Monday, January 16, 2023

German Kaiser Gifts W. Collin Bindings

Ten days ago, I got the kind of email that made may day in a wonderful way. A colleague shared some images of a very large multi-volume set that had come into the conservation lab for some work before being returned to its rightful place in the collections. The set had come to attention because it had decorated a retiring library Dean's office... What made the set special to me was that the set had been bound by W. Collin, Court bookbinders in Berlin, and came with some important provenance.

Œuvres de Frédéric le Grand, Frederick II, King of Prussia, 1712-1786 
Berlin, Imprimerie royale, 1846-57.
31 volume(s). in 33. 3 front. (incl. 2 portrait) 2 facsimile 36 cm. and atlas. 53 cm.

Following the link to HathiTrust in the record above, I was able to see that the set is represented by holdings in several libraries, but none bound like this!

That's A LOT of big books...

Overall view with the monogram of Prussian King Frederick the Great.

Sadly, the call number and other labels are a common problem in libraries.
In many cases, the books were long part of the circulating collections
before being move to special collections. An example of that is Syracuse
University's von Ranke collection that also features many W. Collin bindings.

Gilt edges on three sides, leather inner joints, and marbled endpapers.
All pretty standard for the day.

Well, that's some provenance, Gift of Kaiser Wilhelm II!

W. Collin Court Bookbinders, Berlin
A new-to-me location for the stamp. If not stamped on the binding,
they were usually at the bottom left of the flyleaf verso.

Detail view of stamp.
I've added it to my page with all stamps and tickets I've found.

A special thanks to J. Michael Keeling, Preservation & Conservation Specialist in Conservation & Preservation at the Sheridan Libraries and Museums at Johns Hopkins University. Michael handled the books and found more information about W. Collin... on this blog. He also took and shared these wonderful images. Thank you.

Conservation & Preservation at JHU is also where I was first exposed to this wonderful profession as a work-study student in the same department.