31 October, 2009
To the Best of Our Knowledge
6 October, 2007
Books as Furniture
Years ago, I walked into a used book store in Chicago, and beheld an astronomically unlikely thing: a run of pristine leather books, each stamped "CASLON" in gold letters, each in a typeface of a different vintage. These were type specimen books from the Caslon foundry, and to see them in such quantity was a singular experience. Type specimens are usually accumulated individually, painstakingly, and expensively, from antiquarian specialists or the occasional flea market. Only rarely do they surface in sets, and when they do it's usually at a private auction, not on the shelf behind the counter at a bookshop that also sells gum.
Noticing the tag marked "sold," I asked what by then had become a reflexive question: "Are these going to Tobias Frere-Jones?" The shopkeeper replied that they were not: they'd been sold to one of the store's regulars, a philistine decorator who's always on the lookout for clean leather bindings...Continues...