Trevor’s Stack of Bibles

Don’t hate Trevor — and don’t hate me for what I’m about to show you.

Trevor's Stack 1

By now, you’d think I’d be accustomed to the feeling. Just when I think I’m on top of the Bible design and binding landscape, that I have a handle on what’s going on out there, somebody knocks me sideways with a photo of editions I’ve never seen before. In Trevor’s case, I’m still on the ground. Let’s take a look at another view, top to bottom.

Trevor's Stack 2

Here’s what’s in the photo, in Trevor’s own words:

“(1) At the top is a JN Darby. Small, zippered, the pages are a really nice size and shape. Some of the word choices in the translation make the Bible strange again.

(2) The next from the top is an NASB from LeatherBibles.com in tan and black calfskin. This is the one that I am most inclined to carry. I just finished reading it, although I admit my eyes were tired some nights. The font is a little larger than Cambridge’s Pitt Minions. It is a good size and weight for reading in bed.

(3) Then follows a TNIV in hardcover tan calfskin from Allan’s. The print is quite small. A bit of a revisionist Bible!

(4) The KJV Oxford Ruby bound in highland goatskin by Allan’s is a pleasure to touch. I often have an ache in my heart because I don’t carry it, but the NASB and ESV are better translations for me right now. Later in life I hope to study English literature until the circumlocutions of the KJV resonate for me.

(5-7) Next are three Cambridge Pitt Minions: NASB (black), NIV (burgundy), and KJV (also black). I like being able to substitute a bible of the same size in a new translation. My two friends and I have Bible pouches in this size. They are the ones who talked me into burgundy.

(8-10) The next three Bibles are quite interesting. On the inside, they are the same Oxford KJV with cyclopedic concordance. The first is bound in black highland goatskin by Allan’s. The second is also from Allan’s, a zippered edition. The third is a hardcover binding in pigskin by Smythson of Bond Street. More on
this later.

(11) The next Bible is brown “buffalo grain” goatskin from Allan’s, Cameo KJV. Of course, all of these are leather lined.

(12) You will recognize Allan’s tan goatskin ESV. Wow!

(13) Then follows an RSV hardcover that has a nicely fitting bible cover with leather lace. As you see, it has held up well since 1952.

(14) The NIV single column bible in calfskin from Cambridge is a luxury I own because it struck me that it might be fun to read the Bible as though it were a novel.

(15) Finally, we see a Cambridge Concord Wide-Margin being pressed into the cushion by the weight of its brethren.

(16) That’s a facsimile reprint of the Geneva Bible in the background.”

Trevor's Smythson Bible

“I would like to say a little more about the Smythson’s hardcover. I had never really liked hardcover Bibles until I saw one with this quality of leather and binding. Have you considered hardcovers much? It is an entirely different experience. It is not as easy to carry, and there is no question of folding and caressing the leather while you read. But there is solidity here. And a hand-sized Bible like this is not at all cold, unfriendly, or imposing. It is rounded and a little bit shorter than the full-yapp binding. It is also a bit thicker, as Smythson has used rather sturdy boards. The silk linings are hypnotic, as is the pattern on the pigskin. When I hold this Bible, I realize that my Bible collection could have gone in an entirely different direction.”

I’m realizing the same thing about now. A hardcover KJV by Smythson of Bond Street, bound in pigskin? The mind reels. It lists for £150.00. I’ve never resented the exchange rate more. Thanks, Trevor, for sharing such an impressive collection!

18 Comments on “Trevor’s Stack of Bibles

  1. That is a nice stack, I am especially drawn to that Oxford Ruby edition, I have now for a wile looked in the Allan catalog and i need a trustworthy bible to bring at all times, I have my main sword at home and need a smaller ones for trips and so on….the Ruby seem to be very nice, the yapp edges, the highland Goatskin…. perfect size, i was in Contact with Allans and asked about the Ruby edition and they have increased it size slightly so it is a bit bigger now. But i am almost sure i will go for it.

  2. That is impressive. Especially since it has unfamiliar editions (to me). That buffalo skin looks nice, but then all the tan and tannish ones do – so much so, I’m having a hard time deciding whether to wait until June for the 2007 ESV to arrive in Tan, or to go ahead and get the current edition. In fact, these stacks and reviews are not helping my self-discipline to resist buying more fine Bibles altogether!
    Mark, with your love of red, Smythson gets you closer to that color on a cerise Aruba calfskin KJV, but it may seem a bit loud, or at least feminine: http://www.smythson.com/SmythsonSite/product/Books_View%20All/WP-RF3125.htm

  3. ” My two friends and I have Bible pouches in this size. They are the ones who talked me into burgundy.”
    I found myself also apologizing for having a burgundy Bible in my stack. The binding fashionista are out in force! :^)
    I’ll go out on a limb here and proclaim that I actually LIKE my burgundy Bible!

  4. So, why am I not supposed to hate Trevor? Even 1/2 that stack could incite one to envy.

  5. Actually, Scott, I think the cerise Aruba calfskin would go really well with your ensemble. Why don’t you get one and I’ll check it out next time we meet?
    Seraphim, you’re free to like burgundy. Maybe I should round up some of the burgundy covers I’ve been avoiding and do a feature on them, just for you!
    Carol, if it were just half the stack, then we’d be justified in our envy. But at this point, Trevor’s stack displays such virtuoso exuberance that we should be dumbstruck with admiration. That’s what I keep telling myself, at any rate. :)

  6. Mark,
    Very funny! LOL! :) I think I’ll pass on that one for now. It comes in too near $300, and would seem just a bit girlie-man for my taste. ;) Sorry to disappoint. Yet, if they made a real red one for less money, I might be tempted, as this is a very intriguing binding option. I wouldn’t mind a little hardbound to mimic the dimensions of my Moleskines. (Do you happen to know of anything like that?)

  7. Little hardbacks? That sounds like another feature. There are a couple around here, but I don’t know if they’d really “go” with the Moleskine. I have a small, blue text-only KJV hardback and a burgundy hardcover Compact ESV from Collins. I’m tempted by the black pigskin Smythson, I just wish it weren’t a Brevier Blackface inside, given my ambivalence about that setting.

  8. Thanks Mark. A feature on little hardbacks would be great. That little TruGlow reminds me of the bubblegum Smythsons. Fashionable, but a little over the top for me. If you get that black Smythsons, I’d love to see you offer a more in-depth review of it too (looks like the dimensions of it might come close to the Moleskine).

  9. MY first rebinding of a Bible (my preaching RSV Bible) back in 1981 used top grade leather over boards as the binder always bound over boards since she felt it makes the binding last longer. I still use it in the pulpit but now use allan’s ESV for my daily use.

  10. Funny you brought the little TruGlo ESV up again. Amazon has them from people for $7 including the the shipping so I had just ordered one three days ago. Hopefully it’ll be here on Monday. Also, I made the purchase solely based on your previous review Mark, as well as my desire for a cheap yet sewn compact bible.
    I had already purchased a TruGrip but the rubber smelled awful and the paper was pulling away from the rubber. I’m hoping the TruGlo as a hardback will resolve that problem (plus a ribbon!) and I am looking forward to the comments about it being glow in the dark ;)

  11. It’ll be a lamp unto your feet and a light to your path, Nathan. :)

  12. “Thou shalt now covet” (Uh, that’s not right.)
    “Thou shalt not covet” (That’s better)
    I am waiting to send my picture until I receive my Nelson Signature KJV Pocket Companion. for which I have received shipping confirmation. My Pitt-Minion NASB reference came yesterday, and it is interesting to compare it with my non-reference NASB Pitt-Minion.
    However, after seeing Trevor’s stack I am afraid that mine will be a little anti-climactic. It will include a couple that haven’t been seen in these pictures yet, but it won’t compare.

  13. the Geneva Bible and the Allan’s KJV in buffalo look amazing!
    I really need more color in my collection. I am looking to buy a Synopsis of the Four Gospels and have that rebound by Mechling in either a red or brown goatskin.

  14. I’m pleased that people enjoyed seeing my bibles. I am attached to each of them, although I also dream of owning only one bible that combines the best attributes of each.
    Jason asked where I obtained the bible pouches for the Pitt Minions. They were actually quilted specifically for the bibles. This is part of the reason for the burgundy. One pouch shows the Virgin and Child and another depicts the idea that the hand of God sustains those who sing or play music. The color schemes of this original artwork were developed in the presence of the bible.

  15. I am trying to decide whether to buy the Hendricksons Minister’s Bible in regular black leather or the deluxe edition in Moroccan leather.
    Does anyone know if the deluxe edition has different binding and if it’s worth the money over the regular edition?

  16. I thought the regular edition was very nice and purchased it. I haven’t seen the deluxe so I can’t comment on it, however the regular edition is sewn and has nice quality paper. I’m assuming the only real difference is in the quality of the leather, the rest should be identical.

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