barked, cracked, foxed

Excerpts from Glossary to Slightly Foxed — but Still Desirable: Ronald Searle’s Wicked World of Book Collecting.

Barked
Skin scraped, rubbed, or chewed by the dog of a previous owner.

Cloth, original
What is now left of what was once a cloth binding.

Cracked (but holding)
Binding held by a thread.

Cracking
Binding held by two threads.

Desirable
Just about worth the money, if you must have it.

Disbound
Taken apart and now it’s your problem.

Faults, minor
Generally messy, with traces of previous owner’s breakfast.

Foxed
Some pages discoloured with brown damp spots.

Foxed, somewhat
Simply smothered in brown damp spots.

Foxed throughout
Needs only four legs and a tail to complete.

Head, dented
Volume that has been used to replace the leg of a sideboard.

Mellow
Distinct signs of wear, but will hold until customer is out of shop.

Russia
Smooth, dyed calfskin treated with birch-bark oil by a vodka-soaked serf.

Russia, half
Smooth, dyed calfskin half treated with birch-bark oil by a totally soaked serf.

Running title
Title repeated ad nauseam at the top of every page in case the purchaser should forget what he is reading.

Set, nice bright
Three or four moth-eaten but matching volumes in varying states of dilapidation.

Sheep, full
A once well-fed animal now spread over cardboard to hold pages together.

Sheep, contemporary
An ancient binding that looks as if it has been served up straight from the pot.

Spotted, somewhat
Splashed, stained, soiled, sullied and blemished beyond belief.

Washed
Foxing, soiling, contemporary kipper stains and all character removed from the paper.

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