The Aeneid – Virgil


The Aeneid – Virgil


Title: The Aeneid
Author: Publius Vergilius Maro (Virgil), John Dryden (trans), Johann Gruninger (woodcut illustrations)
Publisher: Oxford University Press/The Franklin Mint, 1982 (Oxford Library of the World’s Great Books series, limited edition). Impossibly rare and out of print.
Condition: Hardcover. Very minor shelf wear, including very slight rubbing to back cover. Otherwise flawless. Looks like it was never read.

SKU: aeneidvirgiloxford Categories: , ,


About this edition:

One of the most beautiful books in our collection, this book is a triumph of book design and bookbinding, meant to last for generations. It features:

  • Full black top-grade leather binding
  • Genuine 22k gold gilt to all edges, front design, spine, and back
  • Embossed roundel centerpiece image
  • Silk moire endsheets
  • Satin bookmark, sewn-in
  • Hubbed spine with 8 raised bands
  • Smyth-sewn binding for durability
  • Premium acid-neutral archival paper that will not yellow

A writeup by a book collector at

Along with the Oxford editors’ exclusive introduction to this GREAT BOOKS edition, it’s reproduced from a rare edition of the OPERA VIRGILIANA, published in 1529 in Lyons by Jean Crespin with woodcut illustrations by Johann Gruninger.

Supremely elegant gilt-stamping of Gruninger’s images that literally canvas the black leather boards (which are flanked by silver-grey moire endsheets) are only out-classed by the stunningly embossed roundel centerpiece of Gruninger’s ‘His ardour warmed his fainting friends’. So, it’s a particularly beautiful Franklin/Oxford full-leather edition.


Franklin even had a brief, shining liaison with Oxford University Press in the early 1980s that produced astonishing dual-tone ‘leather upon leather’, or deep image-embossed bindings that, remarkably, out-classed even ‘early Franklin’! (Most of these titles boast an elegant inlaid filigree-motif ‘ticking’, or gold-leaf ‘blind stamping’, that exquisitely borders the moiré endsheets and runs along not only the inside edges of the boards but also along the top and bottom edges of the spine! CLASSY). I refer here to Oxford/Franklin’s full-leather Shakespeare and Dickens ‘Complete Works’ series and its untouchable ‘Oxford Library of the World’s Great Books’ series.


The Franklin Library, the publishing division of The Franklin Mint, was of course, at one time, the nation’s largest publisher of great books in fine bindings. Founded in 1973, it ceased publishing in 2000. Its early editions ~ fully bound in genuine premium-grade, hand-cut leather, selected for quality of grain and texture ~ were designed and bound by The Sloves Organization, Ltd., an affiliate of the mint, whose bindery was one of the few in the world devoted exclusively to the crafting of fine leather books.

Printed from 1981 to 1985,* the Oxford/Franklin volumes are gorgeous ~ absolutely stunning in their production qualities. Oxford University Press, in fact, specially chose the publishing division of The Franklin Mint to design and produce its World’s Great Books series because of Franklin’s unsurpassed skill in achieving a premium-quality product: each Oxford book must also be ‘a wonder’ in the finest of bookbinding traditions and, if possible, exceed Franklin’s high standard. By that prestigious election, Franklin thus was also doubly honored and formally recognized for the awesome reputation it had achieved in the publishing world throughout the decade of the 1970s.

It is because of that ‘brief, shining moment’ in publication history that these fine classic Oxford/Franklin editions generally surpass anything else ever produced either before or after that time by any of today’s renowned publishing giants. Relatively few titles in the multi-edition Great Books series were given the fabulous full-leather treatment; most were quarter-bound volumes ~ very lovely indeed by the lights of their own publication merits ~ but still unable to boast the same ‘Rolls Royce’ elegance of their full-leather counterparts.

About the Aeneid:

The Aeneid is a cornerstone of the Western canon.

The Aeneid is a Latin epic poem written by Virgil in the late 1st century BC (29–19 BCE). Arguably Rome’s answer to Homer’s Odyssey and The Iliad, it is generally considered the greatest work in Latin.

More about The Aeneid here.

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