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The Sum of the Parts

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The Sum of the Parts

James Granger. A Biographical History of England, from Egbert the Great to the Revolution. London: T. Davies, 1769

Late nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century bibliophiles argued back and forth about whether grangerizers spent more money on their materials than the finished product was worth. Undeniably, both then and now, many extra-illustrated books could fetch more on the open market if disbound and sold as individual pieces. Similarly, before online library catalogs and digital images made it easier to search for pictures in libraries, a grangerized book could be more useful to more researchers if the extra-illustrations were removed and filed for browsing alongside other pictures of the same subject. But disbinding extra-illustrated volumes reverses the intentions of the grangerizer. Institutions and collectors are still faced with the conundrum of where to place value: the original intention of the grangerizer, or the market and research value of individual pieces.


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