Dust Jacket Logic: It Exists

Great piece Rebecca…

Official Website of Rebecca Romney

Many novices to book collecting don’t get dust jackets. How can a single piece of paper make the difference between a $4000 book and a $75,000 book? How can certain first editions suddenly lose all their collectible value if they’re missing the paper they were wrapped in? Collectors are weird!



I’m going to attempt to defend the quirk that says a piece of paper around the book matters. My defense: a lesson in the history of printing.


Dust jackets are seen as a trait of 20th-century books. But the earliest dust jackets appeared surprisingly early in the 19th century–the oldest known jacket dates from 1830. Yet we don’t associate dust jackets with the 19th century because the early stages of dust jacket evolution were humble, and as such, the jackets were rarely saved.


Dust jackets were first used for books with beautiful, elaborate, expensive bindings…

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