.

Standard EP editions use - I believe (and anyone feel free to correct me!) - a composite pigskin leather, which is lower grade, but consequently more affordable, than the premium "morocco" leather used in all of the FS Special Bindings series mentioned in this thread. Composite leather is made from pieces of leather off-cuts and trimmings, with any grain or smoothness added in the manufacturing process. Morocco leather is a top quality natural grain leather made from goatskin, typically from Nigeria (not from Morocco!).

I don't know what type of leather is used for the Easton Press Deluxe Limited Editions. Their website describes it as "premium leather", so is likely to be of a higher quality than their standard bindings.

I haven't seen the Gryphon Editions, but have read about them on the EP Forum, and the view there is that the quality is represented in the very low price point.

Or perhaps I should just answer based on the "feel" test. The FS morocco leather bindings look and feel far more luxurious (with lovely soft leather) compared to bindings of the very small handful of standard EP editions I own.

Edited: Mar 13, 2013, 2:01pm Top

>32 TabbyTom:

Now if only they would offer such lovely sets at £20 today! I was curious so I entered that into a "value of money" calculator (from www.thisismoney.co.uk). Apparently that would be £273.40 today.

Whilst at it, I input the original prices of the only other two sets for which I have price information, and in today's terms they would be £2210 (US$4420) for the Shakespeare set, and US$1,989 (I don't know the original UK price) for The French Revolution!! I suspect that the sets I have would be a bridge between standard editions and the current LE range, but these two probably compare more with today's high end LEs - in terms of cost at least, as I have no way of comparing quality.

I too have the 2007 LE of The Decameron, and I would agree with you. I also have the original 1954 FS edition of The Decameron - you can never have too many copies of this book, that's what I say! Well actually I usually need a good excuse to have multiple copies of the same book, such as different illustrations or a different translator, none of which apply here as they are effectively all the same edition in different clothes. But I started with the 1954 edition, and then upgraded to the 2007 LE. And when the cream leather edition came up I just couldn't resist. Different clothes only maybe, but what clothes!

Mar 13, 2013, 5:15pm Top

Belated thanks for this interesting and decorative thread, Michael. I have been avoiding LEs unless the text block as well as the binding was special, but your books are giving me pause for thought.

Incidentally, Ardis has an example of your type 3 special bindings, the Ars Amatoria - I don't recall seeing one of these for sale before. Despite an appreciation for Ann Muir marbled paper, this doesn't tempt me to stray as much as your pictures do.

Mar 13, 2013, 7:40pm Top

Interesting post and some very beautiful older Folio editions you have. We have some of those books in common and unfortunately the ones you are missing I have never seen as well ;-)

I agree with the poster above that those rare Ann Muir (your type 3 binding) are not as nice as the books your qualify as type 2 bindings. If it is of any interest I could post pictures of the two Ann Muir special bindings I have; The Wind in the Willows and Of Gods and Men.

Mar 13, 2013, 11:50pm Top

Yes please!

Edited: Jan 13, 2018, 1:42am Top

I have the ones that you are missing and will try and post some photos over the next few days.

Here are some photos from the 1996 leather printing of the Jane Austen set

I also have four of the five books from 1960 issued in a limited edition, if you would like me to post photos.

There are also a few limited editions missed out from the earlier list:

The Earliest Chemical Industry. 1948
1100 copies in total, of which 100 were in full leather

The Laws of Oleron. 1960
201 copies

The Bird Paintings of Henry Jones. 1976
500 copies

Remembrance of Things Past. 1981
1000 copies

Perfect and Imperfect Enjoyments. 1992
500 copies in total, of which 50 were in full vellum

There are others that may be described as limited such as Salambo where Folio 60 states that about 50 copies were issued in quarter brown morocco and there were several reference books with Folio Society bindings or slipcases, but not sure where to draw the line...



Mar 17, 2013, 1:55am Top

>28 housefulofpaper: Wow, that's great, thanks! I can't wait to see the rest. It sounds like you have an amazing collection!

I would love too to see the 1960 limited editions, as I have never seen any of them before.

As for the others, these are mostly the "odds and ends" I referred to in #1, as they don't appear to be part of a 'series', but rather one-offs. The exception may be Remembrance of Things Past, of which I was completely unaware, and looks to perhaps be part of my 2nd category. I would love to see any or all of these too!

Edited: Jan 13, 2018, 1:44am Top

And here is the 1984 Austen...



Mar 18, 2013, 10:50pm Top

> 50
Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing. Makes my standard editions seem kind of low class in comparison!

Edited: Jan 13, 2018, 1:49am Top

And here are pictures from The French Revolution

Mar 19, 2013, 4:15pm Top

>42 mboyne: Gosh, that really is a thing of beauty!

Mar 19, 2013, 6:42pm Top

Enough already! I already broke down and bought A Tour Through The Whole Island Of Great Britain.

Mar 19, 2013, 8:36pm Top

> 44
How on earth did you find it?

Mar 19, 2013, 11:41pm Top

> 42

mboyne - that is a very lovely set indeed. I have the Easton Press set of Carlyle's French Revolution, but its bindings are nowhere near as luxurious as the FS set. Is it fully illustrated?

Edited: Jan 13, 2018, 1:48am Top

There are about 20 illustrations in each of the volumes in The French Revolution.

Here are a few pictures of the leatherbound Shakespeare.


When this was issued, you were able to get your initials on the front cover



Mar 20, 2013, 12:12pm Top

Thanks for photos of the Shakespeare set.The books look gorgeous! I remember these being advertised originally - late 1980s - £1000!! I've only ever seen these advertised for sale once im many years of looking! A shop somewhere in Norway I think - again with no slipcase. One can dream - until then I'll console myself with these photos!

Mar 29, 2013, 5:26am Top

This was an expensive page to peruse!! Haven't found the Shakespeare set (I suspect I never will - they're like hens' teeth!) but the red morocco bound set of Austen was calling out to me insistently - and I found one! I now await its arrival from somewhere in Australia! What have I done? Can I afford it? I'm sure most of you have experienced this!!! Seriously though - thanks mboyne - it was your photos that did it! I'd missed out on the existence of this particular set somehow! My daughter now gets the standard set so she's happy too!

Mar 29, 2013, 1:06pm Top

>50 malc79: In my experience, the books that I end up enjoying most are the ones that are so wonderful that they tempt me to buy them despite being out of my (responsible) price range.

Oct 19, 2014, 6:20am Top

These books are absolutely beautiful. I wish the Folio Society had continued the tradition of offering some of their multi-volume sets in special full leather bindings.

Edited: Aug 17, 2015, 4:07pm Top

was good to read about the Decameron set in cream This set were my best ever secondhand find at £3

Edited: Aug 17, 2015, 4:12pm Top

> 53 Good lord! - couldn't have you beaten the price down?

Aug 17, 2015, 5:10pm Top

I tried HTC but she drove hard bargain!

Aug 17, 2015, 5:26pm Top

>55 frostymaxim: BN17? That's 'relatively' local, hm...

Aug 18, 2015, 4:52am Top


Aug 18, 2015, 3:34pm Top

>57 frostymaxim: And was it a relatively local bookseller who drove such a hard bargain?

Aug 21, 2015, 3:55pm Top

Oxfam, sadly now closed down

Aug 21, 2015, 5:09pm Top

>59 frostymaxim: Kim's in Arundel usually has quite a few Folios.

Edited: Aug 21, 2015, 5:27pm Top

Yes and the new shop in Littlehampton Arcade, Fireside Books has many too

Aug 21, 2015, 5:50pm Top

>61 frostymaxim: Cool, thanks. I've been meaning to go to Littlehampton to try out the beach cafe, so this will be a much better excuse! Incidentally, have you ever been to Colin Page? If so, have you ever been in the 'garage'?

Aug 21, 2015, 6:01pm Top

>62 HuxleyTheCat:

I was in Colin Page in Brighton just last week. It's a wonderful shop, but I made the mistake of asking them if their stock was on Abe. I was left staring up at the assistant's chin as his eyes surveyed the ceiling in disgust. You don't ask such questions in Colin Page! I did, however, emerge with a lovely large-paper limited edition of Hatton & Cleaver's 1930s survey of Charles Dickens's periodical works, with facsimiles of the part number covers on paper of the original colours; and also an 1876 leather-bound set of the original edition of Fanny Burney's letters and journals, edited by her niece.

Aug 21, 2015, 6:21pm Top

>63 boldface: I bet you didn't find 'those' in the garage! Some of their stuff is, or at least, was, on abe, but it was very hit-and-miss as to whether the lovely which had caught your eye was still part of stock or had been sold five years ago.

Aug 21, 2015, 6:28pm Top

>64 HuxleyTheCat:

When he resumed breathing normally, the assistant did concede they had a few academic books on Abe. I don't think I got as far as the garage.

Aug 21, 2015, 9:19pm Top

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Aug 22, 2015, 4:15am Top

>66 EclecticIndulgence: Oh, tough luck about the garage. I've found the most incredible bargains in there on Folio LEs and the Fine Press series, in amongst the towering stacks of pre-90's stuff mind, so it pays to have patience, a keen eye, a resistance to claustrophobia and the physique of a limbo dancer to get into the nooks and crannies. A fair amount of luck too, as CP sells to the trade, so, if other booksellers who sell Folios have recently paid a visit, then the pickings may be slim.

Jan 13, 2018, 1:57am Top

This one is interesting. It is the special edition of Radcliffe's novels published in 1987.

Folio 60 (item 591) notes ‘There was also a special issue of the edition, with each volume bound in quarter black calf, marbled paper boards (bevelled), in a marbled paper-covered six-volume slip case.’ However, my copies are full-bound in leather rather than quarter-bound. I have contacted The Folio Society about this and they suspect that they made up two trial sets, one in full-bound and the other in quarter-bound style, and decided to offer the cheaper version. If this is the case, my set would be unique.

Jan 13, 2018, 2:09am Top

>68 mboyne:
How did you obtain this unique set?

Jan 13, 2018, 2:13am Top

Here are four of the five books published in 1960 which had a small number offered in a leather-bound edition. Whilst the colophon states that 250 were offered in this state, in fact demand must have been disappointing as the actual number actually bound was much lower

The Golden Ass, 1960

Vie de Boheme, 1960

Journal of the Plague Year, 1960

Memoirs of Louis Philippe, Comte de Segur, 1960

Unfortunately I have never seen one of the leather bound editions of the fifth book, Hermsprong, but I live in hope

Jan 13, 2018, 2:23am Top

And finally for today, the special binding of Perfect and Imperfect Enjoyments, published in 1992. 500 copies were published in total, of which 50 were bound in full vellum and came with a portfolio including some additional prints.

Jan 13, 2018, 2:55am Top

Good question - and one that Joe Whitlock Blundell from The Folio Society has also just asked me. I actually picked these up on eBay several years ago, but I cannot remember who I bought them from.

Edited: Jan 13, 2018, 2:57am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Jan 13, 2018, 3:38am Top

>68 mboyne: and later

Just when I thought I do not have anything special on my wishlist...

Jan 13, 2018, 4:11am Top

>70 mboyne: Thanks so much for these photos of such rarities!

I have the limited Hermsprong - I am away from home at the moment so will post photos later - but in the meantime I did video it recently. It’s not as exciting as some of those other bindings though (the Graves book looks lovely!). The video link is here if you’re interested in the meantime: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6EchJqegcQ&feature=share (the first minute is history you already know, but you can see the book after that!)

I found mine randomly in a second hand bookshop in Canberra about 15 years ago. The books in the shop were all very overpriced, but since the signature is in the back for this volume they had obviously missed that this was a limited edition and it was priced along with the standard editions (about $30 AUD I think). I had several folios by then, but had no idea how rare these volumes were when I bought it.

Jan 13, 2018, 4:17am Top

>70 mboyne:
I was lucky enough to get the 1960 leather The Golden Ass and the Hermsprong as well as the cream leather Decameron last year from first and fine in U.K. They are all wonderful.
The leather set of the Radcliffe books is amazing and unique

Jan 13, 2018, 4:43am Top

>68 mboyne:

WOW! It's one thing to have a rare (and of course, beautiful) Folio set and quite another to have a virtually unknown one!

Jan 13, 2018, 5:18am Top

>68 mboyne:

This is just brilliant!

May I ask, since you're on an uploading streak, if you could post again your photos of Carlyle's French Revolution, which were lost in the PhotoBucket debacle. Thank you.

Edited: Jan 13, 2018, 7:22am Top

I have the full leather edition of Daniel Defoe’s A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain which has extensive loss of the gilt/gold blocked on the spines and front and back boards.

This set seems to be quite common, I’ve seen several and every one has had similar loss of gilt. Does anyone own this set, or has anyone seen this set, that doesn’t have this fault?

Edited: Jan 13, 2018, 7:08pm Top

>68 mboyne:: Absolutely unique and quite beautiful.

>48 mboyne:: Sensational. The first set I have seen in any context. In well over a decade I cannot recall ever seeing the leather-bound Shakespeare set on the secondary market, from either booksellers or at auction.

>42 mboyne:: Amongst the leather-bound sets listed at the top of the page this is one of the finest, ranking with The Decameron, The Book of a Thousand Nights and One Night and Chronicles of King Arthur (imho).

Jan 13, 2018, 11:34am Top

Many thanks, Mark, for re-uploading these photos. Once again I find myself salivating.

>80 dlphcoracl: Amongst the leather-bound sets listed at the top of the page this is one of the finest, ranking with The
Decameron, The Book of a Thousand Nights and One Night and Chronicles of King Arthur (imho).

Happy to add my own humble opinion to this sentiment. I have the Decameron and the Malory but sadly not the 1001 Nights or, even more sadly, the magnificent Carlyle. Yet ;)

Jan 13, 2018, 1:17pm Top

>81 folio_books:

I own the three leather-bound sets listed above (but NOT The French Revolution) and I have always thought they were the most attractive of the remaining eleven (11) boxed sets in full morocco leather bindings issued between 1968 to 1989. The six-volume set of The Folio Shakespeare , however, stands alone. It is magnificent. Interestingly, the FS full leather set of 'The Folio Shakespeare' is similar to and compares favorably with the famous 7-volume set from the Nonesuch Press (1929-1933).

Jan 13, 2018, 3:22pm Top

I wouldn't disagree with a word. Like you, this is the first time I've seen a copy of the Shakespeare and I've never previously seen one for sale anywhere. It's been around for long enough to believe at least a few copies should have found their way to the secondary market. As these were bound to order and were extremely expensive at the time, perhaps not all of the 1000 copies saw the light of day.

Jan 13, 2018, 5:43pm Top

>79 bookfair_e: I have this set as well. I do not think it was ever gilded.

Jan 13, 2018, 10:26pm Top

Has anyone ever come across the special edition of Salambo (1950)? FS60 notes that 'A small number of copies, probably fewer than 50, were specially bound by Sangorski and Sutcliffe in quarter brown morocco with marbled paper boards. These copies are signed by the illustrator and contain plates printed directly from the copperplates rather than by collotype'.

I have never seen these anywhere, and would be keen to see a photo if anyone has a copy.

Jan 14, 2018, 8:36am Top

>38 mboyne:

Congratulations on a distinctive and well chosen collection of the FS "specials".

Edited: Jan 14, 2018, 5:50pm Top

I love these. I have the Austen set in >38 mboyne: and the Boswell in >2 Conte_Mosca:, and almost nabbed the Thousand and One Nights in >7 Conte_Mosca: for a song until the online seller realised their error and cancelled the sale.

Decided against the Carlyle in >42 mboyne: when two appeared on eBay last year — having second thoughts now...

Incidentally, the Defoe in >11 Conte_Mosca: is currently on eBay for a not-exorbitant £75.

Edited: Jan 15, 2018, 4:52am Top

>87 Rodomontade: Incidentally, the Defoe in >11 Conte_Mosca: Conte_Mosca: is currently on eBay for a not-exorbitant £75.

Well spotted. I very nearly nabbed that but the faults to volume 2 stayed my hand. He thinks it's bound in "faux leather", hence the low price.

Edited for afterthought.

Jan 15, 2018, 7:10am Top

There's a copy of the leather bound Golden Ass on abe books at the moment. Not cheap though! (£245) I thought I'd gone over the top paying £150 for it a couple of years ago (never go book searching after an alcoholic lunch!!) I wonder how many of these special copies are owned by devotees?

Jan 15, 2018, 9:04am Top

>89 malc79:

It's been there quite a while. I'm trying not to think about it.

Jan 15, 2018, 9:55am Top

>90 affle: I'm trying not to think about it.

At £245 does it take much willpower to resist? I tend to agree with >89 malc79: - £150 is over the top. Not a price I'd consider paying, anyway. I'll rely on my limitless capacity for patience.

Edited: Jan 16, 2018, 3:19am Top

>87 Rodomontade: I nabbed one of those two Carlyle copies, and very glad I did.

Mar 19, 2018, 10:57pm Top

>70 mboyne: >75 skullduggery:

I just realised I promised to upload a picture of the 5th volume of the 1960 leather-bound editions (Hermsprong) but forgot - apologies. Better late than never...

Mar 20, 2018, 9:38am Top

>11 Conte_Mosca: The Defoe set is quite special and quite distinctive.

May 29, 2018, 7:04pm Top

Rare but belated sighting of the blue Jane Austen:


May 29, 2018, 10:15pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Edited: May 30, 2018, 5:57pm Top

>96 EclecticIndulgence: I think I saw it whizz past on ABE at £245.

Jan 13, 5:15pm Top

For the reference : THE BOOK OF THE THOUSAND NIGHTS AND ONE NIGHT - 1973 - Special Binding as seen in >7 Conte_Mosca:

Sighted January 2019 for £450 at Oxfam

Description :

"Rendered into English from the literal and complete French translation of Dr J C Mardrus by Powys Mathers. Illustrations by Eric Fraser. This is the 1973 third impression of the 1958 first edition, published in four volumes. The set was published as a standard set, and also in an unnumbered limited edition set of 500. This is the limited edition set, bound in full Chieftain goatskin, blocked in gold with a special design, gilt tops and set caps. The set is missing its cloth-covered slipcase. The leather boards have very minor blemishes and shelfwear (Vol. 1 has a small white mark in the upper right hand corner of the front cover). There is some minor creasing to the upper part of the spine of Vol. 2. All volumes have gilt upper page edges (Vols. 1 and 3 have very slight indentation marks to the upper edges). There is some very light foxing to the fore edges of each volume, and the lower page edges of Vols. 1, 2 and 4 are a little dusty. Internally, the books are clean and tight, and appear never to have been read. This is a scarce set of a collectible work."

Illustrations + colophon :

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