Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Swedish Bible

This is a Bible in Swedish (Bibeln) that I just finished restoring. I BELIEVE it's in Swedish as it looks Nordic and was published in Stockholm. (maybe in Norwegian though..??) There's not a publishing date printed, but based on the owner's hand written notes, it's gotta be older than 1872. This is one of the client's grandmother's Bibles, and he wanted us to preserve everything. - My master told me to make the Bible as close to the condition that the client's grandma had, as possible. So I did. The Bible required a re-hinge inside and out, and corners and spine repaired. Sounds like a relatively straightforward job, yeah? Nay... Repairing the paper was a bit of trouble. The acid contained in the paper made the paper brittle, and his grandma pasted some clippings and notes on the title page that I had to remove without destroying the thin paper. As a bookbinder, I don't mind doing tedious tasks, but this was a rather nerve wracking job. Anyway, they were all released perfectly and the title page is as good as it can be after paper mending. According to the client's instruction, he didn't think those damaged loose pages could be saved including the title page, so he told us to reprint the title page and put the original aside. Of course it's much easier to "discard" the damaged page and reprint it, but I wanted the original preserved, the page the client's grandma actually used. (You see, I'm a sentimentalist.) Anyway, the original spine was in a horrible condition, so it still seems to be a little rough looking, but I did all I can do to make it as good as and repairs as invisible as possible. If I remember correctly, I've worked on a book for him several months ago (another Bible like this, I think). As he's decided to use us again, he must have approved my work then. I hope he is gonna be happy with my work this time again ~~.


  1. I have located a Bible that is 1733, Stockholm Sweden - written in Swedish. It has the name Oluf Eckman ... I am not sure of it's worth, but it is all original in good condition for it's age. Any insight you can give or even how much you think such an document would be worth would be appreciated.
    -BC - Ohio

    1. Hello BC

      Well, first of all, I'm a bookbinder, not a bookseller, so frankly, I can't precisely answer questions on market prices of books. But, what kind of binding design/style your Bible has? Does it has any significant historical value? These are the first things you might want to consider and do research on in order to find out its value.

      Based on my experience, the "value" of Bibles, old or new, is normally relative to its own sentimental value, meaning, it doesn't have much importance to anyone but to the family who owns it, (unless you are a Bible collector(!). And just like today, since Bibles were mass-produced 300 years ago and most households had them, 1700's Bibles aren't as rare as most modern people might think. All the immigrants from various parts of Europe brought their bibles with them when they migrated to the New World. By saying this, antique Bibles on the market, in English or Swedish, aren't usually sold at a high price that you might expect, UNLESS it's something that is associated with important histories of the world, or the binding style is extraordinary, beautiful and rare, or printed with woodcut or was bound /printed by famous craftsmen in limited numbers, etc. I have briefly talked to one of my bookseller acquaintances about your Bible today, and as I thought, based on the information you gave me, he said he wouldn't be interested in purchasing it at all because he won't be able to find a buyer, let alone the fact that "common Bibles" in foreign languages aren't so popular in the US to begin with.

      Basically, just because a book is 300 years old doesn't make it rare and valued in a materialistic sense.

      Regarding the name written in your Bible, it has to be the owner's name. About 50~60% of Bibles I handle have owners' names written somewhere. (Normally, on the first few pages of the Bible.)

      If it's not your family's personal Bible, it might be interesting for you to track down the family who originally owned it, and return it to them? I've met one person who did that. (He brought in a Family bible that he found in a flee market and asked us to restore it. And based on the family record in the Bible, he located the family member and return it to him/her.)

      Anyway, I think you should contact local booksellers about your Bible, and see what they say. It might turn out to be one of those "lost treasures"!?! Good Luck!!!

  2. I can confirm that that's indeed a Swedish bible - and I can also tell you what village it's from as it's close to where I grew up. Here's the village: http://goo.gl/maps/ZeTpX - Vattrång. I stumbled over your blog by chance and the name really jumped at me from the screen =)