A number of correspondents pointed me to the sale of these extremely rare Corvine books on Ebay recently. Any serious collection of Frederick Rolfe's work has a complete copy of the three volumes of centenary letters issued by Cecil Woolf in 1959/60. About 300 copies of each volume were issued in a very fine binding of cream and coloured buckram and in a glassine paper wrapper. As single volumes they will cost you upwards of 100 GBP each and a complete set with glassine wraps is likely to set you back 400-500 GBP. These blue-bound copies are something else again and sold recently on Ebay for just shy of 1,500 GBP. Woolf describes them in his bibliography as "printed on Hodgkinson's hand-made, blue-laid paper, bound by Zaehnsdorf in full royal blue morocco, with gilt top, blue silk bookmark and cloth-covered slip-case". I had never seen one until this set appeared on Ebay and then, in researching this note for the blog I discover that there are now several copies for sale online in both the UK and US for somewhere between 650 and 700 GBP per title.
Value aside, one of the nice things about these books was that, along with beautiful production quality, in both the normal limited edition and in the leather-bound copies, went a really meticulous and serious piece of scholarship in the introduction and editing of the letters. It is, certainly, a shame that the series was never continued further but they remain one of the great achievements of Corvine studies. Certainly a very desirable set.