Special Editions 2023-25

A real treasure: the material for my first book!

My aim has always been for my Special Editions to become valuable collector's items - which is why I've dug deep into my very own archive to source a unique material for book #1.

It's a material that is ultra-rare and a real treasure, so I'm very excited to share it with you today.

Join me for the big reveal (spoiler alert: includes a video starring yours truly)!

The Russian reindeer leather from 1786

In a stormy night in 1786, the Dutch Brigantine "MS Metta Catharina" sank off the coast of Cornwall, England.

In its hull were bundles of reindeer leather, the finest leather available in Europe at the time. Tanneries in St. Petersburg had created a secret process for producing leather that was extra durable, had a distinctive chocolate-brown colour, and was particularly supple to touch. Tanneries elsewhere in Europe tried to match its quality, but they all failed. Kings, aristocrats and wealthy merchants paid a premium for the material.

When divers rediscovered the wreck in 1973 and salvaged the first reindeer hides, they could not believe their eyes. Incredibly, nearly two centuries at the bottom of the ocean had not diminished the quality of these hides. Even the stamps that the Russian tanners had applied to mark their product were still visible.

A treasure, indeed!

As Duke of Cornwall, Prince Charles rightfully owns anything found on the Cornish seabed. He granted permission to sell the leather hides to raise funds for locating other wrecks. (Not before getting himself a set of rather exclusive reindeer leather shoes, that is!)

Subsequently, the reindeer hides turned up in a number of English workshops where they were made into exclusive products. In 2010, you were able to purchase a Gladstone Bag priced at GBP 4,500 (USD 6,200). A product that uses such a large amount of the precious material is no longer available; if it were, it'd be a lot more expensive!

48 years after the wreck's discovery, there is hardly any of the reindeer leather hides left in circulation. The small amounts that are still available today are increasingly hard to find and quite expensive: a passport wallet alone will set you back GBP 495 (USD 680).

When I first learned about the 1786 reindeer leather back in 2002, I instinctively knew that it would eventually become ultra-rare and extremely valuable. I jumped at the chance and bought everything I could get hold of.

Thanks to my decision of 19 years ago, I own over 30 (!) of these leather hides. To the best of my knowledge, that makes me the world's largest owner of this material.

I always had an idea in mind how to put these hides to use. To turn my idea into reality, I approached the best possible man for the job: Gavin Rookledge, founder and owner of Rook's Books in London.

A bookbinding endeavour like no other before

"Are you serious?" These were Gavin's first words when I told him of my idea.

Usually, Gavin gets approached by prospective clients - like Prince Charles (he does keep popping up!) - to produce one or two books, or turn a dozen photo albums into special family heirlooms.

My request was a bit different altogether: "I want to use ALL the hidden Russian leather to create books for my readers. How many books will that give us?"

I got hold of the reindeer hides before they rose in value by a factor of 10-20, which is why I can afford to be generous with the material.

Both the front and back cover of the first book will be bound in Russian reindeer leather.

I'll use it all up, to the last piece of leather. There won't be anything left thereafter.

Fancy learning more - and getting an exclusive look at Gavin's workshop? Usually, no cameras are allowed into these halls so this is an opportunity not to miss!

3 books, 3 materials – no more than 999 copies each

Would you, too, like to own a real treasure from almost two centuries ago?

Pre-order a copy of my first book!

There is hardly any of the wreck's original reindeer leather left anymore to get your hands on, so this is a unique chance to own a piece of history.

For now, each Special Edition is available for USD 849 (plus postage), or USD 2,499 (plus postage) for the set of three.

If this makes you gasp for air, be warned: I might actually increase the price somewhere along the way. I believe these Special Edition books will eventually become a lot more valuable than what you paid for them – maximising their long-term value being a personal ambition of mine!

Given its material value alone, book #1 in itself is probably already underpriced.

As a reader of Undervalued-Shares.com, this should surely strike a chord with you 🙂

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