I would like to hear from anyone with knowledge of the common 19th and early 20th century French books in bound wrappers which are often found with semi-transparent dust-jackets. These jackets typically have tri-folded French flaps.
It had always been my understanding that these jackets were original issue. I have seen them on French books as early as the 1820s and 1830s. Most American and British dealers I spoke to also thought these jackets were original issue.
However, when I was researching my book, “Nineteenth-Century Dust-Jackets” (2016), the Paris book scout Martin Stone insisted to me that nearly all such jackets were later additions by French antiquarian book dealers, not original issue. He said he had observed French dealers adding such jackets to old, wrapper-bound French books for decades, and that they continue to do so to this day.
So I again consulted with experts in American and British bookselling, and they all deferred to Martin, saying he was the one who would know, based on his years in the Paris trade.
There are exceptions, of course, such as an 1887 Zola book I saw in bound wrappers which had a printed opaque jacket that matched the printing on the binding; this jacket was obviously original issue. Other exceptions would include some limited edition French books in bound wrappers which were issued with semi-transparent jackets over the wrappers circa 1900.
I would like to hear from anyone with thoughts on the origin of the semi-transparent French jackets. Email me at email@example.com. My thanks to Laurence Worms for posting this.
Mark Godburn, North Canaan, CT, USA.