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Silver Bookmarks

The silver bookmarks found within the pages of the Plum Island catalog are relatively flat pieces of rectangular sterling silver, with a decoration perched atop the silver rectangle. The pages are held open in a similar fashion to how a paper clip "grasps" sheets of paper. The decoration heads range from hearts, crosses, and apples, to a second type of silver bookmark which is flat and triangular and grabs the very top of book pages. A few of these styles can be seen here:

  • PN-335 apple bookmark, makes a great gift for a "bookworm" or teacher
  • Cross silver bookmark top with one of the world's most widely recognized symbols, the Christian cross

Bookmarks have been a necessity for centuries and provide insight into understanding early publishing practices. For a more detailed look at their history, we suggest our paragraph entitled, bookmark origins...

Bookmark Origins

Bookmarks were originally crafted from silk and were born out of a need to keep one's place in a book without forever damaging it. A quote which exemplifies this idea is from A.Y. Coysh from his 1974 work, Collecting Bookmarkers: A History of English Bookmarks: "The need for some device to mark the place in a book was recognized at an early date. Without bookmarkers, finely bound volumes were at risk. To lay a book face down with pages open might cause injury to its spine, and the crease on a page that had the corner turned down remained as a lasting reproach."

The increasing popularity and demand for books in the late 16th century, begot a similar appeal for bookmarks. Since book publishing was slow and in high demand, the need for bookmarks as a means to preserve and lengthen the life of these early books was imperative. Paper bookmarks became available in the late 1880's and giving way to a host of other materials including gold and silver bookmarks. The history of bookmarks adds a more detailed look at their origins and materials and is recommended.