To my knowledge, speckled is not a term typically applied when describing books. Can you give me the full sentence so I can see the word in the context of the sentence? That might give me a clue of what they are talking about.
Don't think speckled would refer to foxing. At least I have never seen the word used to mean that. My Webster defines speckled as "dotted with spots". By that definition, I think the term is possibly being used to describe spotting to the covers, but it is possible it might refer to the paper as well.
But that is just a guess, as speckled could just as easily mean a kind of decoration on the covers.
Have checked a few sources already, and thus far have not found the term listed in any glossary of book terms.
I work in a library's special collections department and could not yet find an clear definition.
A rare book dealer would have used 'spotting' or 'foxing' to describe stains and discolourations on the pages. These are usually reddish spots.
"Speckled" could describe the design on the flyleaf and endpapers of an old, hardcover book (the thicker paper lining the inside cover and the pages that lie next to it) Papermakers would be creative with dyes for those pages. Usually, they swirled them around to make the effect of marble. Maybe 'speckled' is a variation of marbleizing. Splattering ink onto the wet paper.
Or perhaps it refered to a speckled effect on a leather cover when it was tanned and dyed. Dark dots on a lighter background.
Hello everyone. I Thought I'd Put The Full description up.
Book Description: New York Graphic Society. 1st American, 1972 edition. Very Good-, Very Good 4TO, 230+ pgs., Photos & Illus Hardcover: Two-toned binding with title on spine in gold. Front and back boards are lightly speckled. Endpapers and pages are clean. Frontispiece photo. Detailed foldouts.This is a facsimile of a special souvenir number of the British journal "The shipbuilder and Marine-Engine Builder," published to commemorate the maiden voyage of the Normandie in June 1935. Fascinating text and illustrations. Nice tight binding. Jacket: Minor edgewear. Illustrated front and back covers. Attractive /desirable copy in protective mylar. ISBN:0-8212-0479-3. Bookseller Inventory #012403
This Book is Being Sold By a Dealer on Abes. I Am Thinking Of A Waiting for a better copy, though not sure yet.
Hi Marilyn, I agree with what you said, all are possibilities.
Now that I see the complete description though, plus the age of the book (1972), I am pretty sure the dealer is stating that the covers are lightly spotted, and the implication is it is some sort of defect. That could be from soil, or it could be from mildew, or really any number of other things.
Jesse, if I were you, I would send the dealer a question and ask them to explain exactly what the spotting is from. If it is soil it is probably not an important issue, but if it is mildew I would be cautious, unless it is extremely light indeed.