The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

“What manner o’thing is your crocodile?” July 2016

This month’s mystery could have many different answers, but there’s one in particular we’re looking for. The question is simple: why is this binding interesting?


Any ideas? Please share your answers in the comments, and check back next week to find out if any of them match the answer we have in mind.


  • Dan Brownesque ideas…….

    A codebook? 26 circles referencing positions on 26 pages ?


    Or a religious/kabbalistic text– “26, the gematric number, being the sum of the Hebrew characters (Hebrew: יהוה‎‎) being the name of the god of Israel – YHWH (Yehweh)” ?

  • My guess is that this is a binding with hot-tooled decoration in silver (rather than the usual gold).
    But I don’t know what the covering of the binding is.
    Is it a skin of some sort, or fabric, or something else?

  • A very unusual style,a black leather binding usually means it is a religious text, and the multiplicity of ‘threes’ may indicate something to do with the trinity, but I can’t identify the stylized flower. Could also be something masonic.

  • A hint: my first thought when seeing it was “Huh. That’s weird.” Also, for what it’s worth (and I’m not saying one way or the other) it’s very dark blue rather than black.

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