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How do I decide if my book should be restored?

As with the restoration of any antique, collectible, or work of art, decisions about book restoration must often take into account the value of the book in the marketplace (in addition to its personal value to the owner). Certain books are worth more in restored condition, while others may drop drastically in value if they are modified in any way.

"Surprisingly, some vintage books decline in value if restored. Ragged first edition Faulkners or Willa Cathers, perhaps, would be better left in original bindings and covers. 'For any 20th century or modern first editions, I'll make a box,' says Currier."
--Newport Life Magazine, "Books of Art", Betty Cares

When deciding how best to restore and protect your book, the following should be taken into account:

  • Market value of the book, before and after restoration
  • Sentimental value
  • Intended use (display only, daily use, etc.)
  • Budget constraints

After discussing such issues with a bookbinder, dealer, or conservation expert, decisions can be made regarding the extent of restoration that is appropriate and within budget.


Click on image for larger view.

Set of re-bound books    
The set has been given new one-quarter leather bindings.