Sunday, September 05, 2010

Heirloom Editions of Rare Pike Works from Restoration Books

Restoration Books is a Utah company that specializes in the delicate art of book binding, as well as the restoration of rare books and documents. Owner Michael Atha has developed a reputation for beautiful work. In addition to restoration of existing works, the company occasionally publishes small, limited editions in what is truly heirloom quality binding.

At the Masonic Restoration Foundation gathering in Colorado Springs last week, two special editions were released by Restoration Books: Albert Pike's examination of the symbolism of the three lodge degrees, Esoterika; and a matching edition of Pike's The Book of the Words Sephir H'Debarim.

Prior to 2005, Esoterika was known to only a handful of scholars at the Scottish Rite's House of the Temple. Pike had only two hand-written manuscripts bound of the work, and few ever saw it. Pike explores "The Compasses and the Square," "The Weapons and Blows of the Assassins," "The Three Grips," "The Substitute for the Masters Word," "The 47th Problem of Euclid," "The Truth," "Is the Cable-tow a Symbol?," "Corner Stones," "The Ladder of Jacob," "Tubal Cain," "Shibboleth," and "Solomon and Hiram." But much of the book is made up of voluminous explanatory notes by the Scottish Rite SJ's Grand Archivist, Arturo De Hoyos, along with illustrations, an article on Pike's personal faith, and even four early Masonic ritual exposures. It was published in 2005 as the bonus book of the Scottish Rite Research Society, and a less expensive edition is available from the House of the Temple shop.

The Book of the Words Sephir H'Debarim was originally published by Pike in 1878 with a limited edition of just 100 copies. In 1999 the Scottish Rite Research Society reprinted it with additional material and an introduction by Bro. De Hoyos.

Restoration Books' leather editions of Esoterika and The Book of the Words recreate the original binding that Albert Pike commissioned for the single manuscript copy of Esoterika housed at the Supreme Council's Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite archives. Each one is beautifully bound in deep blue morocco goatskin, with hand-marbled endpapers, hand-tooled gold detailing, gold top edge gilt and a silk ribbon marker. Each book is limited to just 100 copies, and are individually numbered. These are truly very special volumes.

The books also include an ornate book plate, reproduced from an 1866 original Supreme Council plate, and personalized for the purchaser.

The books are hand numbered, and Arturo De Hoyos has signed each copy, along with official embossed foil stamps of both the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite, 33° and the Scottish Rite Research Society. Certainly less expensive versions of these books exist elsewhere, but these are truly collectible items. The price is $375 per book, or $750 per set. See the Restoration Books site for details here.

And if you are a library or a rare book collector, you can't do better than Restoration Books for repairing, restoring and preserving your most precious editions.

H/T to Jay Hochberg

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