Joan of Arc



Jehanne: Portraits of a Saint


Rare Books

Book Term Information


Anatomy of a Book



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Condition Guide

Often you will see a letter abbreviation such as "VG" in a description. This details the condition of the book itself. When you see an abbreviation such as "F/VG" it describes the condition of the book and then the condition of the dust jacket (dj). In this case, a Fine book with a Very Good dustjacket. The condition of a book is intended to be absolute, regardless of its age. In other words, a book's condition is not said to be "Very Good" considering it is 200 years old. Ultimately, the description is determined by the opinion of the holder. Here are the guidelines used to help standardize the condition rating of a book:

Very Fine (VF) - As new with no defects, crisp, tight binding, absolutely no flaws under close examination.

Fine (F) -  No defects, little usage, and markings are minimal or none. A minor flaw may be present.

Near Fine (NF) - No defects, some usage, and markings are minimal. Few minor flaws may be present.

Very Good (VG) -  It shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive, but not unusually so. May not lie flat when open.

Good (G) - The average used book with all pages present. Books with loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine, torn dust jackets, can fall into this category.

Fair (FR) - Obviously well-worn and handled but no text pages are missing, however, it may be without endpapers or a title page. There might be markings, but they do not interfere with readability.

Poor (P) - All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category.

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Book Sizes

All sizes are approximate.

4to, Qto.  .    .    .     .    . quarto size (9" x 12" or 22.9cm x 30.5cm)

8vo, Oct.  .    .     .    .    . octavo size (6" x 9" or 15.2cm x 22.9cm)

12mo        .    .     .    .    . duodecimo size (5" x 7 .5" or 12.7cm x 19.1cm)

16mo        .    .     .    .    . sextodecimo (4.25" x 6.75" or 10.8cm x 17.2cm)

24mo        .    .     .    .    . twentyfourmo (3.5" x 6" or 8.9cm x 15.2cm)

32mo        .    .     .    .    . thirtytwomo (3.25" x 5" or 8.3cm x 12.7cm)

64mo        .    .     .    .    . sixtyfourmo (2" x 3" or 5.1cm x 7.6cm)

Atlas folio    .    .     .    . 16" x 25" or 40.6cm x 63.5cm

Elephant folio .    .     .   14" x 25" or 35.6cm x 63.5cm

Folio (Fo., Fol.)        .    12" x 15" or 30.5cm x 38.1cm

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Common Abbreviations

A.D.: Autograph document

A.D.s.: Autograph document, signed

Ads, adverts: Advertisements

A.E.G.: All Edges Gilt

A.L.: Autograph letter

A.L.s.: Autograph letter, signed

A.M.s.: Autograph manuscript, signed

auth: author

bce: book club edition

bd.: bound

bdg.: binding

bk: book

bks: books

bkpl: bookplate

bkstrp: backstrip

BMC: British Museum Catalog

brk/brok: broken

buck: buckram

C. & p.: Collated and perfect

ca.: circa, approximately

cat: catalog

CBEL: Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature

chip/chp: chipped

cl: cloth

col: color

conts: contents

cpy: copy

cv: cover

DAB: Dictionary of American Biography

dec/decor: decorated, decoration

dict: dictionary

disb: disbound

dj: dustjacket

DNB: Dictionary of National Biography (British)

doc. : document

dw: dustwrapper

ea: each

ed: editor

edn: edition

Eng./Engl.: English

eng./engr.: engraved

ex-lib/x-lib: ex-library

ep: endpaper

F./ff.: Folio, folios (leaves)

facs: facsimile

f/o: fold out

front: frontispiece

fwd: foreword

fx: foxing

grn: green

hc: hardcover

hf.: half (as in half sheets)

hist: history

hndbk: handbook

hng: hinge

ill/illus: illustrated, illustration

Imp.: Imperial

impft: imperfect

ins: inside

inscr: inscribed

intro.: introduction

Ital.: italic letter

lea.: leather

lf:  leaf

lge.:   large

lith:    lithograph

L.p.: large paper

LS:   letter, signed

ltd: limited

mag: magazine

M.e.: marbled edges

Ms/Mss: manuscript(s)

mssg: missing

mrbld: marbled

N.d.: no date

N.F.: Near Fine

N.p.: no place

N.s.: Note, signed

N.V.G.: Near Very Good

Ob./obl.: oblong

oct: octavo

OED: Oxford English Dictionary

op: out-of-print

orig.: original

o/w: otherwise

pamph: pamphlet

pb: paperback

pc: price clipped

P./pp.: page, pages

pg: page

photo: photograph

pict: pictorial

Pl, pls:  plate, plates

po: previous owner

pol.: polished

port: portrait

p., pp.: page, pages

prc clpd: price clipped (from dustjacket)

pref: preface

prelims: preliminary leaves

pres: presentation copy

prev:  previous

priv prntd: privately printed

pseud:  pseudonym(ous)

pt.:  part

pub:  published or publisher

rbkd: rebacked

reprd: repaired

rev: revised

sc:  soft cover

sgd: signed

sig:  signature

slpcs:  slipcase

sl: slight

sm: small

sp:  spine

spr: sprinkled

sq:  square

STC:  Short-Title Catalog

stns: stains

swd:  sewed

T.E.G:  top edges gilt

T.L.s: Typed letter, signed

tp:  title page

trans: translator

TS:  typescript

unb/unbd: unbound

vd/vy:  various dates, various years

vol/vols:  volume(s)

w.a.f.:  with all faults

w/: with

w/o: without

wn:  worn

wr:  wear

wrap(s):  wrappers, paperback

wt:  weight

yr:  year



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