Paper sample collections

Acquired from G.J. Post van der Molen, 'De Ammoniet', Leiden
Acquisition 2007
Shelfmark: PC.C MON STO 01; PC.C MON PRO 01; PC.C MON BUH 01

The Paperhistorical collection of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek contains an extensive series of paper sample books and paper sample collections from the Netherlands and abroad. Many are multi-piece editions featuring samples from the assortment in stock from paper vendors or manufacturers. Some are albums filled with thousands of samples, often numbered and organised according to type and brand name.
Most are produced in limited copies and intended for major customers, such as publishers and printers. Graphic designers also use these kind of sample books to choose appropriate types of paper. Intensive use often rendered these collections incomplete. In addition, old sample collections were often discarded as soon as a new one was produced. As a result, and also because the paper industry does not generalle keep an archive of historical material, sample books and collections are exceptionally rare, especially the unused and thus still intact editions.

G.J. Post van der Molen from the private press De Ammoniet recognised the importance of these sample books and saved them accordingly as part of his efforts to preserve graphic heritage. In 2007, following the company's reorganisation and move, he offered the Koninklijke Bibliotheek the opportunity to acquire a series of more than fifty sample collections. Three examples from this acquisition are shown here: an exquisite concertina-type folder with 28 series of cover paper and cardboard in a box from Van Stolk & Reese; an adjustable metal holder with fan-wise presentable 'baby samples' of printing, cover and writing paper arranged fan-wise from P. Proost & Zoon; and an album containing nineteen partially coloured cardboard labels from G.H. Bührmann's Papiergroothandel N.V. These are illustrative examples from the Dutch sample collections from the first half of the twentieth century. The sample collection from Van Stolk & Reese illustrates a problem that often arises when preserving sample collections: corrosion of the metal staples used to attach the samples can cause local damage and there is a risk of the samples coming loose. (HP)