The First Dollar – The Lord Wharton Bible Restoration

It is common for businesses, at least in the U.S., to frame their first dollar and put it above the cash register. I did not keep my first dollar, nor do I think that I would have wanted to, but I did have something even more important sitting in the bindery. One of my very first large challenges was a restoration of “The Lord Wharton Bible”. Philip, the 4th Lord Wharton, created a Bible charity in 1696 to provide Bibles for children and young people. This particular Bible had been in the client’s family for generations. I first saw it about 7 years ago. Although I had worked on books for some time I had never taken on a restoration like this. The largest challenge was to somehow stamp the covers with matching corner stamps and text. I had no idea how I would accomplish this. I chose to acid etch a full plate of brass and stamp the entire cover. There are several things I would have “nuanced” with that binding, looking back, but the fact that I was able to “pull off” such a monumental and crazy stunt is an achievement I can be proud of.  That “stunt” got result I could’t have gotten any other way at that time.

I recently framed the plate and first sample stamping in the same way a business would frame a first dollar. Although I would never do a stamping like that again, or at least not in the same way, it is something for me to look back on with pride and dismay.