String to Morocco

7. Leather: full calf, intricate design on front and back covers

Assuming the same quality of leather and size of book, moving from quarter to half to full calf meant a more expensive binding. Given that many upmarket books were destined for the mantle or the library in an upper middle-class home, it was often unnecessary to go to the added expense of a full leather binding; quarter morocco with gilt lettering, for example, would appear the same as full morocco on the shelf. However, if expense was not an issue or the book would be handled regularly then the cost of full leather might be justified, as with The Comic Offering; or Ladies’ Melange of Literary Mirth, For MDCCCXXXIII (London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1833). The short, humorous stories for ladies in this collection might be read over and over, individually or in groups.