Spears, John R. The History of our Navy from its Origin to the Present Day, 1775-1897 (Four volume set); With more than four hundred illustrations, maps and diagrams. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1897. First Edition.
Four volumes in blue cloth with silver titles, 5 1/2 x 8 inches, xxii., 416, xvi., 425, xvi., 471, xxii., 607 pp. plus plates. This is a complete set with the general index in the last volume. The set is in fine clean condition apart from one defect: the front cover of vol. iii. has two small holes punched into it, one of which penetrates through the preliminary matter to several pages of text. It looks like the work of an awl or small nail (see pictures below). Very good. Hardcover. 
John Randolph Spears (1850-1936), born in Ohio, American journalist and author. Spears authored several books on naval themes, including The History of our Navy, The American Slave Trade, David G. Farragut, The Story of New England Whalers, The Story of the American Merchant Marine, and Master Mariners.
This set received a glowing review in the New York Times for February 12, 1898, where it was noted that the author had discovered many details and incidents previously unknown, and that the illustrations reproduced many rare and valuable drawings, old prints, and lithographs. "There have been histories of the United States Navy written before, but none as complete, as full of detail, and so well compiled and illustrated as this of Mr. Spears."
This is the original four-volume set. Spears later wrote a fifth volume, The War With Spain, not included here.
This is the front of vol. iii. with the small holes.
This is what the small holes look like inside the book. They go through the table of contents and there is either a small hole, pinprick, or indentation at that spot on the first 20 pp. of text.