The Epistle Dedicatory

THE EPISTLE DEDICATORY.


TO THE MOST HIGH AND MIGHTY PRINCE JAMES,
BY THE GRACE OF GOD,


KING OF GREAT BRITAIN, FRANCE, AND IRELAND, DEFENDER OF THE FAITH, &c.


The Translators of the Bible wish Grace, Mercy, and Peace, through JESUS CHRIST our Lord.


GREAT and manifold were the blessings, most dread Sovereign, which Almighty God, the Father of all mercies, bestowed upon us the people of England, when first he sent Your Majesty’s Royal Person to rule and reign over us. For whereas it was the expectation of many, who wished not well unto our Sion, that upon the setting of that bright Occidental Star, Queen Elizabeth of most happy memory, some thick and palpable clouds of darkness would so have overshadowed this Land, that men should have been in doubt which way they were to walk; and that it should hardly be known, who was to direct the unsettled State; the appearance of Your Majesty, as of the Sun in his strength, instantly dispelled those supposed and surmised mists, and gave unto all that were well affected exceeding cause of comfort; especially when we beheld the Government established in Your Highness, and Your hopeful Seed, by an undoubted Title, and this also accompanied with peace and tranquillity at home and abroad.


But among all our joys, there was no one that more filled our hearts, than the blessed continuance of the preaching of God’s sacred Word among us; which is that inestimable treasure, which excelleth all the riches of the earth; because the fruit thereof extendeth itself, not only to the time spent in this transitory world, but directeth and disposeth men unto that eternal happiness which is above in heaven.


Then not to suffer this to fall to the ground, but rather to take it up, and to continue it in that state, wherein the famous Predecessor of Your Highness did leave it: nay, to go forward with the confidence and resolution of a Man in maintaining the truth of Christ, and propagating it far and near, is that which hath so bound and firmly knit the hearts of all Your Majesty’s loyal and religious people unto You, that Your very name is precious among them: their eye doth behold You with comfort, and they bless You in their hearts, as that sanctified Person, who, under God, is the immediate Author of their true happiness. And this their contentment doth not diminish or decay, but every day increaseth and taketh strength, when they observe, that the zeal of Your Majesty toward the house of God doth not slack or go backward, but is more and more kindled, manifesting itself abroad in the farthest parts of Christendom, by writing in defence of the Truth, (which hath given such a blow unto that man of sin, as will not be healed,) and every day at home, by religious and learned discourse, by frequenting the house of God, by hearing the Word preached, by cherishing the Teachers thereof, by caring for the Church, as a most tender and loving nursing Father.


There are infinite arguments of this right Christian and religious affection in Your Majesty; but none is more forcible to declare it to others than the vehement and perpetuated desire of accomplishing and publishing of this work, which now with all humility we present unto Your Majesty. For when Your Highness had once out of deep judgment apprehended how convenient it was, that out of the Original Sacred Tongues, together with comparing of the labours, both in our own, and other foreign Languages, of many worthy men who went before us, there should be one more exact Translation of the holy Scriptures into the English Tongue; Your Majesty did never desist to urge and to excite those to whom it was commended, that the work might be hastened, and that the business might be expedited in so decent a manner, as a matter of such importance might justly require.


And now at last, by the mercy of God, and the continuance of our labours, it being brought unto such a conclusion, as that we have great hopes that the Church of England shall reap good fruit thereby; we hold it our duty to offer it to Your Majesty, not only as to our King and Sovereign, but as to the principal Mover and Author of the work: humbly craving of Your most Sacred Majesty, that since things of this quality have ever been subject to the censures of illmeaning and discontented persons, it may receive approbation and patronage from so learned and judicious a Prince as Your Highness is, whose allowance and acceptance of our labours shall more honour and encourage us, than all the calumniations and hard interpretations of other men shall dismay us. So that if, on the one side, we shall be traduced by Popish Persons at home or abroad, who therefore will malign us, because we are poor instruments to make God’s holy Truth to be yet more and more known unto the people, whom they desire still to keep in ignorance and darkness; or if, on the other side, we shall be maligned by selfconceited Brethren, who run their own ways, and give liking unto nothing, but what is framed by themselves, and hammered on their anvil; we may rest secure, supported within by the truth and innocency of a good conscience, having walked the ways of simplicity and integrity, as before the Lord; and sustained without by the powerful protection of Your Majesty’s grace and favour, which will ever give countenance to honest and Christian endeavours against bitter censures and uncharitable imputations.


The Lord of heaven and earth bless Your Majesty with many and happy days, that, as his heavenly hand hath enriched Your Highness with many singular and extraordinary graces, so You may be the wonder of the world in this latter age for happiness and true felicity, to the honour of that great GOD, and the good of his Church, through Jesus Christ our Lord and only Saviour.

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Q: Your Guide to Buying Antiquarian Books.

A: A great place to start to learn more about collecting antiquarian Bibles and Theology is this website.

It is recommended that new collectors start collecting what they have defined as the scope of their collection, making sure to buy from Reputable Dealers. This may require some research, but in the case for Bibles and Theology the following pages on this website can help: The History of the English Bible, The History of the King James Bible, The History of the Geneva Bible, and finally the Reference Library for a full list of online Bibliographical resources on this subject.

When purchasing an antiquarian book there are desirable elements to consider: First Edition Copies, Large Paper Copies, Red-Ruled Copies, Fine Paper Copies, Extra-Illustrated Copies, Fine Bindings and One-Offs, Importance, Collation, Condition, Fine Provenance, and Extra Features.

Q: What are your ethical standards in the rare book trade?

A: We specialize in buying and selling first edition English Bibles and Theology spanning from the 16th to the 18th century. The antiquarian Bibles and Theology we sell are original historical artifacts that are worthy to be in your Collection whether you are a Collector, Religious Scholar, History Enthusiast, Church and Religious Institution, or just looking for a unique gift for a special occasion. We do not sell facsimiles or reproductions unless otherwise noted.

We use our years of experience to catalog each book and folio produced during the hand press period with honesty, integrity, and thoroughness. We take the time to conserve or restore each book sympathetically (this includes facsimiles of missing folios and any mendings), and to share its unique story. Each description follows a simple layout:

  • Importance. Overview of why the book is historically significant.

  • Binding. Noting the covering material protecting the text block, including the dimensions, weight, and any defects.

  • Provenance. Noting who once owned the book. This includes previous ownership inscriptions, signings, bookplates, and manuscripts. We do our best to present them in chronological order.

  • Collation & Notes. Noting a books completeness by giving a number of how many folios, pages, illustrations, maps there are, as well as the format (placement of chain lines and watermarks if any) and other information. We consult with ESTC, WorldCat, and Historical Catalogues like Herbert’s and Darlow & Moule.

  • Condition. Noting the text blocks dimensions and any defects.

“I consider as lovers of books not those who keep their books hidden in their store-chests and never handle them, but those who, by nightly as well as daily use thumb them, batter them, wear them out, who fill out all the margins with annotations of many kinds, and who prefer the marks of a fault they have erased to a neat copy full of faults.”

-Desiderius Erasmus

Q: Where do you get your antiquarian books from?

A: We source our antiquarian books from Auctions, Estate Sales, Book Fairs, Reputable Dealers, and our Customers. If you are interested in selling your book to us, please contact us at sales@etrarebooks.com with the following information:

  • Condition. Are there any defects to the text block or binding?

  • Collation. Are there any missing volumes, folios, illustrations, or maps?

  • Photos. Photos of the title pages, printed text, illustrations, maps, and binding.

Q: Why don’t you issue a Certificate of Authenticity? And how do you know a book or leaf is authentic?

A: Handling antiquarian books that are hundreds of years old is an amazing experience and are virtually impossible to make a facsimile of. We do not issue a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) with each book or folio purchased, since it does not guarantee authenticity and anyone can issue it. Instead, we recommend to only purchase from reputable dealers, and to search for the signs below. Logically, a facsimile presupposes that there is an original to compare it with, therefore having access to an original can be helpful in identifying a facsimile.

  • During the hand press period, paper was made with rag cotton linen called antique laid paper upwards to the late 18th century. Antique laid paper will have wire lines, chain lines running vertically or horizontally, and watermarks (not all paper had watermarks). These can be used to identify when and where the paper was made, and how they were assembled. In the late 18th century antique laid paper began to be replaced with wove paper, which had no wire lines and chain lines. After the hand press period modern laid paper was introduced, which can be easily distinguished by its lighter appearance around the chain lines.

  • Consider the papers thickness, weight, strength, and flexibility when handling. Antique laid paper is thicker and lighter in weight, while really strong and flexible.

  • Search for any inconstancies in the papers appearance, smells, staining, and worm trails. Generally, important provenances are the most susceptible to forgery, while important single folios and title pages are the most susceptible to being a facsimile.

  • During the hand press period, the text and decorations were pressed into the paper, and not printed on the paper like todays printers do.

  • Search for the long S in Italic, Roman (ſ), and Black letter type. The long S is an archaic form of the lowercase letter s used until the early 19th century. It often appears in the beginning, middle, and end of a word.

Q: What is the difference between Conservation and Restoration?

A: We may send the book to a professional conservator for Conservation or occasionally for Restoration, with an emphasis on preserving any provenance. Conservation involves stabilizing the book in its current state and preventing further deterioration, while retaining as much of the original materials as possible. Restoration involves returning the book back to its original state (like it was fresh off the printing press), which improves aesthetics and can in some cases increase its value. This involves washing paper which can significantly extend its life by reducing acidity (the causes of yellowing) and degrading products (i.e. dirt, dust, and staining). Even after washing the paper may need to be deacidified, this is typically true with 19th century paper. To remove foxing and other serious stains to achieve the papers original whiter color, it can only be done with bleaching. After washing the paper is perhaps resized in the final bath to recapture any loss in paper rattle (i.e. reinforcing the paper structure).

Washed paper can be distinguished by its smell and gray cast appearance, while bleached paper can be distinguished by its smell and unusually whiter appearance. Resized paper can be distinguished by its glossy appearance.

Q: Do you accept other forms of payment? Do you offer flexible payment plans?

A: Yes, we accept Zelle, Bank Transfers, Checks, and Money Orders. Payment plans are available. Once all payments are received, we will ship your item.

Q: How do I care for my antiquarian books, pamphlets, and leaves?

A: Below is a list of recommendations for Where To Store, Shelving Practices For Books & Pamphlets, When Handling (Including Leaves), Professional Conservation.

Where To Store. Always keep books stored in a dark cool dry place where temperatures stay consistent (about 60-70° Fahrenheit), with relative humidity (about 35-45%), and plenty of air circulation. Do not store books in the attic or basement, where temperatures and humidity change rapidly and have little to no air circulation. These are the very areas that may contain pests like rats, mice, carpet beetles, silverfish, roaches, and book lice. Do not store books on the bare floor or carpet.

For bookshelves that are against the outside walls of a building, changes in temperature and humidity can damage the books. Therefore, the bookshelves and the books themselves need to be 2” from the back walls (wall of the building and wall of the bookshelves). 

Shelving Practices For Books & Pamphlets. When removing books that are shelved vertically, do not pull them out by the spines leather end caps or endbands, as this can cause damage. Instead, gently slide the book out by pushing on the text block from behind, and making sure that the books weight is not being shifted onto the spines leather tail end cap. Use the correct bookends or other books (to shelve together with) to ensure that the books will stay shelved vertically. When shelving many books together do not shelve them too tightly or loosely. Always store large books and books without endbands horizontally, and do not place any heavy objects on top.

Pamphlets are delicate and can be stored horizontally or vertically if bound. They can be bound in leather, wrappers, or simply placed in a four flap enclosure protection.

When Handling (Including Leaves). Whether the books are stored on bookshelves or are handled. Books placed under direct sunlight quickly degrades the binding and paper, while direct artificial fluorescent light slowly degrades them. The damage caused by the light is not immediate, but compounds over time and is considered irreversible. Therefore, when studying for long periods of time, a magnifying glass and an LED light can be used (as it produces the least amount heat than other sources of light). However, if direct artificial fluorescent lights are the only option, then limit the brightness and length of time its in use. It is highly recommended to take photos of anything of interest for further study and reference. Doing this can significantly reduce the books wear and degradation.

If leaves are to be framed it is recommended to use materials that are acid free and plexiglass or glass with UV protection.

Keeping a regular housekeeping schedule can ensure surroundings are clear of distraction or anything that may negatively alter the book (like hand creams or lotions, pens, highlighters, markers, inks, food, drinks, etc.).

Books can be handled without gloves as long as the hands are clean and dry. When handling two or more books for long periods of time, hands must be kept clean and dry to prevent the transference of dirt and dust. Gloves reduce manual dexterity and create a higher chance for unnecessary tears. There are numerous experts on this subject who concluded the same, see: An article by the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives called No Love for White Gloves, or: the Cotton Menace, and an article by The British Library called White Gloves or Not White Gloves.

For books with original bindings, support is of utmost importance given that bindings up to the early 19th century were tight back structures, which means the covering material was directly glued to the spine. While these binding structures are generally sturdy, do not to judge them as more robust than what they really are. Books are complex structures, and their binding structures should never be forced to open beyond what they are comfortably capable of (like opening them flat on the table). Support must be optimal otherwise the spine is susceptible to splitting, resulting in a weakened binding structure. Generally they should not be opened beyond 120°, and if the binding structure is really tight then the book should not be opened beyond 90° (especially if the book is thick and was stab sewn). An inexpensive solution is to use a soft non-scratching pillow zipper case that can be filled with tiny soft foam balls. Another option, yet more expensive, is to purchase a book cradle.

Professional Conservation. Books that are lightly dusty or dirty can be cleaned with a very soft brush or cloth. If not cleaned often, a combination of the two can cause mold to sprout and spread to other books. However, books that are seriously dusty, dirty, or defective can be sent to a professional conservator for an assessment and recommendation on the best course of action.

Custom clamshell boxes can be created by your chosen professional conservator. They are relatively inexpensive but depends on the books format, size, and your tastes. It can protect the book during transportation, from dust and dirt, and even from rapid changes in temperature and humidity. Furthermore, if the binding has any metal furniture (like brass or silver corner pieces and bosses) than it can prevent it from abrading other books on the shelf.

Q: What are the common book formats and their heights?

A: There are four types of formats commonly encountered in the rare book world: Duodecimo, Octavo, Quarto, and Folio. However, simply cataloging a book as one of these formats, based only on how tall the binding is, would not provide an accurate picture. As there are Large Paper Copies, which are desirable copies that have their sheets measuring larger than what is commonly cited for that format. Therefore, we determine a books format by the placement of its chain lines and watermarks (not all paper had watermarks), number of folios in each quire (consulting with ESTC, WorldCat, and Historical Catalogues like Herbert’s and Darlow & Moule), and how tall the text block is.

Much like today, each format and the number of volumes served a particular market of readers. For Bibles, formats like the Duodecimo and Octavo were for private and devotional use, with the Quarto typically being a family Bible, while a much larger format like the Folio were for public use like preaching. They were commonly issued as single volumes but, at time were separated into two or more volumes. Separating Bibles into more volumes ensured that each of the books were a comfortable weight to carry and hold while reading.

  • A Duodecimo or Twelvemo is 5”-6” Tall (abbreviated as 12mo or 12º). Folded 4 times forming a quire of 12 folios which is 24 pages. The chain lines run horizontally (parallel to the short side of the folio), and the placement of its watermarks varies.

  • A Octavo is 6”-7.75” Tall (abbreviated as 8vo or 8º). Folded 3 times forming a quire of 8 folios which is 16 pages. The chain lines run vertically (parallel to the long side of the folio), and its watermarks are perhaps found in the upper corners of the gutter.

  • A Quarto is 8”-10.75” Tall (abbreviated as 4to or 4º). Folded 2 times forming a quire of 4 folios which is 8 pages. Sometimes two individual sheets were folded and combined forming a quire of 8 folios which is 16 pages. It has also been observed that a Quarto can contain a quire of 10 folios which is 20 pages. The chain lines run horizontally (parallel to the short side of the folio), and its watermarks are typically found in the center of the gutter or edge of the folio.

  • A Folio is 11”-20” Tall (abbreviated as fo. or 2º). Folded 1 time forming a quire of 2 folios which is 4 pages. Folios are the only format that do not require any cutting. The chain lines run vertically (parallel to the long side of the folio), and its watermarks are typically found in the center of the folio.

When each sheet was carefully created and the text was printed. The next step was to fold the sheets into quires and to collate using the signed symbols and numerals located at the tail recto called signature marks. Each quire had a specific symbol and typically only a small number of folios at the start had signature marks to ensure nothing was missing or misfolded. Typically, the symbols were the 23 letter printers alphabet (excluding J, U, and W) and the numerals which varied depending on the format. Whenever a book exceeded 23 letters the printer would then restart the sequence (for example: A1 became Aa1).

Q: Why do some Bibles contain engravings?

A: Bibles with illustrations are called extra-illustrated. These engravings were typically copper or steel plate engravings on interleaved sheets at the request of a wealthy customer. The number of interleaved sheets with engravings varied with each edition and depended on the customers request. Normally, these engravings were more concentrated in the New Testament than in the Old Testament, and in certain Bibles, the number of interleaved sheets with engravings can fetch up to 1,000 plus.

The old-adage A picture is worth a thousand words holds up true even to this day. Typically, the engravings depicted a story’s climax in the foreground (as the largest), while other parts of the story were in the background (smaller), forming a complete picture. Typically a Bible in Quarto format that was profusely engraved would have sat on the family table where the family gathered together to read the Word of God. These engravings, along with the captions (if any), enhanced the reading experience by offering an ingenious way of memorizing scripture, and making it more engaging to its readers especially for children.

In addition, there is a lot that can be learned about the numerous engravers who have lived throughout the centuries, whose engravings were on interleaved sheets in a Bible. For example, one such engraver was Frederick Hendrik Van Hove (circa 1628-1698) who was born in Haarlem, Netherlands. In the 1660’s Van Hove moved to London where he lived and worked there as an engraver until his death. In his book, John Dunton shares some interesting thoughts about Van Hove, Mr. Vanhove was another Engraver that I traded with. He drew for me "Don Kainophilus"; "The Passing Bell"; "Innocent the Eleventh"; "The House of Weeping"; "The Martyrs in Flames," and Forty other Pictures. And though I cannot rank him with Mr. White, for he seldom draws from the Living Original; yet, to do Mr. Vanhove justice, he is a very ingenious Artist; a great enemy to sensual pleasures; of remarkable justice; and, though a Papist, has a most particular zeal against all severities and persecutions upon the account of Religion. (Dunton, John, and J. B. Nichols. The Life and Errors of John Dunton, Citizen of London: With the Lives and Characters of More than a Thousand Contemporary Divines, and Other Persons of Literary Eminence:.., vol. 1, J. Nichols, London, 1818, pp. 263–264.)

There are also other beautiful decorative engravings worth mentioning. The decoratively engraved initial letter of a word is called a historiated initial or woodcut initial. The decorative engravings on top of a page are called historiated headpieces, while the decorative engravings on the bottom of a page are called historiated tailpieces. To save time and money Printers would reuse the same wooden blocks for decorations until they wore out. The practice can be evidently seen, for the more a wooden block was used, the more it worn down, the more ink was required, this is why decorations can appear much more darker and thicker. The same holds true for the metal types used to print the text.

Q: Why were Bibles Ruled in red?

A: For a small percentage of Bibles (about 10%), after printing, each page would be finely hand Ruled in red around the text and extending well into the margins, a job that only a wealthy customer can request to be done. To do this tedious job, the tools that the Red ruler utilized was a straightedge and a quill with red ink. It is typical to encounter mistakes that lurked in during the Red-ruling, these imperfections are rather really beautiful as they add character to the book.

Ruled lines are not something new as it was an integral part of manuscript production before the advent of the printing press. However, soon after the advent of the printing press, what was once used as guide for scribes and layout, now served a variety of other interesting purposes. The practice of Red-ruling printed books was noted to have taken off sometime in the 1500s, continuing into the 1600s, becoming rare after 1740, and eventually disappearing around 1800. However, even after its disappearance the practice of Red-ruling still continued in ledgers, journals and other books used for writing.

As previously mentioned, Red-ruling printed books served a variety of interesting purposes. It served as a visible mark of a Fine Paper Copy and therefore distinct from others, and it made the book more aesthetically pleasing while at the same time making the text easily stand out and more approachable. As for why the color red was used for ruling, perhaps because it was associated with royalty and therefore served as a status symbol signifying ones wealth. It is also interesting to note that while rulers typically used the color red, in some lesser known cases there are examples of rulers who used other colors such as green, brown, and black.

Q: What is a Royal Binding?

A: A Binding is Royal only if it bears the stamped royal coat of arms of a King. It indicates the copy was associated with the King's Court, and was not actually owned by the King himself. In England the King's Court was not a particular place, rather wherever the King was. At times books with these Royal Bindings were gifted directly to a faithful subject. 

Q: Do You Take Apart Complete Books and Sell Their Leaves Individually?

A: No, we never do that. We are careful where we source our leaves, our leaves are mostly retrieved directly from incomplete or damaged books. Each leaf includes a description.