I didn't mean to diss your collection and to the extent that it came off that way, I apologize. From what I've seen, most of your collection is manufactured work. And while very good, probably you have to venture into "best of class" bespoke work to really get your socks knocked off.
Additionally...and something you alluded to...my historian friend will tell you that especially as you go back in time what we see in vintage or antique shoes tends to be stuff that wasn't sold or didn't fit or wasn't made quite right. The shoes or boots that no one wore or could wear, in other words--it's all that survives because the really great stuff got worn to the point that it was thrown away.
As for the quality of the leather, your cobbler friend has it right in every respect. All those issues were at the back of my mind when I posted my remarks about "corn-fed" and "unstressed environments" but just never made it to the keyboard. Glad you passed that on...it's critical to understanding leather quality.
No apologies necessary from you, my friend. You, of course, are 100% correct in your assessment. Although I have seen a few pairs that were very early 1900's and bespoke, I did not purchase them, and they elude my collection at the moment. Either waaaay too small or unwearable from age. The work is stunning. I love your stories about the 64 SPI and the challenges involved in even the possibility of making that a reality. Such great stuff.
By the way, I dream one day of getting on that waiting list of yours and commissioning a beautifully made and period-correct 1920's/ 1930's-style Oxford Spade! Gotta get those kids some college scholarships first, but I am SURE those shoes would be a true jewel in my collection.