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Any reason tolkienlibrary would be keeping this bookbinder’s name quiet?

Sep 19
2021/9/19 8:39:03 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Just for fun, I’ve been looking into custom rebinds for Tolkien. Like many, I saw these being periodically sold on tolkienlibrary.

But, in all cases, the description rather mysteriously refers to the creator as one of “America’s premier binders.” Does this hint at a more or less exclusive arrangement with tolkienlibrary?
Sep 19
2021/9/19 9:03:39 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Caudimordax wrote:

Just for fun, I’ve been looking into custom rebinds for Tolkien. Like many, I saw these being periodically sold on tolkienlibrary.

But, in all cases, the description rather mysteriously refers to the creator as one of “America’s premier binders.” Does this hint at a more or less exclusive arrangement with tolkienlibrary?


Just marketing, I guess - "one of “America’s premier binders" means absolutely nothing, but probably sounds a lot better than a bookbinder you have never heard of.
Sep 19 (edited)
2021/9/19 19:54:59 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Figured as much, but thanks for weighing in. I do like the decorations... It'd be nice to have a similar format but with something less expensive than 1st/1st UK editions and leather.

Edit: sent an email to inquire, probably should have done that first.
Sep 19
2021/9/19 20:21:03 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Caudimordax wrote:

Figured as much, but thanks for weighing in. I do like the decorations... It'd be nice to have a similar format but with something less expensive than 1st/1st UK editions and leather.

Edit: sent an email to inquire, probably should have done that first.

The other reason why manufacturers don't always want their name on things produced under contract for others is if the quality is not quite up to their normal "premium brand" product (or even if it is just substantially cheaper). So sometimes the manufacturer won't allow their name to be used.
Sep 19
2021/9/19 20:37:33 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
The slipcase and style of the photos looks like something David Miller at The Tolkien Bookshelf might have done (not sure if he was involved with the rebinds or was just reselling). I contacted David and will let you know if he gets back to me.
Sep 19
2021/9/19 20:41:52 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Stu - Interesting, but that also makes a lot of sense. It does seem the books themselves are doing a lot of the heavy lifting on the value of these particular rebinds.

Lance - Thanks man, keep me (us) updated. I'd thought about reaching out to David as I do believe that slipcase is his handiwork, but hadn't dug up his contact info just yet.
Sep 20 (edited)
2021/9/20 14:56:32 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Caudimordax, I received a response from David Miller at The Tolkien Bookshelf and he said that these indeed were his sets. He had them rebound and up for sale almost 20 years ago. Unfortunately the binder has retired and David has not found another binder locally to him to have other sets rebound as well as these turned out. Sorry!

(David followed up: “Just in case, the binders name was Raoul Bollin. Believe he may be in San Diego now, or was at least. I first found him in Austin, then he moved to SD. Great binder, but wanted to get away from binding books, and go into art…”)
Sep 21
2021/9/21 2:11:50 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Lance, this is awesome intel. Thank you for doing the hoof work–even though I suspect you were also satisfying your own curiosity in the process

I will reach out to Mr. Bollin (if possible) to see what became of the dies he used for the decorations–if he ever used any to begin with. Could be a fun bookbinding project! If anything comes of it, I'll drop a line here and on the FB group.
Sep 21
2021/9/21 21:09:56 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Hello Gentlemen,

I still have all the dies, which I use in making the slipcases and clamshells that I offer to collectors thru the TolkienBookshelf. As I told Lance, Raoul Bollin was the binder, an exceptional binder, you can find some of his history on the web. I still have a number of sets that I was planning on rebinding, but since Raoul retired, I haven't been able to find one that can produce the quality of work that he did. I may have to resort to Chelsea or some of the other well known binderies, but was still hoping for someone closer to home.

609_614a4a1b57330.jpg 1400X1414 px
Sep 21
2021/9/21 21:47:25 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

dunedain wrote:

Hello Gentlemen,

I still have all the dies, which I use in making the slipcases and clamshells that I offer to collectors thru the TolkienBookshelf. As I told Lance, Raoul Bollin was the binder, an exceptional binder, you can find some of his history on the web. I still have a number of sets that I was planning on rebinding, but since Raoul retired, I haven't been able to find one that can produce the quality of work that he did. I may have to resort to Chelsea or some of the other well known binderies, but was still hoping for someone closer to home.

The quality really does look good. Pity he retired (to teaching bookbinding, etc, from what I previously read online).
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