My second Cambridge Bible is an RCD287 in Burgundy calfskin, which is no longer made. I found this at Tucker’s Books in Nashville, Tennessee. There are lots of out of print Bibles there, and the prices are reasonable. There were five of the Cambridge Bibles in stock at the time.
Honestly, though, I had my heart set on the RCD286 Turquoise edition from R. L. Allan and Sons until I realized it’s nothing more than the Cambridge Presentation in goatskin leather. The Allan’s Turquoise is way too rich for me, and I just couldn’t justify the nearly $260 price tag. Now, maybe you have one and it’s worth it to you, but…
Paul, from evangelicalbible.com, told me Mr. Nicholas Gray of Allan’s confirmed the Turquoise is not bound by that fine establishment. They do produce other fine Bibles, according to many people. I’ve never seen one up close, but would like to one day.
Now, on to the RCD287. It is a beautiful Bible in burgundy calfskin leather. I really don’t know why Cambridge decided to stop making this particular edition, but according to Jessica Bolks of Baker Publishing Group, they have. You can still get the Bible in French Morocco with thumb index, though. If you want goatskin, you can just think about it, because there’s none in stock.
Many people wouldn’t like the dimensions of this Bible, but I have no problem with them at all. The page size is 9 1/4 inches x 5 3/4 inches. The size is fine for sitting on a desk or on my lap. The Bible feels comfortable in one hand and opens nicely. The very first time I opened this beautiful Bible, it laid flat. Not every Bible will do that, but at this price, it should. Nothing lacking so far.
Here’s what’s on the box: “KING JAMES VERSION – PRESENTATION REFERENCE BIBLE – Concordance – Cross-references – Bible dictionary – Presentation page – Family record – Colour maps and gazetteer – Words of the Lord in red – Calfskin leather – India paper – Gilt edges”
Now, let’s look inside. The lining seems to be made of vinyl of some sort, and it’s been glued on very well. That’s a pretty good sign, but then I discovered white paper left over from the trimming. Quality control, where are you? At least the lining isn’t coming away from the leather cover. Thankfully, I don’t need giant print.
The text is quite easy on my older eyes, and that is what I bought the Bible for in the first place. From the “published by” page: “Typeset in Antique Old Style No 3, 10/11pt. Printed and bound in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge” The font size makes for comfortable reading. If you need a Bible with larger than normal type, perhaps the Presentation would be a good candidate for you.
The text block is where the major problems arise with this Bible. It is not worthy of the price tag Cambridge put on it. For the amount of money a person pays, the text quality should be much better than what is in between the front and back covers. Stray marks are quite common, as well as incomplete letters. There are many comments on Mark Bertrand’s Bible Design and Binding blog regarding this text-block issue. Many have said Cambridge’s quality has slipped dramatically over the past several years, and I can attest to the fact the quality isn’t apparent in this particular Bible.
The two ribbon bookmarks are a welcome addition, but three would have been far better. The material is just the right width and length and matches the burgundy leather quite well. Again, quality must not have been on the minds of the people putting this Bible together, because both markers are twisted instead of being straight. What a mess.
Finally, I just noticed something that should not be happening. The family record signature is already pulling away from the rest of the Bible. I can see in between the sections quite clearly. This just should not be. If I had used this Bible daily for several years, perhaps this problem could be expected, but it’s not but a month or so old.
Again, Baker Publishing’s customer service is wonderful, and will exchange my RCD287 for a new one. The only problem is, I’ll have to settle for French Morocco and thumb-index, but I can live with that. My main concern is, will the new one be any better? I sure hope so.