What’s a doublette?

In German. I know about various definitions of doublet in English, many of which also work in languages, but in German it also seems to be used by book collectors in a way I don’t understand. I’d be particularly interested if it referred to sharp practices analogous to those in the jewellery trade: “A form of gemstone trickery that was devised to allow inexpensive materials to imitate the more valuable gemstones before modern synthetics were available. A doublet can take several forms but always involves a fake gemstone produced by gluing together two different materials to form an illusion.”

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  1. Thanks Aidan. It’s a specialist book trader who deals in rarities and doubletten. I’m trying to imagine what these are and and why they would be valuable. I’d ask him, but unfortunately he’s dead.

  2. Dublette usually means a duplicate. Two copies of the same thing may be worth more than one, I suppose. Muret-Sanders does say Schmuck: doublet (i.e. ‘doublet, you schmuck’).
    It does seem to be used for books released e.g. when a library buys up someone’s estate and finishes up with two copies of the same thing, so the spare copy can be sold. That seems the most likely meaning of Verkauf von Dubletten.

  3. I think the solution lie in the gemstone analogy because the double seems to have more value than its doublee, the price differential presumably arising from a machine-defying imperfection that is either rare or unique. Simon Garfield wrote a thing for Granta a while back about his fetish for stamps with errors (without Post Office Towers), and the same kind of thing goes on in the book trade. Dibdin in Bibliomania calls them “true editions”

  4. I have just come across this in a German text about preparation of a herbarium, where they talk about producing at least “fünf Doubletten” of a specimen sheet. I have also found one single definition of the word as “an artist’s copy of his own work”. I have also decided to translate the word as “duplicate” .

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