Shades of Red: Color Comparison

My photos of the “crimson” Reader’s Reference ESV led to some questions about how the color compares to the red Alhambra goatskin cover available with the Allan’s Personal Size Reference ESV. So I’ve snapped a few pictures to illustrate the red/burgundy spectrum. First, here’s a stack of the reds ready to hand as I write this:


The crimson Reader’s Reference is at the bottom, the Alhambra PSR is near the middle, and we have a couple of vintage reds (mostly Cambridge) to round out the picture. Color is a little off here because of the artificial lighting, so I snapped a couple of natural light shots which we’ll see in a sec. The point here is to illustrate that the crimson shade is somewhere between burgundy and red, maybe trending more toward the burgundy. In some light, you get red, in others a purplish red.

Below, a smaller selection to make the difference clearer. The crimson is on bottom again, with the Alhambra just above. The Alhambra reads red, just like the editions above it — Cambridge’s NIV Pocket Reference and REB paragraphed New Testament (my Grail text setting bound in my Grail color, but sadly no longer in print).


Now let’s shine some natural light on the situation. The crimson is highland goatskin, which means a slightly more matte finish than the Alhambra, but limper and more flexible.


The Alhambra jumps out at you. The crimson is subtle. If you like the idea of a red cover but preferred a subdued shade to a bright one, the crimson fits the bill. And it’s close enough to burgundy to satisfy someone actually in search of that shade.


Naturally, I’ll have more photos when I post my full-length piece. But if you’re wondering about color, this should help you out in the meantime.

10 Comments on “Shades of Red: Color Comparison

  1. That is a nice collection! My only red bible is the Allan PSR. That is probably the perfect red in my opinion. That being said, I like brown/tan bibles the best, so the Allan PSR will probably be my only red one unless I can snag a red cameo. Oh who am I kidding, I’ll probably get an Allan Crimson of some sort.

  2. You are the man Mark! I’d say the Alhambra Red is my ideal red, although I have not seen the crimson in person. Shades of burgundy just ain’t my thing šŸ™‚

  3. Great and most helpful photos, Mark! I received one of the first crimson Readers shipped abroad and I must say it is just a beautiful shade of red. Of course, the amount and type of light you’re in affects the look and that is what is also cool about it! Can’t wait for your “full-length piece”! [I am wondering if you think the paper is a bit better than the orignal Readers as I do.]

  4. I purchased the Allan Crimson ESV Reader’s edition and was immediately taken by its beauty in color. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. The cover itself is a thick but flexible piece of goatskin leather that is a pleasure to hold. I wish that I could have as glowing comments about the text block used. Allan’s ESV text blocks are average quality in my opinion: the “bleed through” of the print from one side to the other of the page is quite bothersome. I sent my copy back. I wished that I could have kept the cover, jettisoned the text block, and used the cover on another bible with a high quality text block. I think that Allan produces the best covers but the quality ends there (at least with the ESV). I have heard that the text blocks for the Allan KJV bibles are exquisite but I haven’t seem them myself.

  5. Michael, I hope Todd over in the newest thread on custom bindings/print-on-demand, sees your comment. A small-run publisher like himself, who values the Bible as well as the craft of producing it, would be a natural matchup with Allan for what I suspect are Allan’s production runs of only a few thousand. Allan may not have the sewing machines themselves, but they probably have access to them apart from the printing itself. And like you say, they certainly know how to “case in” a beautiful cover.

  6. Does anyone know of a company that will do rebinding in Alhambra Red? Most reds I’ve seen are either have to much orange or too dark which looks like burgundy =(

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *