Dick Johnson submitted these thoughts on a rather expensive (non-numismatic) book. -EditorWe are concerned as numismatic book prices are rising to $100 and more. Our field is no contest to art books, where a book on Michelangelo sells for $100,000 -- not as a rare antique -- but a newly published, necessarily limited edition.
Twenty have been sold and it takes six months to hand-produce a single copy. It is filled with photographs and commentary from credible authorities. The subject is Italian, the authorities are Italian, the publisher is Italian. The 62-pound book is a masterpiece of Italian craftsmanship, from the photography, to the special silk and velvet binding.
Of numismatic interest is the bas-relief front cover -- it could be the model for a plaquette by the Renaissance master. The bas-relief is in marble, Carrara marble, that's Italy's best, as is every stitch in the binding. It seems a buyer really gets his money's worth at a hundred grand. The New York Public Library bought a copy. Publicity pictures show the rare book curator holding the Library's copy. In white gloves, of course.
The title is Una Dotta Mono or "The learned hand." Michelangelo would have liked being called that.
My local paper ran a picture of the bas-relief cover, but here is the picture from the New York Public Library: Would you pay $100,000 for a book? (http://blogs.suntimes.com/bookroom/2008/11/
THE BOOK BAZARRE
Wayne Homren, Editor
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