Why Cambridge Should Bring Back the Turquoise KJV


Now that I’ve seen it I know what the fuss is all about

One of the most sought after Bibles among the Bible collecting crowd is the Cambridge Turquoise, or Presentation Reference. I had heard about this Bible for a while and finally got the chance to own a piece of history when I saw one on eBay. This one is a WWII vet with a 1946 printing. It has utility paper with a tan color-tone and around 38gsm. It has leather over board and has no concordance or dictionary. Now that I’ve seen it I know what the fuss is all about.


It has a 10/11-point font that’s dark and readable, center-column references. I’d love to have a newer edition with a concordance and a dictionary. The dictionary in the Concord is a great study and sermon-prep tool.

If Cambridge doesn’t re-release the Turquoise they will be missing out on that market.

For the last few years the premium large print KJV space has been owned by R. L. Allan’s Longprimer. This is a nice Bible. It’s easy to see why it owns that market. In a couple of years we will see the release of Schuyler’s Quentel in KJV. That will be a Bible to own. If Cambridge doesn’t re-release the Turquoise they will be missing out on that market.


I’m in the middle-age crowd. I’ve needed glasses for years because I have astigmatism. A year ago I needed reading glasses, so I went ahead and got bifocals. I love reading with a Bible on my lap. I love reading from the Concord, but with my two focal-points the font is too small to be in focus unless I hold the Bible closer than I want to. The Longprimer is perfect for this. So is the Quentel.

IMG_5945I also preach every Sunday. I love using large print Bibles. I’ve tried the Concord and every time I want the font to be larger. I’ve never needed the Longprimer’s font to be larger. That size font is what I want for reading and preaching.



So why the Turquoise? Center-column cross-references, dictionary, 10/11-point font. Sure, there are large print Bibles on the market. I’ve got a few good ones, but none of them draw me to the text like this Turquoise does. The Longprimer doesn’t have italics. Its references are chain references; which are great for study but I like having cross-references for general use. Then there’s the footnotes. The Longprimer’s footnotes are a mixture of good info (cited in xx) and annoying (the best MSS say…). I’ll take the footnotes in the Turquoise (just my preference). The Turquoise font is larger and has more white-space, making it more readable.

Cambridge could easily own this space

Show me another large print reference Bible in KJV with a dark 10/11-point font, center-column cross-references, and quality footnotes (aside from a $500 pulpit Bible). Even if you can come up with one, you can’t name one that’s made with good quality materials. With Cambridge you get quality paper, print, sewn binding, and calf-split, calfskin, and goatskin leather covers. Cambridge could easily own this space.



The aging eyes of yesterday’s Cambridge preachers have nowhere to go but to cheaply made editions that don’t match the quality they need or want to hand down to their children and grandchildren. The only other option for the moment is the Longprimer. The Turquoise has what the Longprimer does not with a 10/11-point font, italics for supplied words, and center-column cross-references. The Longprimer is a good choice but we need more choices. The Schuyler will be a good choice, but why give up this market?

Large print is not just for aging eyes

Large print is not just for aging eyes. I’ve always preferred larger Bibles and larger print. There is a time you need a small Bible, but in many cases you can use a large Bible with no trouble. I know many members of the younger crowd that feels the same way. They don’t choose one over the other – they choose both. Cambridge has them covered for the smaller Bibles with the Pitt Minion, Clarion, and Concord, but there’s no reference Bible with 10-point or above.

I want a larger ‘everything’ Bible

Up to this point the Cambridge Concord has been my ‘everything’ Bible. It’s the Bible I read from, study from, preach from, and carry with me. I want a larger print. I want a larger ‘everything’ Bible and the Turquoise is the only Cambridge Bible that fits that need.


Cambridge… please bring back the Turquoise.

How about you? Do you own a Cambridge Turquoise or Presentation Reference? Do you want Cambridge to bring it back? Tell us, and Cambridge, about it in the comments below!

About The Author

Randy A Brown

WordPress writer by day, Bible reviewer by night, pastor all the time. And there's also that author thing.


  1. James Harper

    I really enjoyed this review! I absolutely love my Cambridge Presentation Bible. It is my favorite Bible in my collection. I agree it would be great if Cambridge reissued the Turquoise editions again. I would hope they use the same quality of the editions of the past. Bible collectors around the world would go crazy and Cambridge would be back on top of the market again. Go Turquoise!!

  2. Lauro Trejo

    I would love the chance to purchase a new Cambridge Turquoise KJV. The photos here look amazing. I have heard that this Bible is regarded by many in the Bible Collecting Community as THE LONGPRIMER SLAYER.

  3. Airik H

    Now that is some good print, I think 11 point font is my favorite size overall. I used to not really care much about font size and ghosting, then I met a bunch of bible geeks who had to go point things out to me and all has changed. That is an amazing bible ya found Randy and better yet its old with character, sure makes ya wonder why certain publishers leave behind such great editions of the bible. Just like the old Open Bible by Nelson I find myself scratching my head wondering why they have abandoned such a great classic bible for a smaller version with cheap construction.
    That bible looks like a great candidate for a rebind, maybe something a bit tough with a nice deep grain:)

  4. RCal

    I’ve wondered how Cambridge could go this long without a large print bible in their product line. You would think it would hurt their bottom line. The Presentation Reference is so much better than the Concords imo. Besides the larger print, the verses are indented, and it has the courtesy of alerting the reader to marginal notes. My old Turquoise was the RCD286/287 and it had bad ink smears and problems with the text, which is probably why they discontinued it.
    I’d like to see it retypset in a good digital font instead of Antique Old Style No 3. And I want it done yesterday. LOL

  5. Rob Pettifer

    Hi Randy,

    I agree, it is a lovely Bible and one which I am sure would attract a huge following if reprinted today. I like the idea of a bold and crisply printed Bible. I am currently enjoying reading my Cambridge Emerald text Bible. This is a strictly text Bible with no references but it has a really readable font and is printed consistently dark and bold throughout the whole book. The one I own is a red letter. I am not the greatest fan of red letter Bibles but this is by the far the best I have seen. Again like the black print, this too is dark and bold throughout; no tailing off to unreadable pink here. The font size seems to me to be 10pt but I am not sure. On the website it says that it is 8pt but it is certainly bigger than the ESV Single column legacy bible that I own and I think that is a 9pt. It really is a nice bible. The only drawback is the French Morocco Leather binding, which is a tad on the stiff and unyielding side, but it is starting to give. For those who want a nice, clear and uncluttered KJV I can think of few Bibles that are as nice a read as this.


  6. Jack Ring

    I agree – bring back the Turquoise. I’m now on my 5th copy and just found out I can’t replace my current, badly worn copy. Missionary life is hard on bibles. I can’t imagine using any other Bible. Fortunately, I still have 3 that I can consider re-binding.

  7. Alexander Gillan

    I bought copies for my parents when they became Christians back in the late 70s. It was published by the B&FBS at the time. The Turquoise text was idea. No that I am in my late 60s and need large print reference Bible, it would be really good to have this Bible in print again. I would buy it. Have you approached Allen’s about reprinting it?

    • Randy Brown

      Hi Alexander. I haven’t talked to R.L. Allan about doing a reprint, but I have talked to Cambridge about bringing it back. They do see the need for it. I’m hoping it will come back. Until then, I’ve been using the Cambridge Large Print Text for my large print needs.

  8. Phil Stephens

    PLEASE to Cambridge PLEASE bring it back with goatskin, edge lined and sown binding for flat on table use. I have spoken with RL Allan about printing it but they said in 2012, Cambridge was considering reprint in 2013…nada (takwe in valley Tonga of Zambia)so far. I bought the longprimer goatskin edgelined in 2012 but was disappointed (had the long primer of 1977 wore it out)because the print was not crisp and the italic gone (critical to some passages this integrity of translation scribes to let us know it was their opinion, those words). To late spent $265 and it sits on shelf. My Cambridge turquoise bought in 1991 is finally about to fall apart so bought one online from a seller who is a liar or totally ignorant. It was published so long ago the paper is somewhat brittle so it may not last me til I meet the Lovely ONE of all glory. Missionary in Africa so bush journey’s of Gospel intent are hard on Bibles also, but thankful to have it … but still praying CAMBRIDGE will step up to the plate (wicket for those of merry ole England), publish and not strike out like Casey at bat by putting out cheap stop gap edition (had some of them in Turquoise presentation that Cambridge farmed out to second rate binding company and they came apart in binding in less than a year. Wow wish I could learn at 65 years old not to be so wordy and still seeking to be less worldly each day … All PRAISE TO THE ETERNAL MERCIFUL GOD EVER PRESENT IN EVERY MOMENT OF ALL ETERNITY … EVER PRESENT! phil in Zambia

    • Blair Fraser

      If you are still looking for a Cambridge Turquoise bible, you can purchase a reprint of this bible from Church Bible Publishers (phone 231-942-2638). It has a calf skin cover and it is very nice.

  9. Arnie

    I just picked up a Cambridge Turquoise for $20. Yes, twenty dead presidents. And where I got mine you fine folks can get yours as there are a few to go around between $20-$60 dollars. The secret? Ebay—check out the LDS/Mormon Missionary/Teacher’s Bibles, pre-1979. Before that year they used Cambridge Cameo or Turquoise in the above stated editions and in a few of their “Quads” as well. Inexpensive enough to send out for a rebind in the leather(s) of your choice. And, during the rebinding, you can have removed any pages that may be contrary to your doctrinal beliefs.

  10. Manny

    Churchbiblepublishers.com has it now. These are the people that started Localchurchbiblepublishers.com

  11. Blake

    Excellent article Randy. Completely agree. I plan on getting the CBP version soon. Would still like to see a Cambridge release though. The only change I would like to see is removing the superscript references from the text and just have the Bold center column method that the Concord uses. This would give a clean distraction free text with all the helps still in place. But I am still ok with no changes as that may risk what makes it work. There is something about the Turquoise font, font size, and white space that is just perfectly balanced. Would like to see you review the CBP version. I may even review it.

    • Randy A Brown

      Thanks Blake. I love the bold reference system. It creates such a readable text. I haven’t gotten a chance to see the CBP version yet. I’d love to see your review. Cambridge’s will be released next year.

    • Blake

      Writing the CBP Turquoise review now. Will send it your way when complete.

    • Randy A Brown

      Excellent! I can’t wait to see it. Thanks!

  12. mack

    If Cambridge puts that bold-figure cross reference system in the new Turquoise, there is no way I’m buying it.
    Do you like having to look up every reference to find the relevant ones your looking for? Do you like reading the text and not being told there is a marginal note for a key word? The “bold-figure cross reference system” is the worst system ever devised in the history of bible publishing. If you’re critical of having indispensable superscripts in the text, just get a cheap, plain text bible and enjoy.

  13. Zachary

    Do you know if Cambridge will be coming out with the new Turquoise this year? Have you heard anything from Cambridge?

    • Randy A Brown

      Hi Zackary. They do plan to release it this year. They haven’t given a release date yet. I’ll post the info when they decide.

  14. Dave

    Cambridge heard your call! I just got mine. While it’s a great block the binding is just so “meh”. And in typical Cambridge fashion the art gilt is a dreadfully anemic faded pinkish salmon. . Even your copy. Look at that red gilt!!! Why can’t Cambridge do this?? There is just NOTHING like an Allan highland goatskin bible with that gorgeous deep red art gilt. How i wish Cambridge would give us the same deep red.

  15. Christine

    Going through all these older articles, I guess I must’ve lucked out with my Cambridge Turquoise I bought 20 years ago, deciding it was time to upgrade my ancient hardback NIV (there was always some friendly joshing between the KJV and NIV crowd way back: I ended up buying both, also acquiring that rare creature that is a Cambridge fancy-pants leather & art-gilt NIV that’s both anglicised *and* wide-margin. And a REB: being “that person” who has to be different, I prefer the latter!) and it seems I’ve only just realised what I acquired.

    As far as I was concerned, my new bible was “just a KJV” and this is what a KJV looks like. Well it’s apparently what a Turquoise looks like, though I had to go and research which printing it was as it wasn’t called that; I think it was their then family bible or perhaps presentation bible (the © notice on the family pages says “Family Bible” and also says 1997, which I guess is when it came into being). I’ve peered and peered at the printing and can’t see any flaws with it; very little in the way of even slight breaks (not even on the tiny font) and no muddiness. I’ve seen newer prints (e.g. a recent Cameo) that are less consistent. The binding is goatskin with very cleanly-done art-gilt pages; I lack the knowledge to say how it’s assembled, it seems to be sewn but other than that I dunno except that it says it was printed in NL & UK and bound in UK by CUP. It’s also a remarkably hefty and solid-feeling thing for all it’s goatskin and would do you a mischief if someone dropped it on you!

    The text is certainly very readable. Do I prefer it or my Longprimers? I dunno. Depends what moods I’m in, really. I prefer my Allans’ floppity, colourful covers over the Cambridge’s shiny black, thick and somewhat stiff take on goatskin which feels more formal and that you’re about to get a good telling off by its semi-bold Antique Old-Style №3 font with italics just to make a point. Though I probably prefer scripture when it’s presented in paragraph format such as the Clarion, at least if the Clarion was a bit bigger (I know the Paragraph Bible is that thing that’s a bit bigger, but the binding isn’t as nice and it lacks the extra gubbins). Or the REB. :p

    • Randy A Brown

      Hi Christine. Thanks for reading and for your thoughts. It sounds like you’ve gotten some excellent Bibles.

    • Christine

      Thanks, Randy. 🙂 I have acquired some really rather nice bibles over the years, partly as a pushback to that original hardback with the slightly uninspired cover, partly as I just collect things anyway; but I do have to confess that my bible-reading is not exactly up to par and I sometimes wonder if I’m a serious contender for World’s Laziest Christian™ and have barely acquainted myself in the 35+ years I’ve consciously been a Christian. I have just resumed, using the daily reading plan from my TBS, because yes, of course I have one of them as well! With 200,000 references, how could I not? I mentioned this to a much more devout friend who actually does public speaking, reading, preaching and what-not and he just brushed aside my commentary about “but the leather cover!” with “actually I’ve gone all electronic now, it’s much easier”. I would say maybe its my background in computing that makes me value the, er, value of a good book but the same is true of him too. Maybe I’m just a Luddite. 😀

      I must admit I struggle with the KJV’s ancient take on English (I struggle with Shakespeare too: I did not do well at my English Lit exam back in the day) so yesterday’s Psalm 17 for instance was a bit of a toughie and I had to reach for my REB to work out what it actually meant. Then read it again in the NIV only to find verse 14 in particular apparently said the complete opposite. I finally looked online and found the explanation, which I may have also found had I followed some of those 200,000 references. Is it always going to be like this?

      Talking of the REB (again) I really feel I need to go on a personal crusade to win people over! It never caught on in the US and as a result only Cambridge AFAIK ever did a premiumish edition; I feel I’m lucky to have it in a surprisingly nice French Morocco.

      Back to the actual subject (finally!) one thing I keep trying to figure out is if I prefer my 1997 flavour Turquoise or my 52 Longprimer. It’s a tricky one because they’re so similar, what with them being a similar size, having the same size font, more or less, and Longprimer being surprisingly similar to the Antique Old Style №3 (this surprises me as I tend to think of them as quite different, but they’re actually hard to tell apart when you’re reading them), very similar paper quality, broadly similar references (if I had to hazard a guess I’d say the Longprimer has more references but the Turquoise has more footnotes) and high quality covers, there being not much objective quality difference between Meriva calfskin and Cambridge’s goatskin (says me, as if I know what I’m talking about). If I absolutely had to commit, however reluctantly, I think I’d say the Longprimer on the basis that it’s red. Not red-letter, just that the cover is a nice cheerful red!


  1. CHURCH BIBLE PUBLISHERS (CBP) MIDSIZE CENTER COLUMN REFERENCE BIBLE “TURQUOISE” - Bible Buying Guide - […] https://biblebuyingguide.com/cambridge-bring-turquoise-kjv/ […]

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