1903-1905 The Doves Press Bible
Appraised Value: $10,000 - $15,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraiser Ken Gloss would like to add that Thomas James Cobden-Sanderson founded the Doves Press with Emery Walker around 1900. Further research shows that Walker was in charge of the technical side of the press, while Cobden-Sanderson had creative control over what was published and final designs. The two were involved in a bitter dispute over ownership of the press' distinctive type font. In 1916, Codben-Sanderson is said to have taken the dramatic step of throwing bits of the type into the River Thames. The Emery Walker Library in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England claims to have the only remaining example of the Doves Press type in its collection — a block used to print a Christmas card in 1900.
Appraisal Video: (2:51)
Books & Manuscripts
Brattle Book Shop
GUEST: I've been antiquing for maybe 30 years, and I have a good friend who is an antique dealer in Southern Michigan. He was closing his shop. I was down there, and we put together a package of stuff. The price for the whole pile was $600. I got some pottery and I got this oil painting, and I attribute of that $600, maybe $300 was what I paid for the books.
APPRAISER: Normally on the Roadshow if you ask me in the book department, "What's one thing not to bring?", it's the Bible. But here we have a Bible, around the turn of the century, and I'm talking the 1800s to 1900s. There was a big movement in England towards the Arts and Crafts, simplifying design, simplifying things. William Morris was probably one of the best known, and he had a press called the Kelmscott Press. But there were other people, and a man named Cobden Sanderson formed what he called the Doves Press. The masterpiece of the Doves Press is his Bible. It's bound in a vellum. It's a gorgeous condition, absolutely beautiful. This is volume one. This book took two years to produce, so when they first put out subscriptions, they had 500 copies only. The subscription sold out almost immediately, so this book was out of print before it was finished.
APPRAISER: The date on this is 1903, on the first one. And what it is, is sort of the simplicity of the printing. Cobden Sanderson made his own type that he used just for this press. This is all handmade paper.
APPRAISER: And one of the things that I'll point out is that when you have the boxes, and it slips in, in this manner, it holds it very tightly. Vellum tends to dry out very easily. So if you were to leave this under the hot lights in your house, this would start to come up. So the fact that they're actually in a box like this is very helpful. The fact that the condition is almost perfect is fabulous. This press ran from 1903, and then in about 1916, '17, the press ended. And Cobden Sanderson didn't want anything reprinted, redone, so the story is that he went to the River Thames and took all the type, which he had designed specifically for this book, and threw them in the river.
APPRAISER: So nobody could ever do a copy of it, or ever do another one.
APPRAISER: This is a $10,000 to $15,000 Bible.
APPRAISER: Retail price.
GUEST: I guess I'll have to tell my friend.
APPRAISER: If there was a defect, if there was something wrong with it, you could slash the price by 90%.
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