R. L. Allan’s Oxford Long Primer in Highland Goatskin

CurlIt’s appeared several photos. I’ve mentioned it a time or two. But until now, I’ve never posted my thoughts on the Oxford Brevier Blackface Reference Edition from R. L. Allan. This is quite an omission, considering the Brevier Blackface was the first Bible I ever purchased from R. L. Allan, the beginning of the affair, so to speak. So why the long silence? It’s one of those love/hate situations. If you think of this edition as the child of Allan’s and Oxford, I love what Allan’s contributed to the gene pool and feel pretty ambivalent about the Oxford chromosome. It all comes down to one little word: blackface. Whether you love or hate this edition depends entirely on how dark you like your text. If you don’t like cream in your coffee or moon in your night, the Brevier Blackface might be the ticket. For everyone else, I recommend the Longprimer.

First, let me explain why I chose Oxford over Cambridge. R. L. Allan offers its own editions from both publishers, and there are actually more options to choose from on the Cambridge side of the equation. The Oxford settings of the KJV tend to look a bit antiquated, as well, both because of the font and the self-pronouncing feature, which might be nice when reading aloud, but doesn’t do the intelligibility of the page any favors. Still, I chose an Oxford edition for variety’s sake. By the time I discovered Allan’s, I already had a shelf full of Cambridge KJVs!

When the Brevier Blackface arrived, I held it in my hands and immediately swore off all those Cambridge calfskins. What had I been thinking? How had I ever considered those things nice, or even adequate. In a world where such covers and bindings existed, what excuse could there be for anything else? Yes, it was an extreme reaction, but consider the context. For years I’d been on this hit-or-miss journey. I wanted to be a one-Bible-guy, but there was always some reason that the edition at hand couldn’t be the One. When I opened that blue box, unwrapped the paper strips binding the Brevier Blackface, and got my first look at the form, my first sniff of the scent, my first touch of the goatskin, I was ecstatic. If I’d been a Victorian heroine, I’d have promptly swooned.

The cover is flexible. The binding is sewn. The overall impression is one of refinement. And for the first time, I had a Bible that opened flat straight from the box and felt great in the hand. This was also my first taste of full yapp edges, the extended leather edges that overlap the pages, protecting the gilt while making it marginally more difficult to flip around from passage to passage.

Openflat_2Of all the Bibles I’ve featured here, this one was particularly difficult to photograph. The pebble grain is tight, the surface glossy without a hint of cheap shine. When I snapped the pictures, though, they never quite reflect what I see with my eyes. The box is marked “RL Allan 20,” which by today’s listing indicates a highland goatskin cover, but mine is stamped “Cape Levant Morocco” inside, which seems to correspond to today’s #26. Mine also says “Oxford Binding” on the inside back cover.

Imagesphp3I find the size of this edition particularly handy. It measures 7 and 1/8 by 4 and 3/4, just over an inch wide. As a result, it occupies an intermediate place between truly compact pocket editions and full-size references. To me, this form factor is near the sweet spot for a “carrying” Bible, the kind you tote to church — small enough not to be an encumbrance, but large enough to be easily read and contain notes and references. In fact, this edition includes a Cyclopedic Concordance packed with all sorts of information — various photos, a genealogical chart of the patriarchs, and index of Old Testament quotations in the New Testament, maps, and much more. Some people find this sort of thing essential. I always imagine people busying themselves with the back matter forty-five minutes into a ninety-minute sermon.

In the photos, you’ll note an imperfection that’s sometimes seen on Cambridge Bibles, too. The page edges are a little wavy — in fact, if you run a fingertip along the top or bottom, you can feel the ripple. My first Cambridge Bible, a wide-margin in Berkshire leather, had the same ‘feature,’ only it resembled a troubled ocean and always made me think, “Surf’s up!” Does it bother me? No. Your mileage may vary.

What does bother me, though, is just how black the blackface type is. It’s downright Gothic black, reminiscent of old German type, so black that if I go outside on a clear day and open it up, astronauts in orbit can read over my shoulder. Now if you’re one of those people who thinks the problem with Bibles today is the print’s too small and too narrow, and they don’t use enough ink on the page, you’re going to love this thing. To me, it’s like reading page after page of text highlighted in bold, or maybe all-caps.

Spinegrain_2I have only myself to blame. This edition is clearly labeled “blackface,” and the accompanying text samples live up to the name. But I’d never had any experience with an edition like this before so I didn’t realize how hard it would be to read. Perhaps the darkness alone isn’t the issue — it’s the perfect storm of blackface type, an old-fashioned font, and the self-pronouncing feature that invariably renders Jesus as Je’-sus (only with different accents over the e, s, and u so that each is voiced correctly). When I think that someone had to go through the entire Bible spelling all the proper names phonetically, I get a headache. Just think: in the old days, they’d go to that amount of trouble, whereas now you have to whine for years on end to get a simple single-column text setting!

In the final analysis, you’ll either love it or hate it. An old school traditionalist with iffy eyesight will find the Brevier Blackface the ultimate reference work. For everyday use, it’s a bit much if you ask me. It’s a shame, though, because the size is excellent and the binding bespeaks quality, old school tradition in the best sense. If you’re looking at R. L. Allan and you want a KJV, this wouldn’t be my first recommendation. Still, I can’t say I regret buying it. Picky as I am, I still break it out from time to time … and enjoy.


Brevier Blackface 3

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Brevier Blackface 5

Brevier Blackface 4

116 Comments on “R. L. Allan’s Oxford Long Primer in Highland Goatskin

  1. What a shock that Allan’s has published such an extraordinary Bible. The pictures are beautiful. Thanks for the review Mark.

  2. Mark, this is exactly the Bible Nicholas Gray suggested for me when I asked him to help me find a great Bible. Certainly, the Allan site doesn’t have the great pictures you have presented here, but that would be nice.
    The one drawback I can see, at least for me, is the fact it’s not red letter. Only after reading this blog for a month or so, do I realize many people prefer black-only text. There is not one Bible in my house that doesn’t have the words of Christ in red.
    There’s one more little tweak that should be included with high-end Bibles, IMHO. Three ribbon bookmarks should be standard. If someone only wants one or two, the extra could be cut out, but it’s rather difficult to add one.
    If the red letter text could be added, this Bible would be near the top of the stack. My Nelson’s Signature Series Reference Bible is looking better all the time.
    Again, you’ve done a great job in sharing the details of this work of art.
    Pastor Ron

  3. Mark, the Allan Long Primer (53) was my first Allan, before the ESV1, NIVC, and NRSV, and remains my favourite (the anglicisation begins to rub off). Mine came in the Cape Levant (a bolder grain than yours pictured–though I don’t remember being given a choice) which I have come to prize above all others, both for look and feel. I’m pleased to see your fine review and beautiful photos. I can certainly echo your advice, you should try the Long Primer.

  4. Great review Mark.
    Just purchased The Allan’s KJV Long Primer.
    I absolutely love it!
    Unfortunately I don’t like full yapp covers so I had to go for the cheaper £75 Allan #59 described by Allan as “Mid grain goatskin leather”.
    However the cheaper price does not mean poor quality by any means. The bible is very limp as well only slightly less than the highland goatskin.
    So for anyone who is not keen on the full yapp the Allan#59 will certainly suffice. It is simply the highest quality bible I have ever seen. The binding is superb! The text is a joy to read and I hope it will last for many years to come.
    The £65 version in french Morocco (Allan#52) is a lot stiffer and I would not recommend it if you want that lovely feel that only goatskin brings.
    Thanks to Mark for helping me decide on the perfect KJV from Allan’s.
    When shopping around I also had a hands on with the Brevier Clarendon in brown and I can say that it is simply the best looking bible I have ever seen in terms of the binding and colours.

  5. David from Ireland: Thank you….you answered the question I had about the mid-grain. I also am not a big fan of the full yapp covers. My Allan Brevier Blackface is full yapp, and I actually went to the trouble of opening the cover and laying heavy books on the edges to try and straighten them. It’s fine now, however I would still prefer a slightly trimmer look. I may have to give the mid grain #59 a shot.

    • Do all Allan 59 Long Primers have the Cyclopedic Concordance? Is the goatskin used a natural skin, or has it been pressed, ironed, or grained. Is it comparable to Highland goatskin?

  6. Great review, Mark, as always.
    One traditional feature that I miss in the Longprimer is having the English words added by the translators italicized. This as part of the work of the translators and for me having these words displayed is part of the experience of reading KJV text. I’ve other Oxford KJVs missing this.
    My Longprimer is in the Levant goatskin and I was surprised to see several small spots in the leather apparently not fully dyed – there are some light bluish areas on the edges and in the grain of the yapp by the bottom of the spine. Knowing Allan’s reputation I’m sure they’d accept a return, but I didn’t see these as severe enough to ship this Bible back to the UK from the US. Otherwise, yes, this is indeed an excellent Bible.

    • I purchased an Allen Longprimer 53 and can say it is the finest in terms of clear print and a wonderful cover. It is truly high end quality. That being said, I have to add to your comment about words added by the translators not being italicized. To one, such as I am, that honors the KJV above others, this is important. Also it should be noted that the numbered helps in the center column, such as “the best manuscripts” are straight out of the Revised New Testament of 1881, which was based on a different Greek textual source than the KJV, and influenced by Westcott and Hort.This does not sit well with those of us who revere our KJV’s. This to me is a sly corruption, and at least should be pointed out by the reviewer as an ethical matter.

  7. Mark – Ok, my head hurts now. Every time I read one of your reviews I think “I’ve got to get that Bible.” I’ve basically narrowed it down to the Long Primer or the Brevier Clarendon. Your article on the Long Primer was really informative and the pictures, especially of the blue inside liner, almost sold me. My main Bible is Cambridge’s Presentation Reference Edition in goatskin. It’s a great Bible, the goatskin’s a little stiffer than it appears the Allan is but it has two ribbons which I think I’ll miss if I convert. I don’t think the full yapp will be a bother for me but it looks like if you want the Highland full yapp is the only choice. Any reason why that’s the case? Anyway, thanks for your reviews… decisions, decisions…..

  8. Will Allan’s add ribbons to make a total of three? Also, James Thompson, how is the type in your Cambridge Presentation? I’m told it’s 11pt. Also, is it a red letter edition? Although, it’s WAY too much, it looks like my next Bible is going to have to be either the Cambridge Presentation or the Allan’s Turquoise. I’m quite certain the Cambridge is cheaper by quite a bit. Thanks.
    Pastor Ron

  9. Ron – The type in the Presentation Reference Edition is 10/11 pt. It’s very readable. Some may not like the style (Antique Old Style No. 3) but I’m “old school” so it appeals to me. I have the black letter edition. BTW, I might be wrong but I think the Allen Turquoise and this one are the same Bible – it used to be called Turquoise Reference Edition at Cambridge.

  10. The Cambridge “Presentation Reference Bible” is indeed the same as the old “Turquoise” edition. In new copies of Cambridge Bibles, however, you have to be careful about the printing. Their standards have definitely slipped. I have a copy of the Presentation Reference Bible that’s about 5 years old . . . and I returned 2 copies for replacement before keeping this one, due to uneven printing, blurred pages, extremely light inking, show-through, etc. The copy I ended up keeping is fine, for some reason. It’s printed in both The Netherlands and the UK, so Cambridge obviously isn’t doing their own printing in house any longer.
    My copy is bound in goatskin, and while it’s not super-flexible it’s extremely pleasant to handle. One problem has recently developed: the lining isn’t leather, it’s some kind of plasticized/coated paper, and it has started to split in the fold where the cover meets the spine. I’m still puzzling about what to do about it . . . I don’t particularly want to return the Bible and go through the search again for a copy that’s been decently printed. Will probably just live with it.
    The typeface is extremely readable, and I don’t mind the “old-fashioned” effect of the pages. My copy is bound with a concordance, a dictionary, and the full “The Translators to the Reader” text.
    One interesting error in this Bible is in Mark 1:25 . . . the word “saying” is in black letter but has been overprinted with red. I’ve seen this same error in every red-letter copy of the Presentation Reference/Turquoise I’ve checked.
    The two ribbon markers are black and long enough.

  11. I just received a Long Primer No. 53 from Allans. The quality of the goatskin leather, and the workmanship of the binding is excellent. I love the size and feel of the bible. Also, this is the first bible I have purchased that has the full yapp cover. I was not sure if I would like the leather overlap, but I am very pleased with that feature.
    All that being said, I am not totally happy with the quality of the printing. Some pages have slightly lighter text than others. It almost looks like ther was not enough ink used when printing some of the pages. I recently purchased a very inexpensive bible ($39) that has flawless print quality. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give the print quality a 6 or 7. The font size though, is nice and readable.
    Another distraction is the red under gold treatment of the page ends. When you position the pages to view the red under gold treatment, the result is a “polka-dot” effect (i.e., white dots show instead of solid red) for about 3/4 of the page ends. A section of page ends show solid red, as they should.
    The print quality and red under gold treatment issues are somewhat minor, but it seems to me that a bible of this price ($178 US) should not have these distractions. As such, I may decide to return the bible.

  12. Bill, I’m curious about your $39 Bible with flawless print quality. “Flawless” is a word I’d hardly ever use to describe modern Bible printing, so I’d like to check out this one . . . what did you buy for that price?

  13. Bill, I was happy to read your comment, because it confirmed a fear that I have. I have a number of older Bibles, and it is true, the crispness and uniformity of printing in older printings is often lacking. And thus, for the Allan’s Bibles made from older text blocks, I fear the same thing may be happening. I’ve actually seen this in some of Mark’s gorgeous photography:
    Look at Isaiah 65:14 in this photo — there is a big old ink smear through verse:
    Or alternatively, look at the “d” in “and” in Psalm 52:10 in this photo — it is imperfectly printed:
    Now, neither of these destroy the readability of the text. It is just that for $200, I expect better. (I should mention that you one can find flaws in almost every page photographed by Mark of these older text blocks.) Most recent books that I buy in the $40-$50 range have beautiful, nearly perfect layout and printing. So, I feel that with Allan’s Bibles, one is paying a premium for the binding, but with a text block that is really typical of a much, much cheaper book.
    I notice that Oxford and Cambridge are quickly retiring their older text settings for new, sharp, modern typeset pages. I think I’d just assume get one of those (or wait for Allan’s to start using those new textblocks) before spending $200.

  14. Lee,
    I probably should not have used “flawless” to describe the printing in the $39 bible, but is easily superior to the printing in the Long Primer. In fact is is also easily superior to the print quality in another expensive goatskin bible that I own (Cambridge Presentation bible), although the Presentation bible does not have the light print problem of the Long Primer. Allans carries the Cambridge Presentation using the old Torquoise name. The $39 bible that I am referring to is a Hendrickson (ISBN: 9781598562095), KJV, wide margin large print bible. I got a discount price on it over the internet. It is printed in China. The pages are very thick by the “india paper” standards. However, the binding is a very stiff bonded leather that is not at all pleasing to hold. It is a rather heavy and large bible also.

  15. While I agree that the imperfections Bill described above would bother me too, I don’t think they are typical and I disagree that the text blocks used by Allan are cheap. I also have this Bible, as well as a brevier clarendon, and have noticed the occasional misprint in the text; they are infrequent and really don’t bother me. The paper quality is far superior to anything I can find in my local bookstores, the text is crisp and clear, and the art gilt edges on my copy are flawless-I wish American publishers would use this treatment. I believe this treatment is done by hand so it is not surprising that there is some variation from book to book. The goatskin binding is exquisite; again nothing like it can be found locally and I had no idea quality like this existed until I found this blog. In fact the only thing I would change about this Bible Mark also mentioned; the ribbon is too short, and it could use one or two more.

  16. The occasional misprint does not bother me, but the lighter text does. I must emphasize that the text imperfections are minor and that most people may not notice them. I also want to emphasize that the quality of the leather binding is second to none that I have seen.

  17. Bill, I agree the lighter text would bother me too, (and so would the sloppy art gilt treatment). My point is that they aren’t all like that; the text in mine is consistently dark throughout. I’m sure Allan’s would exchange it for you.

  18. My experience with the Cambridge Presentation Reference was the same: “they aren’t all like that”, and the copy I ended up with is fully acceptable in terms of printing (although a comparison with a much older “Turquoise” printing will reveal how much the typography degrated over time.)
    The odd thing is that the copies I returned all looked externally exactly like the one I finally kept, they were printed in the same locations, etc. You’ve got to wonder what makes the difference in quality from one copy to the next.
    Currently, however, I’m using a 4th edition Thompson Chain Reference (KJV), bound in a very red burgundy cowhide (with bonded leather lining, oddly). The cowhide is stiff as a board, but somehow it works for this particular Bible. Kirkbride (the publisher of the Thompson Bible) is another firm where printing standards have slipped–current editions have very uneven printing and cheap binding.

  19. Thank you to everyone for your comments. I would like to have an Allan’s Bible, to be sure, but am hesitant because of the reported flaws I’ve been reading about here. The last I checked, Allan Bibles aren’t exactly being given away. My heart is set on the Turquoise edition, due to the larger size, but many people have said the Allan’s Oxford Long Primer’s type is quite acceptable, even for older eyes like mine.
    Pastor Ron

  20. Pastor Ron, I have a Cambridge Presentation, and the print is easier to read than that of the Long Primer, at least with my eyes. My Presentation (or Torquoise at Allans) has dark consistent type that is a larger font than the Long Primer (However, I have read of others that had to return the Presentation because of lighter print.). It has an old type setting, so there are instances where part of a letter is missing. This has not been a distraction to me, but newer printings tend to not have this shortcoming. I agree that the Long Primer has larger than standard font, and that most people would find it easy to read. However, I have gotten used to 10 point and larger font. The Long Primer has a slightly smaller font, say 9 point. I also have a Cambridge Concord, which has 8 point font. I would put the Long Primer font size between that of the Concord and the Presentation, only not as bold as either. I personally prefer bold black type, so if you prefer type that is not bold, your opinion on readability may differ from mine.
    Again, I want to emphasize the quality of the Allans leather binding, and to caution that I am definitely a perfectionist when it comes print quality.

  21. I just wanted to know how many others out there put their higher quality Bibles back into their boxes or slipcases after they are finished reading or studyingfor the day. I do this and it does keep them in better condition longer.

  22. What a great question, Lou! Well worth raising in this group. I tend to migrate from Bible to Bible (always KJV, but different editions) and the ones I’m not using stay in their box (if I have it), and flat. I’d like to know how much “knocking around” people give their > $100+ bibles . . . do you take particular care of them, or do you throw them in your backpack or brief case and take them on the road?
    I’d also like to see photos of some premium Bibles after a few years of vigourous use. My “knock around” Bible is a Cambridge Concord bound in red “antique French Morocco”. The leather is worn through at the top and bottom of the spine, and is showing lots of other blemishes. But the book itself is butter-soft, smells great, and is like an old glove.

  23. I’m too busy & too interested in ‘playing’ with my Bibles to put them back in their boxes, it’s too much hassle, though I guess it would preserve them a little better. Most of mine are new so they still get a regular ‘massage’ to loosen them up & condition the leather, I’ve given them their own bookcase where they lie flat in piles according to version too. I handle most of them with care & I tend to only use the boxes when I take them somewhere in a backpack etc.

  24. I don’t keep mine in the box. Nor do I stand them on their spine. They lie flat and I try to use them frequently. I’ve bought mine to use them, but if I had an heirloom Bible I’d probably keep it in a box.

  25. I am within a few days of purchasing an Allan KJV Oxford Reference Bible. I had my heart set on the Brevier Clarendon until I read Mark’s reviews on the Long Primer. Could someone please clarify the main differences between the two versions? I am in Bible college and need a strong reference Bible. Which one would be more readable? Of the two which would be more suited for in depth references? My problem is I am not seeing any formidable differences between the two. Can someone help me with this? Also, I understand that the full yapp is of preference and opinion but what practical purpose does it serve? In my opinion it kinda tweaks with the aesthetic of the Bibles.

  26. Hi Charles. The main difference between the two: the Long Primer is larger with larger type. The type is approx. 10 pt to the Brevier’s approx. 8 pt. The type is clean and readable on both, but the Long Primer is easier on the eyes simply because of the larger type. Regarding the size, the Long Primer is a good size to read at a desk or to hold in your lap. The Brevier is a perfect size to hold in your hands.
    Also the references are different. The Long Primer has a concordance, subject index and dictionary of proper names, a total of 246 pages of references. (Contrary to what it says on the spine and on the box, the Long Primer does not have a cyclopedic concordance) The Brevier Clarendon has a cyclopedic concordance, 324 pages, which seems to cover everything. Specifically, the cyclopedic concordance might be more complete, but there hasn’t been anything yet that I found to be lacking in the Long Primer’s reference material. They both have maps. If you need study helps I’m sure either set of references would be good for you.
    Maybe someone else has an opinion on this?
    The full yapp edge serves to protect the art gilt edges from damage. I read somewhere that originally the full yapp edge was used to protect the Bibles of Preachers who had to carry them while traveling on horseback between parishes. 🙂
    Hope this helps!

  27. I just purchased the R.L. Allen Long Primer Bible reviewed in this article. It came today via Fedex from http://www.evangelicalbible.com/. I am extremely pleased with my new Bible. The Long Primer is everything Mark says it is in his review. I suppose that my only complaint is the single ribbon marker. That can be rectified, however. As soon, that is, as I get up the courage to mod my new Bible.
    By the way, Mark, thank you for your site and for your reviews.

  28. Charles–the Long Primer setting is elegant and classic. I don’t own a Brevier Clarendon so can’t make a comparison for you, but if you’re not looking for modern typography you can’t go wrong with the Long Primer.
    I’d also suggest you look at the Cambridge “Presentation Reference” edition (used to be called the “Turquoise” edition). It’s also elegant, easy to read, and classic. For my 56-year-old eyes, the center column references are the most accessible. I do think Cambridge leather Bibles tend to be a little over-priced.
    (Historical note: I have a Nelson’s “Teacher’s Bible” that is “Long Primer 8vo”–undated, but I’d say 1940s based on the box, paper, and style. Nelson’s Long Primer is completely different from Oxford’s–a much smaller type face.)

  29. Thank you for your comments; I actually purchased the Allan Brevier Clarendon highland goatskin. I’ve been coveting Allan Bibles for about a two years and I can’t wait for this bible to come. I feel that the Brevier Clarendon will more effectively suit my scholarly needs better than the Long Primer however , the decision was a hard one. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  30. My Allan Longprimer just arrived today – after almost 4 weeks of loooooong wait. Compared to Allan Brevier Clarendon 6C (Brown Calfskin), now I know what “limp & supple” is. But one thing I noted: the SMELL (very strong)! Does all the highland goatskin smell the same?
    Also, a million thanks to Mark for keeping up this superb weblog.

  31. I was very interested in buying the Long Primer Bible. Three questions, is it similiar to the Cambridge Presentation Bible(Goat skin), is it available to the U.S. and are there some links for the U.S. ? Thanks so much. -Kevin

  32. David, you can buy the Long Primer here:
    They are based in California and offer a few other Allan’s editions as well.
    You can also order from Allan’s in Scotland, shipping is free and very quick. I have ordered from both places and it takes about the same amount of time to get to me in the eastern great lakes area.
    I can’t answer the question about the Cambridge Presentation Bible but I do like the Allan’s Highland goatskin leather a bit more than Cambridge’s goatskin. The main difference is that the leather Allan’s uses is natural, not embossed.

  33. I wasn’t expecting anything THIS good, but the Long Primer is easily the most exquisite binding I’ve seen to date — extraordinarily luxurious & sensational in every way. The workmanship is 2nd to none. It really is a “WORK OF ART” – if you buy one – you won’t regret it, whether you’re a KJV fan or not. The (true) full-yapp cover is truly amazing, perfect to handle & smells fantastic!
    NB: Now there’s a lesson in all this for publishers re: the power of a good QUALITY binding etc. This is by far the best Bible I’ve handled & I gave it to my wife as a gift (BTW gentlemen – take note & tuck this little trick up your sleeve, works a treat when your next order from Allan’s arrives & the wife is wondering how much you’ve spent [again]); the ESV (PSR) is her preferred reading Bible, however, for some strange reason she seems to have rekindled her love for the KJV lately – perhaps it’s all that attention to detail that Allan’s has put into this edition?!
    Though I hate to admit it, there is a down-side to the Long Primer – as pleased as I am with the purchase I have a feeling that any future purchases (more than likely) won’t match up to or top this in quality! Still, I’d love to see an NIV, NASB, ESV or NLT produced in this style. It’s such a joy to study the Word of God using tools that look, feel & smell this good. Thank you JMB, & thank you Allan’s.

  34. This is a great thread; I’ve learned quite a bit about the Longprimer here, as well as the Cambridge Presentation, too. Is it possible to only want two more Bibles, three more Bibles? A Longprimer #53 or #59, an Allan’s ESV 1 and an NASB of some kind. I think some members of my church are planning on buying a couple of Allan’s Bibles for Pastor Appreciation Day, but it is nothing for certain – it’s supposed to be a surprise!
    I found a small cache of Cambridge Presentation RCD287 Bibles in burgundy calfskin a couple of weeks ago, and had to buy one. One of my members ordered one, too. The larger font is helpful and appreciated, but agree with others, the print quality leaves much to be desired. It’s a red-letter edition (my preference), but the red is only found in the Gospels. Is this normal for Cambridge Bibles? IMHO, this is not the Bible for much study, but I have a couple of Dake Bibles for that purpose.
    What about study aids in the Longprimer? Are they sufficient for serious study? Would you say they are more informative than the Cambridge Presentation? Thanks.
    Pastor Ron

  35. I looked at some of the examples that were mentioned and there the flaws were, bigger than ever. I have looked at the Old Scofield KJV Bible at my local Christian store and the printing and the page quality were darn near flawless, for a 39.00 Bible. Allans will put any of their Quality bindings on another Bible text block if they can get a hold of it I have read. I think Lewis Bible Bindery sells a Scofield in Calfskin leather for 150.00 that I have heard is beautiful.

  36. Dear Pastor Ron,
    In my humble opinion having used the Dake and Cambridge and Oxford Bibles, I have come to the conclusion that Dake will have the most “extensive” study notes, albeit most of these notes are Finnis Dake’s personal opinion. So I must becareful in reading the Dake because there seems to be more study notes in this Bible that actual scriptures. My Cambridge KJV with Apocrypha Cameo edition is hands down my favorite study Bible not only because it contains the 14 Books of the Apocrypha (with median cross-references) but the Cambridge Bible Dictionary in the back of the book is beautifully dense with Scriptural material which is in and of itself a joy to read. Not to mention the Cambridge concordance is about as good as you can expect for a cameo Bible.
    Having an Allan KJV Oxford Brevier Clarendon, while I prefer the Median references of my Oxford to my Cambridge; I would go Cambridge for a more all around study experience with a Dake somewhere near by.

  37. I was told by Nicholas the other day by email that they plan on putting a second ribbon on the Longprimer Bible.Later this year he told me.
    I guess I can hold off that long.

  38. Hey Nathan — I own a full yapp Allan bible and the full yapp is meant to protect the page ends from being bent. This has actually worked well for me and I don’t keep the bible in a box, either. I just lay it flat on my desk and I carry it in my bag with an elastic around the cover Moleskine style and the full yapp protects the page edges well.

  39. The Long Primer in Goatskin (Allan 53)has to be the Allan gold standard for Bibles. Having reviewed personally the Brevier Blackface and Clarendon, the Long Primer is our favorite. As one of the persons above eluded to, the Goatskin is a must here-as in many of the Allan Bibles-the Highland Goatskin makes a difference especially when the inner liner is leather as well. The other feature that makes this Bible so remarkable is its readability. It is head and shoulders above the other AV Bibles in this category. If you are looking for the best rounded AV Bible it is the Long Primer in Goatskin.
    At evangelicalbible.com it has become the best-selling AV Bible…

  40. This is a Great Bible for a Bible Preacher (Not Many Of Those Today) but anyways this Bible has a perfect size text and full of Cf’s. Also Bound in a wonderfull Goatskin Leather which surpasses any Nelson Signature Series Bible by far so bye bye Abba Binders and HELLO R.L. Allen and brothers. Plus the Perfect KJV Text which surpasses all New Age Translations from Alexandria Eygpt (Roman Catholic) is used here in the Oxford Primer Edition so no worry of a corrupt text (in other words it uses the KJB which is from Manuscripts from Antioch where we were first called Christians not Catholics) So here is a GREAT KJB bound Bible with the PERFECT KJB Text.

  41. This Bible is Great for any King James Bible Believer who knows the difference between corruptible and Incorruptible seed “the word of God”
    It is put together very nice with a wonderful and strong binding and the text is not too big nor too small but just right and has a great Referencing system plus as any real Bible Preacher would want is the full Yapp Leather you protect the Block of text when preaching. So if you want a Antioch KJB this is the one and don’t settle for anything less then the KJB God’s perserved Words in English Psalm 12:6-7.

  42. I would like to respond to the discussion regarding text blocks for Allan Bibles. Many of Allan’s editions share the same printers as Cambridge. These printed sheets are then sent to R.L. Allan for binding.
    That is not to say that you may have received a less than perfect printing, but this is not specifically an Allan issue. Of course, there are some editions where ancient text blocks are used for “archaic effect.” I’m sure we’re not referring to that issue here.
    R.L. Allan Bibles are know to be among the best in the world because of their unique and unmatched binding. Printing will be similar to other excellent Bibles-not better-but not worse-since the same text blocks are used for many other publishers, even the $25.00 versions.

  43. Mine Fell apart with little use. The Highland leather is good but it is not a Preaching bible. I know it could have lasted if it was just a reading Bible and not a travel Bible for Preaching. The Bible that has ten times the durability is the Brown Buffilo Calfskin R L Allen Brevier Clarendon Bible. It might not have the flexability as the Highland Goatskin does right away but does after use. Now like most christians today who don’t read there Bibles but worship the Leather, you won’t have that pleasure of the Calfskin becoming very soft. So “seek ye out the Book of the LORD and read”. Oh and by the way the Type size is almost exactly the same as the Cambridge Concord, so Very Readable. well hope this helps
    In Christ,
    Brian McClurg

  44. Talking about “worshiping” leather…I couldn’t help but notice this verse the other day while reading:
    and he appointed his own priests for the high places and for the goat idols and for the calves that he had made.
    (2Ch 11:15)
    Got it? 😉

  45. Well let me give my take On the Long Primer. Its is a very nice Bible but you have you remember the larger the Bible the more weight on the stitching and that can be a problem over time. I have all the R L Allen KJV Bibles and the Best as far as size, Font and durability is the Oxford Brevier Clarendon Ref (KJV) Natural Goatskin Bible. It is a Workhorse Bible and will last much longer than the Long Primer and really the type is clearer. Hope this helps.
    In Christ,
    Evangelist Brian McClurg

  46. Does anyone here know anything about or better yet have a Bible from Hidden House Products? I am thinking about getting their KJV Ostrich covered Bible and all I see is the pictures. It looks very unique. Any info. appreciated.

  47. The last few comments about using the Bibles for preaching have me a little concerned about which Bible I would like to buy next. I am a preacher and do weddings and funerals which require the use of my Bible without any support other than my hands.
    I “want” a Long Primer but wonder if it would be good in those situations. I would appreciate any further information or comments about this.
    Maybe the Long Primer that is labeled as being semi yapp would be a firmer binding but I need one that will last with usage in the pulpit and being carried around.
    What say thee?

  48. Maybe the mid-grade goatskin would be a better option then. It has a much sturdier feeling cover but stll lays nicely in the hand. A bit glossier in finish and without that rich Highland Goatskin aroma but a nice edition anyway. I don’t have the long primer but my Bold Print NIV is in mid-grade goat and is similar in size to the Longprimer.

  49. The highland goatskin Bible might work for you as well. I have this Bible and the cover is flexible enough that you can easily grasp the open Bible by the spine with one hand and turn pages or whatever else with the other. I love this Bible. I’m not sure if you can hold the open mid-grain goatskin Bible the same way with only one hand.

  50. I am a big fan of the no. 53 longprimer. Allan’s has introduced a “53A” longprimer, which is one without the concordance but with the maps. This is a limited edition print of the longprimer and will be useful for anyone that doesn’t care for the extra bulk of a concordance, which is of limited value.

  51. Don,
    If you’re looking for a bible that will easily accomodate your needs when doing weddings and funerals and not be too cumbersome I recommend something like the Nelson Signature Series Slimline. I have the KJV in this line and it’s the primary bible I use when doing funerals and weddings. Mark did an article on this bible at http://www.bibledesignblog.com/2008/01/nelson-signatur.html.
    That said, the Longprimer is a bible I’ve been drooling over as well. If I hadn’t recently purchased Allan’s new ESV I would have one by now. Hope that helps…

  52. Thank you for the kind replies concerning the use of the Long Primer by a preacher for preaching. To be truthful I was hoping someone would say NO Do Not Get This or Yes, Get This Because it Is Perfect!
    You know how it is. A grown man who still needs some one to hold his hand as he decides if he will or will not spend his own money. Most likely I will wait till after the new year and then decide which Long Primer to try out. The worst that can happen is to have a wonderfully made Bible that I would use mostly at my desk and in the pulpit. I do have stiffer Bibles that are capable of being used for the more utilitarian times.
    Praise God that we still have the privilege of having choices in the Bible we want and ready access to places to which sell them.

  53. You know, the Allan Highland Goatskin doesn’t flop quite as much as some others that I’ve seen. Is the midgrain goatskin leather lined? If not, I would say that the Highland will last longer and be better for a preacher given that a leather lined cover is going to outlast and be more robust against stresses than a vinyl or whatever lined cover. One of the common problems with the non leather lined is the liner parting from the leather. It’s vulnerable at the corners and at the place where the liner meets the binding.

  54. I just received my Alan’s Longprimer in Highland Goatskin this morning. I am very pleased with the binding, it is very sweet indeed. I had sent Nicholas at Alan’s several emails and the reason I had waited until the new printing of the Longprimer was that they were supposed to have 2 ribbons instead of 1 ribbon like the older edition. The paper quality is not the best but I can live with it. The red on the art guilt edges bleeds over on to the page edges. I noticed that my Alan’s NIVB2 does not have that flaw at all. I did not notice in the review of the Longprimer that it doesn’t start a new book of the Bible on a new page, it just continues on, so you have Mark ending and Luke starting halfway down on the same page. The NIVB2 starts a new page for each book of the Bible. That’s what another person commented on, that this KJV is from an old printing block/typeset. Another comment on the $39.00 Bible someone had that had near perfect printing and paper, said it was from Hendrickson. I have noticed that they use a new laser style of printing, their new Bible dictionary of Bible words is a good example, darn near perfect text, very readable for such a small font size. I will probably return mine for another copy that doesn’t have the red running into the page. I will order a new NIV in Dark Brown Highland Goatskin as soon as they send Mark a copy to review as they told me they were going to do. The new upcoming printing of the ESV1 3rd printing might be good also.

  55. I received my new Longprimer yesterday. I see a little bleeding here and there, but I think it adds to the hand crafted look of the Bible. I figure this isn’t your everyday laser printed Bible, this is more of an old school hand crafted variety. I would rather have a little bleeding than have them move to some more modern methods. Also, I think more red under gold is better than less. And if they are required to use less red, doesn’t that mean that overall the red under gold will have less luster when viewing the Bible from the side. Just my thoughts. Anyhow, it’s funny how things can at first appear as defect and then later they can become part of the unique character that we learn to like.

  56. How is the flatness of the paper in thee new editions. I had a lot of trouble with the Brevier Blackface and both editions sent to me showed a lot of wrinkling and waviness to the page edges.
    My first came from EV Bible and then Nicholas send me a replacement but in all honesty neither is really acceptable to me. My Ruby lays perfectly flat on every page while both of the Breviers looked as if the outer perimeter of the page shrunk during the art guilding process and made the rest of each page rumple up.
    I’d love to have a Long Primer but and worried about page quality.
    I may just choose to have my Hendrickson 1611 rebound in an old style binding and go with that.

  57. The pages lay flat. No problem with any of the pages. No waviness. I like the paper. My mother-in-law commented that the paper is really easy to turn from page to page. I agree, that’s one really nice quality of their paper. It’s easy to turn to the book / chapter / verse that you are looking for.

  58. I just received my Longprimer today in Highland Goatskin. This one did not have any red bleeding onto the Bible page like the other Longprimer did. Thos one also came with two ribbons instead of one. They had a small run of Bibles made with the wrong ribbons they told me. Anyway, it’s here and I love it. The leather is soooo smooooth 🙂 and flimsy. Great looking Bible. I cannot wait to see what the new NIV Reference in Dark Chocolate Brown in Highland Goatskin looks like. Hope Mark gets his copy soon to review it.

  59. I have just sent the email below to Nicholas at Allan Publishing for a response. I received my Longprimer 53 Allan today and have concerns, as I note to him. If anyone has anything to add or has had similar concerns please let me know. I am pretty disappointed with my new Bible. Thanks. Teresa
    This is Teresa Renfro and I received my Longprimer 53 today and although I love it, I have concerns already.
    Your company is known on line for its binding, yet, the front portion of my Bible is a mess.
    Specifically, it is sectionally choppy right up to page 68 which begins
    Exodus. I see large stitching at that page break which shows large holes
    through the page where it is sewn. Prior to that page there is choppy
    sections that protrude out further than the rest of the entire text of the Bible. With the Bible shut you can look down the length of the pages and see these pages sticking out longer.
    I can’t believe this would be happening.
    I have less superior quality Bibles that do not do this.
    I am bothered about this visually and I am worried that these larger holes(pg.68) specifically will rip through in no time.
    The beginning of my Bible will not lay open nicely because of the sewing and gluing done. It is all clumped together.
    Does this Bible have a workmanship warranty for life?
    Is this usual? Can your company do better than this?
    Otherwise I do love the look, feel, font type and size.
    Please help me out. I’ll send photos if you need me to do so.
    —– Original Message —–

  60. It is frustrating to hear of any type of problems with such a high line of Bibles.
    One would think that such problems would be pretty well worked out by now.
    I have not yet purchased a costly high quality Bible because I read so many on this blog and a few others that have problems with both the Oxford and Cambridge Bibles having light and or inconsistent printing problems and other types of issues.
    I would expect a new company to have problems, but after oh lets say 100 years they should have most bugs sorted out. Also, I read that the Cambridge presentation in goatskin is lined with a plastic type material and is not very durable. If this is true, I hope that one of the Church printing company services, or some other enterprising startup company will take up the cause and produce quality printed AND bound KJV Bibles. Poorly bound Bible often look great in the print they use and the beautiful quality bound Bibles are poorly printed….oh bother said pooh!
    A question…..is it correct that the Long Primer omits italicizing the added words in the King James text?
    That would not suit me for a top quality Bible.

  61. As a follow up to my sbove commment and to be fair, please read the response I received from Nicholas at Allan’s below. This is what I would expect as excellent customer service. I hope the one he re-sends does not have the same issues and I will be very well pleased. At least I have the faulty one as I wait for my new one.
    This Bible is really great it is just as if the first section did not make it into the white corded ribbing part of the binding and those pages really are longer than the rest. I am happy that he is making it right and wanted you all to know.
    Dear Teresa
    I am troubled that you have had this problem with your #53 Bible and I think
    we should send you a replacement next week. Thank you for describing the
    faults so clearly as you see them.
    There is an extra line of vertical stitching called ‘overcasting’ on page 32
    which adds strength to the binding. The section ends at page 64 and this is
    where I suspect the problem lies.
    Can I suggest that you hold onto your Allan Bible until we can get a
    replacement copy to you when you can return the faulty copy in the same
    packaging. We will reund your return postage.
    Thank you for sharing your concerns and I trust that we can put it right for
    Kind regards
    Nicholas Gray

  62. After some time looking and reading I have decided to NOT get the Longprimer. Instead I purchased a Cambridge Presentation in Goatskin. For a pastor this is a better Bible in my opinion. I believe that it will be a better Book to hold, carry and put to use in Pastoral/Preaching situations. It is not as “floppy” but is still so very nice. It is as nice as the Longprimer but just a little firmer to hold and that in my case is a better feature.
    Also, the Cambridge Presentation is no longer available in the USA in Goatskin. The ones left are rising in price and are now easily found over $250. I figured that I should get one now before they are all gone. The Longprimer will be available later on if I should decide to get one then.
    I thank all of you who have helped make this decision.

  63. I received my Long Primer in highland goat skin yesterday, less than 24 hours after ordering it from Nicholas at Allan’s. (Some times living in the U.K. can be beneficial.)
    It is a beautifully bound bible. It is so tactile and exquisite that when you hold it in your hand it is practically a sinful experience!
    I did wonder whether I would like the full yap cover, but when I saw and held it my reservaions immediately disapeared.
    There is only very slight bleeding of the red ink between the pages and only by a fraction of a millimetre. In my opinion this is acceptable. The gilt finish is perfect.
    The paper is flawless and the printing consistantly dark and very readable.
    If you want a tradition translation in a truely traditional setting then look no further. This bible is not so much about flash as quality, and I feel this is most respectful to the word of God.

  64. Don
    I think you will love your purchase for years to come! I too have the KJV Presentation Bible by Cambridge and have been very pleased with it. It fits my hand perfectly and easily lends itself to my preaching and teaching style. I also like the firmer feel of the goatskin. I have a friend that I convinced to buy the Long Primer and it too is an excellent bible but I do have a definite preference for the Cambridge. Enjoy your purchase, it will serve you well. I’ve have mine now for 5+ years!

  65. FYI: I just received my Long Primer in highland goatskin, and it has 2 ribbon markers now. Very nice. The print quality is very good (no smears, and the impressions are even.

  66. Hi all! I just received a Long Primer (highland goatskin) as a gift from a member! Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a beautiful bible as all have mentioned in previous posts. As I indicated earlier, I like my Cambridge KJV Presentation Bible so the Long Primer will have to compete for preeminence, so to speak. What I really do appreciate about the Long Primer is the the presentation of the text is really crisp and well organized. I think Mark touched on that in his review. It’s really easy on the eyes.
    I think I will enjoy the Long Primer as much (maybe even more but time will tell) as my Cambridge. Happy reading all!

  67. How does the Cambridge Concord Reference in Goatskin compare to the Allan Longprimer? I have the Longprimer but must admit that I am drawn to the Concord Reference for some reason.

  68. Please go into further detail about the concordance. I have some older style King James Bibles and the concordances are very limited. I have one that actually used the Cruden’s Concordance, but the binding was bad, and the print was too small. Is this Bible’s concordance limited or extensive? Thanks.

  69. I just ordered a Longprimer Highland goatskin full yapp and a ESV 1r limited edition on saturday. I have several Cambridge KJV presentation goatskin bibles but I’ve had to return a couple due to the leather covers coming apart on the inside. I don’t know if they are glued or pressed down somehow, but they were coming apart. I should have kept the last one and glued it myself with Gorilla glue, because the one they sent back to me was real poor quality. The inside of the supposed goatskin leather appeared and felt like rubber and the ribbons were not as wide and of poor quality. I really like the bible, but the leather binding is less than desirable. When I find a decent rebinding company I’ll have it redone. I’m pretty sure I won’t be disappointed with the Allan bibles.

  70. The Longprimer concordance is something special. I have found verses easily that I didn’t otherwise find in the Allan ESV concordance or even my computer.
    For example, I wanted to find something on fornication (sexual immorality). The ESV and many topical indexes focus primarily on New Testament passages, but the Long Primer easily provided verse from the Old Testament that were very helpful. And some of these passages you would not find in a typical concordance because the passage is topically referring to fornication while it doesn’t actually mention the word fornication.
    For example the following verse doesn’t use the word fornication, but the Longprimer refers to it in it’s subject index. Furthermore, even if you looked up the word “lie” or “lies” in the typical concordance (Allan ESV, Crossway ESV), it doesn’t show up as an entry.
    ““If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her all his days.” (Deuteronomy 22:28-29, ESV)
    This is just one example of the practical use of the LongPrimer’s reference material. The entries on God and Christ are like miniature systematic theology studies. It’s quite incredible in my opinion. I could perhaps do something similar with a Wide Margin ESV, but I would guess it would take me a decade in my spare time to put together what is in the back of the LongPrimer.

  71. The “R. L. Allan’s Oxford Long Primer in Highland Goatskin” has much been in my thoughts as of late. I’m drawn to the highland goatskin full yapp and the easy to read font size.
    At this time I am the honored caretaker of two semi yapp Allan ESV Bibles. Try as I may to take care of the art gilt edges it seems impossible. A full yapp ESV Allan Bible would do nicely for me in that the art gilt would be easier to take care of. I long for a full yapp Allan Bible in the ESV translation. How about any of you?

  72. AJ,
    I’ve been very careful and so far the Art Gilt is in good shape. But I also suspect that eventually my fingers alone will rub it all off. How do you transport your Bible? How long before it wore off? What do you think caused the wear?

  73. Robert,
    I transport both my Allan ESV Bibles in their original boxes as they are very sturdy. The art gilt of both my Allan ESV Bibles (ESV1 and ESV2) has not worn off exactly. My ESV2 (5 months old) has a spot about the size of a shirt button where the gold part of the art gilt came off on the side. My ESV2 (2 months old) has a about a 1 inch scar in it’s art gilt at the bottom. I’m not exactly sure how either of these two areas were damaged but try as I may I just can’t seem to keep the gold from damage (injury).
    I know, the art gilt on every Bible is normally worn overtime from regular to hard use but I made it a point to try to keep these protected for at least a year.
    So, I’m thinking a full yapp ESV Allan Bible might help preserve the art gilt better.

  74. I’d be really surprised if Allan would take the risk with a full-yapp version of the ESV at this point. I personally like the full-yapp, but I think it’s a little much (weird, that is) for many people.
    I’m now curious if this “Reader’s Version” is one in the same with the new and improved classic reference ESV coming out around May/June that evangelical.com has mentioned. Maybe it’s an additional version. It’ll be interesting to see.

  75. I agree that a full yapp ESV would be a little risky. But I sure do think it would be nice to have the option of a Allan ESV full yapp Highland goatskin “clam shell”. Maybe R.L. Allan and Sons could call it a limited edition. Then if it sells really well, make it a regular edition.

  76. Well I finally pulled the trigger on the longprimer. I have wanted to get it for awhile now, and the introduction of the 53A – without the concordance – was the final convincing blow to my defenses. Now I am anxiously awaiting the postman!

  77. Wow, I ordered the 53A from Evangelical Bible normal shipping on Friday afternoon. Here it is Tuesday afternoon, and I already have this beautiful Allan’s bible in my hand. It is a work of art. I love the full yapp! I wish I could get every translation in this format. I’m thrilled with it.

  78. Amen to a full yapp option in every translation! It would have to be Highland goatskin to really make it worth it.

  79. As long as we’re dreaming- let’s make them all single column, paragraphed, black letter, large font, and text only along with that Highland goatskin and full yapp.

  80. Ordered mine directly from R.L. Allan in Glasgow, and got it a week later. I’m well pleased with this bible, and it has quickly taken its place as my primary KJV. Wonder if they’ll do this to the NASB. I guess I could always order the ESV from them 🙂

  81. I finally managed to scrape together enough shekels to add one of these to my collection…and may I just say, it is a work of art. I could go on and on, but I won’t. Suffice it to say, your collection isn’t complete without one of these. My nine-year-old daughter has already laid claim to it when I pass! (“…not that you’re going to die anytime soon, Dad, but…”).

  82. I’m starting to covet the Longprimer again. Actually, it’s really the full yapp that gets me…every time.

  83. Ok, that does it! I am totally sold out on R.L. Allan’s Bibles. I received my Long Primer KJV full-yapp in highland goatskin leather today. I ordered it from Evangelicalbible.com. and received it in 4 days. I also recently ordered Allan’s ESV-1 in highland goatskin. Both of these Bible are now my favorites in my entire collection of Bibles. Quite honestly, the quality binding and attention to detail that goes into Allan’s Bibles is simply unsurpassed. My Long Primer, is, as far as I’m concerned the perfect size font. I also have the Cambridge Presentation Bible–and I like it–but the Long Primer is easier to handle, and the font is just really nice and clear. The only thing I wish the Long Primer had retained is the italicized words of the KJV. KJ purists will likely not be pleased with the un-italized text of the Long Primer, but since I do my primary study out of the original languages, I don’t really need the italicized text showing where the translators added words that are not in the original.
    Now, about the full-yapp. I guess I love it for its ‘vintage’ appearance. Our family Bible, the first one I was ever exposed to, was a full-yapp Bible…and I always loved that feature. And for so many years I was disappointed in that I was unable to find a full-yapp Bible. To me, the full-yapp leather Bibles harken back to bygone days–days when the Bible was truly revered as the word of God. Thus, I suppose for nostalgic reasons, I absolutely love the full-yap. And if Allan comes out with a full-yapp ESV, I will quickly snatch it up. I have learned that in the long run one actually ‘saves’ money by buying high-quality Bibles. The mass-produced Bibles found in most Christian bookstores are just so…[what’s the word?]–Mediocre! My Long-Primer came with two-ribbons. And the art-gilt edges are just something I love. Also, this Bible is a very comfortable size. Looking at Mark’s pictures, which are great, I actually expected this Bible to be a bit on the large side. For me, this would be a fine Bible to hold in the hand to preach from, or to lay on the lap to read from. Allan’s attention to detail is without parallel. Thus, as far as I’m concerned, I will be a loyal fan of R.L. Allan. I have only bought highland goatskin from Allan, so I can’t evaluate the other leather types. But I’m now totally sold on highland goatskin. I love it’s appearance, flexibility, aroma, and the way it feels. After spending quite a few hours tonight just reading my Long-Primer, I can testify that it is kind to the eyes, and to me–the ideal, perfect-size font. Kudos to Mark for his review of this Bible (with the accompanying pictures). Nevertheless, Mark’s pictures don’t do this Bible justice. Thus, I was all the more pleasantly surprised when I opened by boxed Long-Primer. Like the Allan ESV-1, I give the Long-Primer my highest recommendation.

  84. I bought a Longprimer back in June. The printing is good but not perfect especially the first two pages of Colossians the printing is very light. One other thing the printing on pages 1232 and 1233 is smearing.

  85. Hmm… all this talk of printing imperfections, and flawless printing in cheap Bibles… Isn’t that because the cheap Bibles are laser printed, and Allans uses a more traditional ink printing method? If that’s the case, you’re probably never going to see a perfect print using the traditional method. But unless it’s just a terrible job, I like the slightly imperfect ink printing. I have some kind of little old bonded-leather Cambridge Bible with these kinds of printer’s errors, and it doesn’t bother me. (Although there are abou 6 to 8 pages in first or second Chronicles that are super light…)

  86. Michael R, I think it would be just the opposite…small-run books would be digitally printed (fused toner, like laser printers) and the large-volume jobs would be offset-printed (ink-based) to keep the cost reasonable. However, I think all the Allan Bibles are printed in large enough quantities to justify offset printing.
    I question if there are truly more flaws in small-run bibles. It might just be that the flaws are noticed more because the small-run Bibles attract a more careful reader! Or it’s possible the small jobs are done at the end of shifts, or on the older machines, or with the B-team, etc. and so truly get a few more flaws.
    But even if all things are equal, if a printing run is 500,000 copies they probably get all the bugs out before the first 1% of the copies are made, and all those may get discarded. Even if not, you only have a 1% chance of getting one with flaws. On the other hand, if the run is only 500 copies (I’m guessing that’s about the smallest offset book run) there’s not a lot of fine-tuning going on; you pretty much get what you get. Print runs for high-quality binders like Allan fall somewhere in between these extremes. (And in some cases, such as the ESV PSR, Allan even uses print blocks in common with their large-volume cousins.)
    But I’m just thinkin’ out loud. Anyone have some truly credible info?

  87. Hey anyone with a goatskin Cambridge Concord, can you let me know if the binding is leather lined inside, and also, how is the paper weight? Heavier than the Clarendon, the same as Longprimer? How about the Presentation? Does it have the same paper as the Concord… well, any comments are appreciated. Thanks. 😀 (I’m interested in the Concord, but if it has cheap lining… and super lightweight paper… I don’t know.)

  88. I have a newer Concord with goatskin cover edge-lined with a shiny synthetic lining. I also have an older Presentation goatskin with a real leather lining. While the Concord is a bit more limp I prefer the look and feel of the true leather lining of the Presentation. The Concord with a real leather lining can occasionally be found on eBay.
    Regarding paper quality: the Cambridge papers feel more smooth and seem whiter, and they seem to be of similar weight as their Allan counterparts. The ghosting is not a problem for me with any of these choices, but I would not say any of these papers were ideal for note taking.

  89. That’s odd, because I thought someone said the Presentation had a synthetic lining. Hmm. Ghosting isn’t really a big deal to me either, but I’d prefer the paper to be a bit more substantial simply so I can get a hold of individual pages more easily. It’s a little hard turning one page at a time with the Clarendon I just recieved.
    I noticed the Concord is graded as all A’s, (on evangelicalbible.com) while the Presentation doesn’t appear to be mentioned at all… (So I can’t tell how the paper compares… but the pictures do look nice. Oh, and the Clarendon is graded as B for paper, so I assume the Concord is little better…
    Thanks for the input Kathy, you’ve helped me come one step closer to finishing my quest for the one Bible I intend to spend the next many years with.

  90. Michael, the new Presentation Bibles do have synthetic linings. Cambridge used to use full leather linings on both the Presentation and Concord goatskin Bibles, but has replaced those with synthetic linings in their current production. That is why I suggested you look for older editions on eBay etc if you want full leather linings. I personally wish Cambridge would bring back the full leather lining; it is so much nicer.
    Similar paper is used in both the Presentation and the Concord; the Presentation has larger type, so when evbible.com updates their ratings to include the Presentation I’m sure it will have all A’s too. I would say the Cambridge paper feels a bit nicer; I’m not sure about the weight. Also, the Concord type is a bit larger and more bold than the Clarendon.

  91. Thanks again! Oh man, I’m just going to have to order them all, choose one, and return the rest! 🙂

  92. Is the new edition of Allan’s Oxford Longprimer in KJV available yet (53 & 53BR)?

  93. Afraid not, Wayne. In fact, last week I noticed that the website, which used to predict availability in mid January, had changed to mid/late January. Sigh.

    The website seems to be saying that there will be four differences from earlier printings:

    • There will be the three ribbon markers that have been so popular on ESV editions.
    • The page format will be larger, though it isn’t clear whether this means larger type or larger margins.
    • There will be 32 pages of lined writing paper at the back.
    • This will be the first Allan Bible to carry the Royal Licence.
  94. The larger margins would be nice. John, Are you speaking of bibles-direct web site for predicting availability?

  95. Sorry that I didn’t make that clear, Wayne. I live in Southampton on the South Coast of England, so I use Allan’s website in Glasgow at
    When this website changed to say that the ESV Reader’s Edition was available, my pre-ordered copy went into the mail on the same day. It is, of course, quite possible that the stock of copies for the US distributor
    was dispatched a day or two earlier.

  96. I purchased a Brevier Boldface and find the paper far too thin. I imagine the paper is just as thin for the Long Primer and that’s why I cancelled my order for it. The cost is not worth the purchase. I will not buy online again. My lesson learned the hard way. Best to actually check out a Bible in person before buying. We regular online shoppers do not have the priviledge of examining a copy before purchasing.
    The best KJV Bible I purchased was a Cameo calfskin large print 10 pt font by Cambridge that is no longer in print. The paper is not thin like the Brevier Boldface and the Long Primer.
    I still use the Cameo Bible and it is 12 years old.

  97. Chris, I’m coming to the same conclusion. I’m willing to give up some of the phenomenal bargains that can be found on the ‘net in exchange for actually handling/interacting with the product before buying.
    But where does one go? The typical mall “christian book store” have such small selections, particularly in the better bindings. The current targeted marketing philosophy of Bible publishers (Bibles marketed to horse-loving little girls come to mind) seems to be based on internet sales and to preclude any one store’s ability to carry everything.
    Can anyone recommend local “brick and mortar” locations that really have an extensive, serious selection? I think enough of us travel enough today that even Los Angeles or New York destinations are not out of the question for a once-a-decade Bible purchase.

  98. I am waiting, with as much patience I can manage, for one of the new batch of Longprimer KJVs. So, of course, I check the bibles-direct website every working day. To-day, I was delighted to see that Allan will begin shipping this edition next week (week beginning Monday 8 February).

  99. Whoopee!
    My new Longprimer arrived in the mail from Glasgow to-day. And it’s all I hoped it would be. The Highland Goatskin is, if anything, even softer than my Readers Edition ESV.
    The larger page format mentioned on bibles-direct.co.uk seems to have gone into a larger type size: the margins are narrow. It is a slightly smaller Bible than the Readers Edition and (therefore?) the three ribbon markers are slightly narrower — 5/16″ rather than 3/8″.
    Those of you who do not follow bibles-direct.co.uk obsessively — and who want to save a few quid on a Longprimer — may be interested to know that a few copies of the previous printing (number 52) are available at £60 each.

  100. Doesn’t it bother you that words inserted by the translators are not italicized? It would me.

  101. It doesn’t bother me, Paul, though I can understand that others prefer to have the italics. I accept that any translation has to involve some interpretation; even choosing the English words for an Interlinear involves a small amount. And the KJV does very little: it’s not only beautiful English, it is also a straightforward and unaffected translation of the text. So I trust the italicized words to be necessary.
    My previous “best” KJV — an Oxford-bound Brevier Clarendon from the 1960s — has the italics, but I’ve never really noticed myself paying attention to them. So I expect to gain more from the extra two points in type size than I shall lose from the minor imprecision.

  102. John: Is there any room in the margins for notes or is it just impossible? I am wanting to put notes, chain references, etc in it.
    Did you get the black or brown?

  103. The margins are very narrow, Wayne.
    The margins at the top and the outside edge are 9/32″.
    The inside edge is slightly wider, so that the text doesn’t disappear into the binding, but is no more usable for note-taking.
    The margin at the bottom is 1/2″.
    Since I have a brown ESV, I bought a black KJV.

  104. I just bought the semi-yapp French Morocco Long Primer for my Dad. It’s absolutely beautiful and perfectly readable. You may want to be aware that the French Morocco version does not have art gilt edges, they are straight gold, and though the text is perfect, you may have to squint to see the center references which are quite tiny.

  105. Self pronouncing is just way too irritating. It really ruins the text. Somebody thought this was a good idea, but it isn’t. It just creates a pause and actually makes it harder to read through the names.

  106. I agree with what you’re saying Button, but it should be noted the Longprimer is only MILDLY self-pronouncing. Check out the original size pictures in Mark’s review of the Brevier Blackface and you can see just how extreme self-pronouncing text can become, even breaking up words like Zion, Jacob, or David. Then again, the BB uses italics for the implied words, a feature that seems more reasonable. Along with red-letter text and even the center-column references themselves, it goes to show there really is no such thing as a generic KJV.

  107. I am thankful for bible that have self-pronouncing text. They confirm that I have been pronouncing my name correctly.

  108. Enjoy reading the reviews at this site. I have purchased a Cambridge Presentation and a R L Allan Long Primer. they are both good Bibles as far as quality, appearance, materials and the like.
    But sadly I must say I like the Thomas Nelson Style 2005 better. It has MORE translation notes than both the Cambridge and the Allan as well as better/more cross references. I like cross references more than the chain so the Nelson and the Cambridge won out with me. Then the translation notes on the Nelson jsut blew the Cambridge away. Try looking up Psalms 7:16 and you will see a translation note for the word “pate” that neither Allan or Cambridge had. Without it I would have never known that pate meant the crown of the head! But if yo go by beauty then the RL Allan is the best of the all.
    I guess the Bible that helps you to understand God’s Word the best is really the best and that would have to be the Thomas Nelson Style 2006.
    God bless you for all the good work you do and I have truly enjoyed readiNg your site – Have learned a lot!

  109. I have been generally impressed with the cross-referencing in Allen’s ESVs as well as Allen’s Long Primer KJV and the Cambridge Presentation bible. I imagine any “printed” bible referencing scheme can be improved upon but that will lead to more bulk ultimately. When I want a very thorough treatment I generally rely on my bible software. But as you say, to each his/her own…. God bless!

  110. I purchased an Allen Longprimer 53 and can say it is the finest in terms of clear print and a wonderful cover. It is truly high end quality. That being said, I have to express my displeasure about words added by the translators not being italicized. To one, such as I am, that honors the KJV above others, this is important. Also, it should be noted that the numbered helps in the center column, such as “the best manuscripts say” show bias and an attempt to influence support for that which is straight out of the Westcott/Hort, Revised New Testament of 1881, which was based on a different Greek textual source than the KJV.This does not sit well with those of us who revere our KJV’s. This to me is a sly corruption which attempts to demean the KJV, and should have been pointed out by the reviewer as an ethical matter.

    • I was going to make some comments about my impression that Allan is trying to put the KJV into question by its comments about better manuscripts, but my friend Lee above seems to have nailed what I was going to say better than I would have.

      I am not going to pay $200 plus for a Bible to have it tell me that I am reading an inferior translation.

      I have LCBP Bibles and Cambridge Presentation Reference Bibles that serve me just fine. And I spend a lot of time in them. If I want a chain reference I will use the Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge, Nave’s Topical Bible, and RA Torrey’s New Topical Reference along with the Greek and Hebrew references available with the KJV with Strong’s numbers. All these are available free with e-Sword on my PC or with MySword on my phone. I read Bibles but do research on my PC or phone.

      I trust these older sources. I find most Bible cross references to be very lacking. Like Cambridge’s and I would imagine Allan’s. The TSK is superior to Thompson’s chain reference. Especially if you use it in conjunction with Nave’s and Torrey’s.

      A lot of pastors like to have shiny nearly unused Bibles on display on their pulpits as they preach. Myself I would be more impressed with a well used Bible where all the gold glitter on the page edges was worn off with use and with little cross reference information as the Holy Spirit is their cross reference assistant.


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