Brian LeMasters brianlemasters at gmail.com
Sat Jul 27 11:48:09 EDT 2013

Sorry for your frustration.  Good thing it was a Gibraltar Binding!
Which buckram giant..?  I am itching to know.
My guess is this...
1.  When books are stored in the attic or basement or barn for a long 
period of time, dust will accumulate.  This dust will absorb moisture 
out of the air.  You can see where this is growing.. I mean going.  When 
some book sleuth comes by years later and cleans the book, some of the 
fabric surface or "sheen" may be removed in the dusting process.  So, 
the book may not be moldy on the inside, but it may appear mottled 
slightly in just the right lighting situation on the exterior of the 
boards.  All buckrams have a peculiar paper/glue/fabric odor, but not a 
musty mold odor.  If that helps at all.  I have started storing mine in 
a specially made cedar bookcase to try to drive out that smell.  It has 
been a year and a half with no discernible change.
2.  moisture caused the fabric dye to fade in that splattering effect 
you sometimes see.
3.  I have curious rubbings on the spines of some buckrams where the 
call letters had previously been.  And you can color over this with a 
fabric marker if you are careful.  Buckrams are very forgiving.

I have buckrams with every handling wear you can imagine...well maybe 
not...and I have seen several like this.  I have seen little fuzzies 
growing on buckrams, too, so I would be cautious.  I recall that 20's 
buckram Moby Dick that I had to send back because of excessive and 
actively growing mold.  Broke my heart...

I was vacationing in Maine a few years back and searching for the 
long-lost book.  I entered a shed built off the side of a barn that 
looked 200 years old.  The volumes lined up and stacked on the shelf had 
so much dust and dirt on them that there were actually little weeds 
growing on them.  Sad, there were some decent old books on those 
shelves.  I left empty-handed.


On 7/27/2013 9:00 AM, jwol wrote:
> The first clue my latest online purchase is a problem is when I 
> happened to check the tracking number online at 7:00 PM and noted it 
> was delivered at 5:15 PM that day; however, the book was not on my 
> front porch.  I returned from the gym at 4:30 PM, collected my mail 
> from my mailbox but noted no book.   I emailed the USPS, provided 
> relevant details and asked, "what next?"
> Two days later I received an email explaining it could be picked up at 
> the post office or scheduled for redelivery.  I preferred the 
> inconvenience of driving the seven miles to the post office than 
> risking having another deliver failure.
> When presented with the package, I noted three tears in the manila 
> envelope it was mailed in.  Opening it, I found my newly acquired 3 lb 
> 10 oz Buckram Giant with 1,124 pages was wrapped in a Saran Wrap type 
> product with no bubble wrap or padded envelope to carry it across the 
> country.  A manila envelope!  No wonder it was torn in three places 
> and a miracle there was no damage to the book.
> Looking at the book, I would grade it as very good apart from the 
> following:  the front and rear cover have some sort of mottling, not 
> prominent but discernible spots.  An associate and serious collector 
> described them as white and suggested the book was probably stored in 
> a basement.  There is a slight hint of mustiness to the pages, but not 
> overbearing.  I checked other sales by this seller and discovered 
> mostly non books, sewing machine parts, video games, etc.  So they are 
> not a book dealer.
> So, what is it?  Is it contagious?  Can it be treated?
> Thanks for any help.
> John
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