Some as early as the 4 century are still preserved in museums. Some of these ink pots were found in excavations of old monasteries in Upper Egypt with visible traced of ink in them.
To preserve the manuscripts intact, the Copts covered them with leather bindings.
Italian, German, and French imprints constitute the largest portion of the collection, but English and Spanish presses are well represented.
There were many early printed books, and even a medieval manuscript, in the Yale Library already in the early eighteenth century, but it cannot be said that these were particular areas of collecting at that time.
The Copts utilized the material available in their environment to create ink in a variety of colors for their manuscripts.
The ink was chemically prepared from special materials to which Arabic gum was added to give it a cohesive form.
More recent areas of concentration are secular vernacular texts, illustrated books, and works by fifteenth-century authors.
Copies in early bindings, notably a large group in German monastic bindings, or with evidence of early readership or provenance are prominent in the collection and in current collecting.