Green leather spine with olive cloth boards.. Embossed gilt shield on both boards. Gilt lettering and floral decoration with banding on the spine. From the original drawings by Thomas Allom and George Pickering.
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The physical condition of the book and dust jacket (if there is a dust jacket) are each given a single condition grade. The most common standard book condition descriptions from best to worst are:
As New (abbreviated AN)
This is an unused, unread, clean and flawless copy of the book.
Fine (abbreviated F)
Fine is very close to As New in condition, except that the book may have been previously opened or carefully read.
Very Good (abbreviated VG)
This is a book that shows signs of previous ownership and use, but it's still very nice copy. If there are any flaws or defects such as the former owner's name (FON) or the former owner's initials (FOI), they need to be specifically noted.
Good (abbreviated G)
Possibly the most confusing book condition for the layman. A good condition book will show significant wear including the potential for tears in the dust jacket, wear on the edges of the wraps or boards as well as the text block. Specific issues should still be noted. A good condition book should still have all pages and a fully intact cover.
Fair is a book with noticeable wear. Some non-essential pages such as the Front Free End Paper(FFEP) or Rear Free End Paper (RFEP) may possibly be missing but the entire text and all plates should be still present. A Fair condition book isn't typically considered collectible condition (except in cases where scarcity is such a factor that a better copy isn't commonly available). Fair condition books are still serviceable reading copies.
A book with significant wear and faults. A poor condition book is still a reading copy with the full text still readable. Any missing pages must be specifically noted.
A reading copy is typically a book with whose condition does not merit it to be collectible. A reading copy of a book is still perfectly useable for reading. A collector may well have both a collectible copy of a favorite work to cherish and display, and a reading copy of that same title to read or loan out to others, preserving the more valuable one from wear or loss.
A binding copy is the complete text of the book (unless specifically otherwise note) but the condition of the binding, if in fact there still is one, is significantly degraded or damaged as to require the book to be entirely rebound to be serviceable.
In traditional book description guidelines, this is a book condition unto itself. The statement that the book was removed from library circulation historically indicated that the book had no collectible value due to certain standard practices of libraries such as ink stamps asserting ownership and uniquely durable tape binding the dust jacket to the rest of the book. That old standard has relaxed some over the years.
The condition of the book is listed first, followed by the dust jacket condition with a slash separating the two measures, EG: VG/G meaning a book in very good condition with a good condition dust jacket). If the book was originally published with a dust jacket, the absence of that jacket might be described by a dash EG: VG/- meaning a book in very good condition with a missing dust jacket).
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