Tag Archives: medieval manuscripts

Breaking Books

A rare book can lose a significant amount of value if it’s missing even a single page of text. If what’s lacking is a title page, illustration, or map, the price will drop like an anvil in a cartoon. The same goes for a set of books that happens to be missing one or two volumes. And yet every day in the Skinner Fine Books & Manuscripts department we see plates, maps, title pages, and text leaves removed from valuable books.

Meet the Experts: Devon Gray, Director of Fine Books & Manuscripts, Part I

When I was in college, my husband and I loved going to second-hand bookstores in Harvard Square. One day, we found a book from the 1600s. It was a Latin/Greek lexicon printed in Amsterdam, and it cost $175. With most antiques, if something is from 1850, it’s considered really old. If we had found a painting from the 1600s, it seemed to me that it would be worth a lot more than that! So we bought the book.