Ahld’s Zeuch*

Ach what water does to books … here you see the front of a nicely bound book printed 1719, half-leather (halbleder) with a nice marmorated paper, that sadly is coming off from the Buchdeckel – I am sorry, I am not firm with the English termini. But you can easily recognize, what I mean. The pictures should be enlargable and scrollable if you like to click them.

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It’s a small exemplar, sorry the meter is not correctly adjusted, it’s just the first snaps to have something in hands, so that the books themselves can lay undisturbed.

Here we have a representative full leather tome from 1532, showing the heavily decorated front:

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You can see how wellig the leather became. And yes, you may have a glimpse at my wonderful legs.

Here we have two pics of a volume from 1539, a very representative piece with goldgeprägten Ornamenten; it also has a vergoldeten Schnitt mit zusätzlichen Schmuckpunzierungen, I could not photograph this. I keep this one separated from the others, because it’s the only one that shows traces of mould (Schimmel), but I think it’s nothing to worry about in the actual situation, giving from where they come from. The lovelies need some air now, and darkness. I would be thankful for a cooler place to store them, but it is not possible; the actual alternatives would even be worse. There is a small chance that we can use another house sometime in autumn that would give better accommodation, but it’s just an idea now. (On the other hand – they can be pretty fast-acting here if they want.)

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And here comes the maltreated spine of this once gorgeous tome:

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The leather is actually thus brüchig (fragile) that I avoid any unnecessary touch. I do not believe that it is possible to keep all of the original material, and I feel no need to harm it any more. The actual situation of storing is acceptable, for some time, we’ll see.
I have to check out now how many of these titles are here in Bavaria / Germany available – is something rare, is it just another thing you find in any library of the frühe Neuzeit? – you get the idea.

This awful water damage must have happened roughly forty years ago. No one in the actual administration or working elsewhere on the grange has seen it, it is all hear-say. Only the oldest janitor remembers that he helped to transport the books to their current location – years ago, he is close to retirement.
The books shown above came to me this Monday, because the young successor of a long time Abteilungsleiter (I just translate it with “head of a departement”, it fits here) has to move his office space; the old head retired some months ago, I may not have seen him. I think I should visit the man and have a nice conversation with him about what happened forty years ago. He recovered seemingly anything that was there and fell into his special field. I know that there must have been other things I miss … I guess there are some dogs sleeping.

* That’s Franconian for “Altes Zeug”, old stuff.

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6 thoughts on “Ahld’s Zeuch*

  1. Incredible detail on the second cover.

    The books were such treasured things. I do hope there is funding to properly store and preserve them for the future.

  2. The embossing of the leather with the little metal clasps smacks of it possibly belonging originally to someone with money. Does it have similar clasps on the back cover Mr Mags? I thought the clasps may have originally had ribbon or small leather straps attached so as to keep it closed when storing or travelling…
    Fascinating finds. It is a sad shame what the ravages of time and the elements will do to such wonderful relics

  3. It’s not the end, dear Roses.

    The clasps may have been made from metall too, sadly they are missing, dear Princess. The person who let this volume produce definitely spent some money on it. I hope closer inspection will lead to some ideas about the pre-owners (Does this word exist? It’s just a translation of the German “Vor-besitzer”), there are entries, but I had no time to look at it cloesely. Needs a bit time to decipher.

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