Specimen Book and Catalogue, 1923; Dedicated to the Typographic Art
Jersey City, NJ: American Type Founders Company, 1923. Hardcover. Quarto size, approx. 1148 pp. Very good +. Item #CNFBV095
"The 1923 American Type Founders Specimen Book and Catalog was the last comprehensive specimen book that ATF ever issued, and very nearly the last truly large specimen book ever issued by an American foundry; it is without question the most important American type specimen book of the 20th century. Last of the large ATF specimen catalogues, with a wealth of color printing, design ideas, and a large section of printers' equipment."
American Type Founders was founded by a merger, in the 1890s, of twenty-three type foundries and by the early 1920s, they had come to dominate the type market in the United States. In order to create this 1923 Specimen Book, by some estimates they budgeted $300,000 (roughly equal to $4.2 million today) to produce 60,00 copies. "Used in print shops, copies were referenced for decades by printers with inky fingers, so clean copies are hard to find." (n.b., above quotes from the web site of CircuitousRoot.)
This copy likely the best-condition copy still in existence; while the binding shows a bit of wear (see details below) the interior is incredibly clean, with none of the inky smudges usually seen.
___DESCRIPTION: Dark grey cloth boards, brown cloth shelfback with black lettering, black lettering on the front board with title within a decorative border, recessed, decorative endpapers with the logo of American Type Founders in the middle of each page, the volume opens with a "limitation page" with a space for the catalogue number, blank in this volume (we wonder if it was ever filled out, with 60,000 copies having been produced), title page within a decorative red border enclosing a ruled black border, verso of title page is an illustration from a photograph of the "Central Plant of the American Type Founders Company", followed by the approximately 1130 pages of (i) type specimens which are richly embellished with a prolific use of different ink colours, different papers, pp. 41-44, 101-108, and 603-610 double leaves, folded; and (ii) type cases, presses, and other equipment which would be needed at a printing press; at the rear of the book is an Index, double-columned, which brings the page count to a whopping 1148 (note this is approximate, as some pages are sub-lettered); quarto size (10.25" by 7.25" and 2.75" thick).
___CONDITION: Better than very good, with a strong, square text block with solid hinges (uncommon in a book so stout and heavy), complete, the interior incredibly clean and bright; the corners gently bumped and beginning to rub, a few spots of light overall soiling to the boards, a small tear to the cloth at the back of the top board, a bit of wear to the head and tail of the spine, and a prior owner placed some pencil markings on p. 45. Even with its few faults still overall an outstanding example of an iconic specimen book.
___POSTAGE: Please note that due to weight additional postage may apply; please inquire for details.
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