Is it possible that the best ESV Bible has already been made? Best, is of course purely subjective but this is my blog and according to me, the best ESV ever made, is no longer being made. I do not know when the decision was made by my friends at Crossway to nix the Heirloom Reference Edition they decided to no longer print this edition again once their stock was depleted. It is possible that the HRE fell into a black hole between the Single Column Reference and the Large Print Bible. Crossway are not a large publisher and there may have been features that overlapped between these large format editions and maybe they decided to continue forth with new the new editions that would contain the updated ESV text. Or maybe the HRE was a poor seller… I do not know.
The Heirloom Reference measure in at 6.5″ x 9.25″ x 1.5″. It is slightly larger than the SCR but it is a little thinner, making this edition easier to carry. The paper is among the heaviest paper used by Crossway for any of their editions. It is 27 lbs. paper that is .0020″ thick making it thicker than the paper used in either the SCR or LP. Thicker means more opaque, there is little to no bleed through and holds up quite well to the 05 tip of a pigment liner. The font size is 10.2 which is the largest print available in a non-Large Print edition. It is a double column paragraph format with center column references, a concordance, maps and presentation pages. The best feature in this edition are the wide margins. Well, they are not true wide margins at around 1″ wide but with the use of a very thin pigment liner are quite usable. It also has two ribbon markers.
The calfskin edition is bound in thick, tough yet soft leather that has been aging amazingly well. It keeps getting softer. The calfskin edition is also Smythe sewn allowing to open freely and flatly, it can also be folded over unto itself which is not possible in most other large Bibles. The calfskin edition is harder to come by but the bonded leather and the hardback can still be had for ridiculously low prices. It has been difficult to find a proper replacement for the Heirloom Reference Edition with either the Single Column Reference or the Large Print Edition, in fact to ensure the longevity of my HRE, I rarely take it out of the safety of my house. Trying to replace all my notes and a Bible that is no longer in print would be quite the task.