Having spent a lot of my childhood in bookshops, auction rooms, markets or moving books around for my parents, the smell and the feel of books became a very special part of me and, as I would later discover, a passion waiting to be unleashed. From all the books I can say that my eyes are always pulled to Fine Bindings. Handling the tactile leather boards with the patina of a fine antique table top, the beautiful gilt decoration or fine tool work that often comes with such bindings sometimes makes it alright to judge a book by its cover. Discovering a leather bound book and opening it to see the name of a binder, shining in gilt letters stamped on to the inner boards or discretely forced in to the corner of a page edge, always gives me a sense of pleasure...
I don't know if I can speak for all booksellers but in my family books become part of your everyday life and, if you are not careful, will literally occupy every room of your home. I have the same 'problem' here but when I consider the fine bindings that I'm looking at at the moment they are a reminder of how fortunate we are to deal with and handle such beautiful work, with a passion that makes it all the harder to part with when the time comes.
A fine binding is usually an elaborately designed book, for example, a book that is bound in fine leather with raised bands, perhaps silk bands to the head and tail with gilt tooling, gilt lettering and gilt page edges. Generally, bookbinding has been done with one of three materials, vellum, calf and morocco and they are known for their beauty and durability and appeared in Europe in the 16th century and in England later in the 17th century.
To name a few of my favorite binders: