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March 13, 2008


Kyle Hedrick

I am thankful this is not single column! I already own the black highland goatskin NIV, two Cambridge NIV's, and several other NIV's -- and I never really use the NIV. I almost bought the bold print reference simply because it was an Allan's and it was on sale. I will more likely buy the Allen's NRSV. Do you know the font size in the Bold Print Reference, the grainy brown calfskin, and the NRSV? I would typically never ask someone to lie, but I would appreciate it if you would respond with the following font sizes: 7.4, 8.0, 6-7.

The pictures are great, and this grainy brown calfskin is one of the best looking thinlines I have seen. My favorite thinline previously was the Holman Legacy NIV published in 2000 (the newer Holman Legacy HCSB is junk -- in my opinion). This NIV is unbelievable. Hopefully, the typeset will be tiny!

J. Mark Bertrand

I don't know the exact font size, Kyle. Unless the publisher discloses it, it's hard to say. In the old days, I had a transparent card with various font sizes printed on it that was used for estimating the size of printed type. Unfortunately I don't have it anymore. The Cross Reference NIV doesn't have tiny type, though. It could be in the region of 9-9.5, but that's only a guess. I haven't seen the Allan's NRSV in person, so I don't know about that one. I'd guess 10 pt or more on the Bold Print. Both are very readable, the Bold Print more so.

Isaac Curtis Johnson

Not only do I love the Bible; but I love the bag as well. Were did you get it from! I am about to get a burgundy NRSV wraped in Berkshire Leather from Oxford. I think that bag would be the perfect thing for me to carry my new Oxford in.

J. Mark Bertrand

Isaac -- That bag came from J. Peterman circa 1993. Here's a link to another photo:


As far as I know, it isn't available anymore. It's the ideal messenger bag, though, because it's just a big opening covered by a flap (with a tiny, useless zippered pocket underneath). No structure unless you put something inside.


Nice review. I bought the Bold Print Reference NIV at the reduced rate last year for an elder in my church. I think I'll look into the tan cross-reference NIV as a gift Bible as well.

Thanks again for bringing these wonderful reviews to us. I never get tired of looking at pictures of quality bibles.

God Bless,

Nathan Stitt

According to the catalogue I received with my last Allans, the Bold Print Reference comes in this same brown leather as well. I considered buying it at the higher price, but went with the black goatskin you reviewed earlier. Thanks for yet another excellent review!


Hi Nathan
Thaat brown bold print is sold out

Nathan Stitt

Aww shucks :(

I'll likely be going for the new run of Tan ESV. This leather does have a great visual appeal though.

Steve D'Alessio

This Bible looked so beautiful in your pictures, that I just ordered one from Allan's. I can't wait to lay my eyes on that brown calfskin! I hope the grain on mine is as nice as on yours, or I'm gonna beg you for a trade :)

David Dewey

Kyle, the Bold Print reference NIV is 8.8 Olympian on 9.9 leading. It is an enlargement of the Cambridge wide margin NIV which is 8pt on 9pt leading.

David Dewey

Kyle, the Bold Print reference NIV is 8.8 Olympian on 9.9 leading. It is an enlargement of the Cambridge wide margin NIV which is 8pt on 9pt leading.

Steve D'Alessio

My brown calfskin Allan's NIV cross Reference with Concordance arrived today. Wow! What a unique and beautiful piece of work. It is much stiffer than the goatskin, but who cares....I LOVE IT!


This Bible (like its black highland goatskin leather-lined sibling) is almost perfect! I can see it quickly becoming my choice for reading / study, it's just so beautiful...

David Nelson

I received my copy (in Dallas) from R L Allan (in Glasgow) in only three days via included standard shipping! It is absolutely beautiful, and my first venture into "any-yapp" bindings. I had to give this NIV a try even though I suspected that the semi-yapp overhang would lend a somewhat sloppy feeling to it. Surprise--I love this binding particularly because the stiffness of the leather creates a semi-hard molded shell around the edges of the text block. In other words, the bent overhang of the covers is there to stay, and thankfully so. The font is very readable to my 50+ year old eyes (with as little bleed through as I have seen in any Bible), so I don't feel the need for the Bold Print edition. Thanks again, Mark.


I had been looking to no avail for a new bible going on 3 months. I realized, and was perplexed that the bookstores didn't have one bible that suited. I thought, does anybody care? What AM I looking for and being so picky about? I almost felt guilty! I couldn't find a website that showed pics or text layouts so I was reserved in clicking the 'process order' button. When I found a website that covered bibles in elephant skin I thought, Interesting, but how could I? Then, like a ray of light, I found this website through the Jesus DeSaenz site. Glory shown all around! :) Finally, I discovered like precious faith in bible design! A name to my discerning taste. And this bible I rec'd recently from R.L.Allen is satisfactory to the palate. God bless you Mark!

David from Ireland

I have 2 Allan Journals and I really like them, I would be interested in the new design as well.

As for the pens for writing in them. I use Pigma Micron 0.01 which I find to be excellent.

Of course it's not so much what you write with but what you write.

Psalm 45.1 (KJV)
My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.


There is some clearance stock slightly imperfect black goatskin version of this Allans NIVC2 for under a hundred bucks at evangelicalbible
It looks like a good deal.

Wesley Smith

Where could I find a zippered pouch like the one shown above with the initials on it? I have a new ESV cordovan calfskin and would like to carry it in my messenger bag but, I'm afraid of damaging the pages.

J. Mark Bertrand

Wesley | That's just a zippered portfolio. They're available wherever briefcase alternatives are sold, in this case from Levenger. Aspinal has some nicer ones, too.

Ben Ting

Allan has a new NIV binding coming out in Nov: NIVC1 BR - *NEW* Dark brown Highland goatskin with matching leather linings, red under gold page edges, two ribbon markers, with concordance and Bible maps.

Could this be the prelude to the "speculated" Dark Brown Highland goatskin for ESV1?

Anthony Miller

I know many of you are awating the Black or Brown Goatskin editions from Allans and I'll probably get on of these myself as i am growing quite fond of the NIV now.

I really wished I had been able to pick up one of these in the brown calfskin like Mark reviewed above.

If anyone here would like to sell or trade one in brown calfskin I would be very interested in buying it outright or trading for/buying you some other edition you desire.


David Nelson

I received my copy of the dark brown edition today from Allan's. (I am in Dallas.) The cover is the softest highland goatskin I have experienced yet, and I have several from Allan's. It is buttery soft, the color of dark chocolate, and easily executes the most demanding bible gymnastics-the most flexible bible I have ever seen. Some of the imprinting on the spine is slightly off-center and there is a bit of splotchiness to the red ink under the gilding, but who cares? This only adds to its uniqueness. It is a beautiful example of God's Word done right! I'm sure Mark will have one soon and can display it for us in all its glory!

mike smith

Thanks David mine should be here I hope by Wensday mailing. I sam looking forward to this edition for use in my preaching. Did yours come from the US Mail? Mike Smith

David Nelson

Yes, it arrived by U.S. Mail.

Mike Smith

THe NIV Goatskin Bible arrived today along with the Tan ESV Bible in a large blue customs bag. They look and feel great David. And the price was very good due to the pound going down. Wish I had a way to show the Bibles.


A question for those of you who have already received your NIV in brown goatskin from RL Allan: How is the quality of the paper and the printing in regards to readability, ghosting of the text, etc? Thank you.

David Nelson

The paper quality, bleedthrough/ghosting is comparable to other Allan bibles. The paper appears to be very slightly whiter than others from Allan, although there is no difference in texture. Comparison of the Cambridge Single-Column NIV to this edition also revealed comparable bleedthrough/ghosting. There is thus no improvement here over other editions with respect to these characteristics. The font is easy on the eyes and pleasant to read, albeit more delicate than some of bolder fonts used today.


Thanks Mark for all your information and pics on the Allen Bibles. I didn't even know about Allen's products till I found your website. I have just ordered the new ESV1 in Chocolate goatskin. No pics of it yet, but from what I have seen in your photography, and what you say about the quality, I'm sure I'll be impressed. Can hardly wait....

James Paul Lawler

Can someone please someone tell me where I can buy one of these and how much it would cost in US $.
Also, how does this one compare to the NIV Pitt Minion Reference Black Goatskin NI186RC?

Michael Smith

James go to Evangelicalbible.com and go under allan for NIV, ESV. KJV. They are the U.S. distributer for Allan. AS far as the price I was not sure which edition of the Niv you wanted.


To check the true point size of any font, use a loupe with points marked off (easiest way), or a pica/point stick. align the 0 (zero) at the top of the ascender of a character (or a capital letter), then find the bottom of a descender of a character. The measurement is the point size. Beware of using a lower case g for the descender. Those are sometimes designed squatty and will not descend as far as the other characters.

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  • J. Mark Bertrand is the author of Back on Murder, Pattern of Wounds, and the forthcoming Nothing to Hide, crime novels featuring Houston homicide detective Roland March. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston and lived in the city for fifteen years. After one hurricane too many, he and his wife moved to South Dakota. Mark has been arrested for a crime he didn't commit, was the foreman of a hung jury in Houston, and after relocating served on the jury that acquitted Vinnie Jones of assault. In 1972, he won an honorable mention in a child modeling contest, but pursued writing instead.

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