What book dealers really mean. Click on thumbnails for larger images.
Carter's ABC for Book Collectors
Catalogue of the Blockson Collection
A case or folding tray into which a fragile or valuable book or manuscript is laid, usually used in conjunction with a case into which the chemise is slipped, and which the trade, with its infinite gift for invention, has cleverly determined to call a slipcase. Each of our own Classic Book Cards sets are housed in a too-cute-for-words chemise made to look like a miniature book, and you can still buy one if you want to see for yourself.
A binding that was placed on the book at or around the time of publication. Some books were issued in paper covers, or plain cardboard boards, and the purchaser would often have a binding commissioned for it that would suit his taste or library. This was particularly common in France, where most books were published in this manner. Contemporary can mean original, but usually indicates some doubt as to that fact in the mind of the scrupulous seller (as opposed to "original boards," where the seller is confident). Contemporary, as used here, doesn't mean "modern" or contemporary to you, unless you were around when the book was published, which probably isn't the case with this copy of De totius Africæ descriptione libri IX. by Johannes Leo Africanus, published in 1556, and offered in our Catalog 119. The work is generally considered the first work published in Europe by a person of primarily African descent.
You know, corners – the pointy things that stick out at the edges of the book. Like all things that stick out, they are the most likely to get bumped or worn. This lovely, unrestored copy of Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises offered in our Catalog 105 had tiny nicks at the corners of the crown of the rare, first issue dustwrapper. Picky picky.