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A rare book signed by two giants in the field

DCWDCW Posts: 6,887 ✭✭✭✭✭

This one has me very excited, and it's not even a token!
Proud to be the owner of this extremely rare book! Printed in 1924, this is where Civil War Token collecting took shape. Hetrich & Guttag's "Civil War Tokens and Tradesman's Store Cards," the first reference book on the subject. It was reprinted in the 1960s, though you can still find first editions with the blue cloth binding here and there.

But...

This is the deluxe leather bound edition that was limited to 15 copies! It is signed by both authors, George Hetrich and Julius Guttag. It is numbered "No. 3 of the De Luxe Edition" on paper title card above. Large octavo (9.5" x 7"); 289p. 16 linen-backed color example plates.

I've never even seen one of these. As you can see, the book is in poor shape, but it's "all there." Thinking about getting it restored. It is a pretty important piece, and though the leather is deteriorating the pages are in very good shape. I consider it an incredible piece of history.

If anyone has any suggestions for restoration please let me know. And thanks for looking

Dead Cat Waltz Exonumia
"Coin collecting for outcasts..."

Comments

  • JBKJBK Posts: 14,522 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You could either try to have it restored, or another idea is just to have it rebound in leather.

  • RobertScotLoverRobertScotLover Posts: 511 ✭✭✭✭

    Restoring will be a bear, that bing said great old classic book with autographs cannot be beat

  • DCWDCW Posts: 6,887 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @RobertScotLover said:
    Restoring will be a bear, that bing said great old classic book with autographs cannot be beat

    That is the conundrum. It is important, and I dont want to drastically alter it. Yet, it cannot be fully enjoyed in this state. The leather is dusting away.

    Dead Cat Waltz Exonumia
    "Coin collecting for outcasts..."

  • jesbrokenjesbroken Posts: 9,027 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Not sure what a restoration would cost, as well as rebinding, but if at all feasible, that would be my route. May never see one again. Especially an available to purchase book like these 100 year old treasures. Congratulations. Would love to see the photos if possible.
    Jim


    When a man who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, he will either quit being mistaken or cease to be honest....Abraham Lincoln

    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.....Mark Twain
  • Manifest_DestinyManifest_Destiny Posts: 3,010 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Very cool!

  • JBKJBK Posts: 14,522 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Historically, books were rebound as necessary, and if well done (in leather, for example) it was no crime against collectability to do so.

    You'll have to decide if the original binding is too far gone to restore. The upside is that with only 15 of this edition made, it is virtually unique so there would likely not be a "better" or more "original" copy to compete with it.

  • JBKJBK Posts: 14,522 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @airplanenut said:
    If you need advice about getting it restored, take it on Pawn Stars. They can call over a buddy who will know all about it, then offer you 5 bucks, which is the best they can do and they probably shouldn't even go that high.

    The Old Man was the best for pissing and moaning as he justified low-balling sellers.

  • scubafuelscubafuel Posts: 1,716 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 9, 2024 2:24PM

    Ask @Boosibri
    I think he has had a few done that looked great afterwards.

  • braddickbraddick Posts: 22,845 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @JBK said:

    @airplanenut said:
    If you need advice about getting it restored, take it on Pawn Stars. They can call over a buddy who will know all about it, then offer you 5 bucks, which is the best they can do and they probably shouldn't even go that high.

    The Old Man was the best for pissing and moaning as he justified low-balling sellers.

    Sadly, he passed away. June of 2018.
    Little known fact: He was only 77.

    peacockcoins

  • 291fifth291fifth Posts: 23,852 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That cover is really in sad shape. I hope the copy number and signatures are not on the backside of the cover. I am not a book collector but personally would prefer it be rebound to look as much like the original cover as possible.

    All glory is fleeting.
  • cheezhedcheezhed Posts: 5,662 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wouldn’t restoring equate to altered surfaces in coinspeak? Just curious how restoration would affect value?

    Many happy BST transactions
  • LazybonesLazybones Posts: 1,382 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 9, 2024 3:12PM

    While condition is everything with regard to collectibles, some things are best left alone. This is one of those things. That book is exquisite as it is.

    Just my 2¢

    USAF (Ret) 1974 - 1994 - The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries. Remembering RickO, a brother in arms.

  • MrEurekaMrEureka Posts: 23,833 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think I'd have it restored. The spine probably has to be completely replaced, and the covers look like they can be mostly saved. But don't take my word for it. Talk to Dave Fanning or Charlie Davis or someone else who actually knows what can and should be done.

    Andy Lustig

    Doggedly collecting coins of the Central American Republic.

    Visit the Society of US Pattern Collectors at USPatterns.com.
  • mr1931Smr1931S Posts: 5,931 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Rick Harrison of Pawn Stars would likely pass on buying this book. Cost of restoring would be in excess of what he could get for it after restoring. The book is rare but rare book doesn't necessarily bring the big bucks unless the right buyer comes along.

    This is the deluxe edition so OP should get it restored in my opinion.

    Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.-Albert Einstein

  • leothelyonleothelyon Posts: 8,334 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I would leave it alone. From the looks of it, it's been handled enough and most likely improperly stored. Here's an 1824 book that has almost the same state of deterioration but it is handleable without too much fear it would disintegrate in my hands before my eyes. I have several books from the early 20th century and none of them are in that bad of shape. If there are only 15 copies, like an old rare coin, I wouldn't mess with it. Keep it as original as it is and somehow store it in the right environment so it stays the way it is.🙂

    Leo

    The more qualities observed in a coin, the more desirable that coin becomes!

    My Jefferson Nickel Collection

  • erwindocerwindoc Posts: 4,894 ✭✭✭✭✭

    What is the copy worth restored vs rebound in leather? I think it is pretty neat either way!

  • BryceMBryceM Posts: 11,689 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That’s pretty cool. I may or may not have it restored…….. depends on if you intend on actually opening it and using it occasionally. If you do, find someone who can replicate the original cover as closely as possible.

  • seatedlib3991seatedlib3991 Posts: 405 ✭✭✭✭

    Check with your local library about book restoration. If nothing else they might know who does it or what it costs. james

  • EbeneezerEbeneezer Posts: 258 ✭✭✭

    I take great pride in books, looking for first editions and in hard cover, of which I have many. I must say I'm envious of you at this point. Yes, I would have it rebound by a quality binder that could replicate the original color and embossed text. While I would think it already common knowledge, never store a book on edge. Always flat. This can not be overstated.

  • tincuptincup Posts: 4,721 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I handle some old books occasionally. For me, originality is extremely important. Just like with coins.

    It comes down to, what is your expected use for this book? Are you keeping it for an investment? If so, I myself would likely keep as is, and try to preserve it under conditions best suited for it.

    If you intend to actually use it, then some sort of rebinding or restoration may be appropriate. However, you mentioned there are reprints of this books. Possibly consider getting a reprint for actual use (assuming they are available), and keep / preserve the original. JMO on how I would look at it.

    Nice pickup!

    ----- kj
  • pursuitoflibertypursuitofliberty Posts: 6,505 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I saw this last night and agreed and liked several responses, but I just have to say how cool I think this is. What a great find and it certainly has found it's way into the right hands! Sometimes it seems some pieces in our hobby seems to know where they are supposed to go.


    “We are only their care-takers,” he posed, “if we take good care of them, then centuries from now they may still be here … ”

    Todd - BHNC #242
  • Mr_SpudMr_Spud Posts: 4,200 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 10, 2024 8:45AM

    @DCW If anyone has any suggestions for restoration please let me know. And thanks for looking

    Klucel-g dissolved in isopropyl alcohol is what book restorers use to “consolidate leather” that is crumbling like that. I bought some from Amazon to repair some of my vintage coin albums, I made one small jar full of it in isopropyl alcohol and apply it with a q-tip, it lasts forever and a little goes a long way. It dries invisible and binds everything and shrinks it back to being more solid.

    Here’s a quick read link that discusses using it to restore old leather books, if you google “klucel leather book” you’ll get tons more info. https://essayoutlinewritingideas.com/how-to-restore-old-leather-books.html

    And after reading up on several sites and books, I also ended up getting this particular leather polish that was recommended by some of the experts to replasticize brittle leather and other book covers to make them more pliable and way less prone to cracking and deterioration. It also gets rid of mildew and prevents it from coming back. I. Use it on my old Wayte Raymond binders and it makes them look brand new.

    And finally, after reading up on restoring vintage books, I ended up getting a few different colors of this particular boot polish to touch up my old album covers. You can’t just polish the whole cover, but works good for small spots and damaged corners to recolor them by dabbing on with a q-tip if you match the color properly. It comes in every color imaginable. I have a few different browns for Wayte Raymond and Meghrig album binders and a blue for old Whitman albums.

    And PVA glue is what is used to reattach loose binding if it’s just starting to separate. It works great and remains flexible forever. It’s the same formula as regular Elmers glue, but seems more professional so I use it instead of Elmers. Don’t use it on a surface that remains exposed or it will always be a bit sticky (use the Klucel-g instead, it dries invisible and not sticky). I find it particularly useful to reattach the dark border book cloth that goes around the edges of old Wayte Raymond boards and also to reattach and tighten the same boards surfaces to the underlying cardboard so the slides go in tight, but its main use in restoring old books is to reattach the pages to the spine on the cover.

    Mr_Spud

  • jesbrokenjesbroken Posts: 9,027 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @airplanenut said:
    If you need advice about getting it restored, take it on Pawn Stars. They can call over a buddy who will know all about it, then offer you 5 bucks, which is the best they can do and they probably shouldn't even go that high.

    Yeah, but at least they wouldn't have to frame it.
    Jim


    When a man who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, he will either quit being mistaken or cease to be honest....Abraham Lincoln

    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.....Mark Twain
  • tincuptincup Posts: 4,721 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Mr_Spud, thanks for posting those items for restoration. Looks like some I might have a use for!

    ----- kj
  • DCWDCW Posts: 6,887 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thank you for all the helpful comments and suggestions. Alot of good insight and options. I am still undecided, but there's no rush. It's not going to get any worse
    A few points to add:
    1. The covers are toast, but the rest of the book including the binding is very good. Virtually all the pages are mark free.
    2. The signatures are not on the back of the cover, but on the fly leaf a few pages in. It has some vertical creasing on that page, but it doesnt run through either signature and isnt distracting at all.
    3. I already own a copy of this book in the standard blue cloth, also from 1924, which I can continue to use. It would just be nice to open and enjoy this book with the amazing plates on thick linen without having the leather falling apart in your hands.
    4. It's a rare book, but it is also in a limited niche of the hobby. We are not talking huge amounts of money for first editions like "The Catcher in the Rye." But it's equally important to collectors like myself, and I don't want to mess this up for future generations.
    5. I dont think this is unique; there has to be others put aside maybe in the CWT Society, ANS, or ANA. I've just never personally seen one, though most Civil War Token collectors are familiar with this book as a kind of "holy grail."
    6. The book was sold for $25 in 1924, roughly $450 in today's money!

    All things considered, this thing would probably look great in a glass display case. It has character. But books are meant to be opened and admired. I did not buy it as an investment, but as a piece of history that deserves respect. I am not opposed to restoring it, but it would have to be done artfully by a professional such as the woman @yosclimber posted. I wonder if she is still restoring books?

    Dead Cat Waltz Exonumia
    "Coin collecting for outcasts..."

  • BustDMsBustDMs Posts: 1,557 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @DCW

    Sometimes you just have to help an old book along to last for generations to come.

    I have had numerous books restored so that they can be enjoyed and will last for the next couple hundred years without turning to dust.

    One option may be to inlay part of the original cover onto a new backing. I have had this done a few times.

    I have used Ohio Bookstore in Cincinnati to do my work. They are one of the few around who still do book work the old fashioned way. In fact, I'm going there today to pickup a work I just had leather bound.

    One bit of advise- the cost of restoration will certainly exceed the value of the book. You will just have to be happy that you are preserving it for future generations.

    Very cool item!

    Q: When does a collector become a numismatist?



    A: The year they spend more on their library than their coin collection.



    A numismatist is judged more on the content of their library than the content of their cabinet.
  • BoosibriBoosibri Posts: 11,821 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Campbell-Logan bindery in Minneapolis is the best in the country. Send it there

  • BoosibriBoosibri Posts: 11,821 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Here are two examples of their work. The blue book is actually a clamshell box for a fragile book.


  • JBKJBK Posts: 14,522 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have an autographed copy of the late Joseph Heller's "Catch-22" that I had him sign many years ago. It was a meticulous "fascimile" of the first edition. A few years after he passed away I noticed that there is a huge defect in the binding. I do not plan to have it "restored" as it will never be what it once was, but I will eventually have it rebound and made into something special in its own right.

  • DCWDCW Posts: 6,887 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks @Boosibri . I will look them up. One condition I have is that I want it to retain its intended appearance. I don't want it rebound in some different "classical literature" style way.

    Dead Cat Waltz Exonumia
    "Coin collecting for outcasts..."

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