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Glory days back for old treasures; BOOKBINDER'S PAINSTAKING WORK RESTORES CENTURIES-OLD BOOKS TO A BEAUTIFUL CONDITION.

Byline: RICHARD PADGETT

BOOKBINDER John Richards helps breathe new life into a tired-looking tome by carefully applying gold leaf to its spine.

The 46-year-old, who has a shop in Leamington, has been restoring old books to their former glory for more than 20 years.

Most of the people who call on his skills are private collectors, but he also does work for museums and the antiquarian book trade.

The oldest book Mr Richards has worked on dated from 1460. The most valuable was one from the 15th century, worth pounds 40,000.

He said: "If a customer brings in a book, usually the cover's fallen off or the pages are falling out. They are the main two problems.

"I repair rather than replace, using the old material but adding new leather where necessary."

The result should be a book that is not coming apart yet still looks old.

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ATTENTION TO DETAIL: John Richards in his workshop and (right) his tools for applying goldleaf. Pictures: MARK RADFORD
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Sep 5, 2002
Words:168
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