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Presented for sale by Phil Barber, Cambridge, Mass. 02139 Telephone (617) 492-4653

What are "Leaves"?

"Leaves" are pages from the earliest books. To obtain these fine leaves, signatures or individual pages were rescued from books that were incomplete, or otherwise defective, in accordance with the generally accepted principles of the antiquarian book trade, which state " if a book is already incomplete, it is considered acceptable to remove and sell parts of the book." Edwin V. Glaser, quoted in A B Bookman's Weekly. No complete books were vandalized to obtain these leaves.

All leaves in my catalog are supplied with complete written identifications, certifying authenticity and specifying complete bibliographical data (author, title, date and place of printing and printer) plus other relevant descriptive and historical information and attribution where applicable to the standard reference works on early books.

About Collecting Leaves

I first encountered early leaves for sale at the old Pageant Book and Print Shop in New York, in the 1970's, and was immediately entranced by their great age and beauty, and generally remarkable state of preservation. I acquired a number of lovely specimens then that still grace my office walls. In researching my new treasures I found that the collecting of leaves is a long standing tradition, which originated among Euopean bibliophiles of the seventeenth century. Even then Incunabula and other early books were vanishing and highly prized. Today, the old leaves are wonderful and affordable specimens of the work of the first printers in the western world, and of their predecessors who wrote their books entirely by hand. In addition, the illustrations found on many of the leaves listed here are superb works of art in miniature, and are highly prized by modern connoisseurs. Early leaves are ideal for framed display, and will add their unique charm to the ambiance of your home or office.

Our Glossary of terms web page is on line and may be reviewed for definitions of the descriptive terminology used in our catalogs and in the rare book trade generally. Further info pages on the collecting and care of early leaves are accessible through links in the catalog. You can go to our e-mail want list form for special requests.

The Catalogs

My catalog of early leaves is divided into three sections, which you can access by clicking on the links here or the banners below. They are

  • Illuminated Manuscripts and Incunabula. Before printing and paper making were invented, books were written , or "illuminated" by hand, on sheepskin pages. They are now universally admired as works of art and are extremely collectible. "Incunabula" refers to books printed in the 15th century. They too are a highly coveted category of collectible, all dating between the Gutenberg Bible of 1455 and the close of the century in 1500.

  • The 16th Century. I offer a wide variety of collectible imprints from the first century of printing (and a few notable later items as well). They include works from all across Europe, Bibles in a variety of languages, early English imprints, and much more.

  • The Bible in English. I am privileged to be able to offer an excellent selection of leaves from the earliest translations of Scripture into our language, including the most significant of the "great folio" editions, from 1541 to the magnificent King James folio.

    Highlights from significant recent purchases appear throughout the catalogs. We have had good fortune in acquiring a variety of quality material, with emphasis on early English language Bibles. Enjoy your browsing!

    Ordering Info

    My catalogs employ a fast Javascript "shopping cart" system to tally up and send your order. Non-javascript users can email an order or use the printable order forms provided with each catalog. Orders may also be placed by telephone during regular business hours. I accept payment by check, money order, or credit card through PayPal, Xcom's free Internet payment service.

    As are all items I sell, these leaves are unconditionally guaranteed to be genuine and correctly described and attributed. A seven day money back guarantee of your complete satisfaction applies to all orders from this and all our other catalogs.

    Thank You!

    Your comments are always welcome, as are your inquiries, if you have questions about these remarkable historic collectibles. We value our customers, and appreciate the confidence you place in us when ordering from our on line catalogs. We strive to merit your patronage and to enrich your collecting experience through accurate, knowledgeable descriptions, honest pricing, courteous service, and timely order filling.

    Glossary of Terms Page | Collector Information Page | Want List Page | Home Page

  • To browse my catalogs of genuine early printed leaves, please click on the topics listed below.

    Click here to go to my catalog of Illuminated Manuscripts and Incunabula Leaves

    Click here to go to my catalog of Sixteenth Century Printed Leaves

    Click here to go to my catalog of leaves from the earliest English language Bibles

    Some References Cited in the Catalogs

    D&M. Darlow & Moule, Historical Catalogue of Printed Editions of the Bible. London, 1903
    Goff, Incunabula in American Libraries, N.Y., 1972
    Hain-Coppinger, Repertorium Bibliographicum, London, 1895 - 1902
    Herbert, Historical Catalogue of Printed Editions of the English Bible, 1525 - 1961. London, ABS, 1968.
    STC. Pollard & Redgrave, A short-title catalogue of books printed in England, Scotland and Wales...1475 - 1640. London, 1926.

    Suggested Bibliography for Reading about Early Books

    Berry, The Annals of Printing, Blandford, 1966
    Carter, et al., Printing and the Mind of Man, London, 1967
    Chappell, A Short History of the Printed Word, Knopf, 1970
    McMurtie, The Book, Covici Friede, 1938
    Oswald, A History of Printing, Appleton, 1928
    Pollard, Early Illustrated Books, London, 1898
    Thomas, Great Books and Book Collectors, Excalibur, 1983

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