A blind stamp is an uncolored impression embossed onto paper or leather binding for decorative or signifier purposes, most frequently representing its owner or “review copy.” It typically means their names or words relating to review copies when found on pages. At the same time, when seen on binding, it is generally decorative in purpose – also referred to simply as blind.
Blind stamps are invisible marks on the back of books to indicate ownership by libraries or institutions or when repairs or rebounding are being conducted. A metal die is usually pressed against the paper with enough force that a mark results. Blind stamps may also indicate when repairs have taken place on books that had previously been marked with ink marks; such marks identify their owners more quickly than traditional marking methods do.
Blind stamps can often be found in the lower right corner of a book’s back cover or endpapers; sometimes, these stamps appear on its title page, half-title page, dedication page, or dedication page. Sometimes, multiple blind stamps exist if it has been returned by one library to another for later donation to both.
Blind stamps started in early printing technology when books were often rebound and reused. By the 18th and 19th centuries, booksellers would stamp their name or inventory number onto books sold from bookstores; today, this practice can still be found, although more frequently in library books than those purchased directly.
Blind stamps come in all forms, from basic letters or numbers to those featuring intricate designs. Some libraries even use special blind stamps, which can only be seen under ultraviolet lighting.
While blind stamps are commonly associated with books, they can also be found on photographs, maps, and manuscripts.
Blind stamps are an integral component of book publishing; they help establish an identifying number for every book published, making tracking its production process possible and facilitating identifying specific editions that collectors and scholars might be interested in collecting/studying.