Zondervan / Eyre & Spottiswoode KJV in Black Ostraleg Calfskin
Here’s an interesting find: a vintage KJV published by Eyre & Spottiswoode for Zondervan, bound in limp black ostraleg calfskin. According to the box, it’s part of the Imperial Line, with a lifetime guarantee.
Again, according to the box, the contents include (a) King James Version, (b) Center Column Reference, (c) Easy to Read Clearblack Bold Type, (d) Self Pronouncing, (e) 160 page Concordance, (f) 64 pages of Helps, (g) 8 pages of 4 Color Maps, (h) Presentation Page and Family Record, and (i) Words of Christ Printed in Red.
The style? Black Ostraleg Calfskin (I’m not sure what “ostraleg” signifies, so any help would be appreciated), Limp Binding, Simulated Leather Lined (though it’s stamped “leather lined” on the cover — see below), Gold Chain Roll (this is the chain design in gilt along the inside edge of the cover — again, see below), Gold Edges, and Zonderlite Super India Paper (TM).
The elegantly grained calfskin has a nice sheen, even after all these years. The imprinting on the spine is an interesting copper-gold color. It has a single ribbon.
Inside, the cover is stamped “real calfskin” and “leather lined,” in spite of the fact the box says the lining is simulated leather. There are thin tissues inside each cover, and the Bible shows no other signs of use. It is new-in-box. Pristine. Though there is a flaw, as you’ll soon see.
Below, the interior spread. If you look at the lower left-hand side of the cover, you can spot the little flaw: the edge of the cover has come unglued a bit. An easy thing to fix, I imagine, but I’ll probably leave it as is for now. I suggest you click on the photo, which will take you to Flickr, where you can see an enlarged version. This gives a good impression of how much “bleedthrough” the Zonderlite Super India Paper displays. You’ll notice some ghosting from the reverse of the page, though not nearly as much as we typically see in contemporary editions.
Inside, it’s a typical double-column, verse-per-line setting of the KJV.
The obligatory “yoga” shot. Is the binding limp? Absolutely. It doesn’t flop around the way the thin, matte calfskin covers today do, but it has a pleasantly “structured” flexibility in keeping with the rest of its fine appointments. It’s amazing to think how many decades this thing sat on a shelf, unused — even more amazing to realize what interesting editions used to be out there, but are no more.