Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Originals are best ... but at £780?

I love books, especially heraldry books and doubly so if they relate to areas of particular interest such as Cheshire. Like many heraldry enthusiast, I have a limited budget and so many books, long out of print, are way beyond my purse. Take the very hard to obtain book published by Daniel King in 1656, The Vale Royal of England, or The County Palatine of Chester Illustrated; it doesn't contain too much heraldry, just a few pages of an armorial of the Cheshire gentry, but it was that which formed the foundation of the Cheshire Heraldry web site some years ago. I have searched long and hard for a copy of this book and the few that have come onto the market have been prohibitively expensive. On the 20th April 2005, Christies sold a copy at their South Kensington auction rooms when it fell under the hammer at a massive £780 ($1'495) including buyer's premium.

Described thus in their catalogue: "KING, Daniel (d.1664). The Vale-Royall of England or, the County Palatine of Chester Illustrated, London: John Streater, 1656. Small 2° (271 x 175mm). Additional engraved title, double page engraved map of Cheshire, double-page engraved bird's-eye view of Chester, 11 plates of coats-of-arms, double-page map of the Isle of Man, plates, one folding, illustrations (both titles torn and neatly repaired, final 2 leaves torn and neatly repaired, a few repaired tears, occasional light spotting and staining). 19th-century panelled tan morocco gilt by Riviere, gilt edges (spine and extremities rubbed). Provenance: Philip Shirley (modern armorial bookplate). Wing K488; Upcott I, 61-63. "

Beyond my purse .... so I have come up with my own solution.

The other day, to my great joy, I discovered that the book has been digitally scanned and uploaded onto the internet's digital archives ; what a superb resource this provides to us "academic heralds" (a term I have borrowed from David Appleton).  Now, pleased as I am to have found this book online, it doesn't exactly satisfy that comfortable feeling of having something tangible to hold and read and my eyesight doesn't improve with age so trying to read a complete book online is anything but the pleasure it ought to be; you just can't beat a good book.  I've made a decision!  I have found a company who will, for a fee, make me a facsimile. The company estimates that for this book to be printed, the cost will be around  £50 + £10 guillotining, + £40 to bind in cloth + £1 per word for gold leaf titling on the cover.  I have asked for it to be printed off on a 135gsm cream cartridge paper but I could have had it printed on some handmade old looking paper at an increased cost. The book is for my own personal use and because of its age, there are no copyright issues.

I'll report back with some images when the project is complete. I look forward to some bedtime reading.

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