jwol jwol at fast.net
Sat Jul 27 13:35:56 EDT 2013

Thanks, I appreciate the comments.

The book in question is G-24, Complete Works and Letters of Charles Lamb.

I recollect we sold some Buckrams to one another a few years ago.  I somehow
managed to find about a half dozen Buckram giants over the last year,
bringing my total to a modest 30.  On the regulars, my total has grown to

I believe you mentioned you also collect the Vintage buckrams.  Do you
collect Everyman's Library library bindings?  I found a jacketed copy about
a week ago.   Very uncommon.  I may have only seen two on eBay over the last
10 years.



From: modlib-bounces at thuban.owu.edu [mailto:modlib-bounces at thuban.owu.edu]
On Behalf Of Brian LeMasters
Sent: Saturday, July 27, 2013 11:48 AM
To: For collectors of Modern Library books


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

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.


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