Saturday, August 19, 2006


If Rob Zombie Had Been a Bookbinder...

Damn you, Fine Books, stop reading my mind!

Scott files a report on the one thing creepier than snakebound books -- anthropodermic binding:

It turns out that 2006 has been a big year for human skin bindings. Christie's sold another one on June 30, referring to the material as "peau humaine." Everything sounds better in French, doesn't it. The book was Souvenirs d'une Cocodette, ecrits par ellememe. Leipzig: Landmann, 1878. The binding was executed in 1883 for Alexandre Coccoz by Francisque Cuzin for Georges Mercier fils, according to an enclosed note. Sold for $6,000. I couldn't find any other auction records for human skin bindings in the last 30 years.

As it happens, I have an article coming up in the not-too-distant future that touches upon a particularly nightmarish case of anthrodermic binding, as well as the collection at Ursus Rare Books that Scott goes on to mention. Scott finds an anthrodermic copy of Holbein's Dance of Death that sold for $1,320 -- and Holbein does seem to be a favorite, as I have here a 1898 Times of London article describing the Sotheby's sale for £10 of one "H. Holbein, Alphabet of Death, 1856, printed on China paper and bound in human skin, with a weird design combining a skull and an owl."

Say, here's a question: What new book of 2006 is most likely to have someone bind it in human skin? ...

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