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Miniature Book Auction Scheduled

In the news...

12:56 PM ET 01/21/00

Miniature Book Auction Scheduled

           LONDON (AP) _ A Bible the width of a thumbtack head is the
smallest item up for sale in a rare auction of over 4,000 miniature
           The smallest of the small, measuring 3/16 inch in height and
width, is an Old Testament in German. The printed words are so
small they appear as dots until read with a magnifying glass.
           ``We are still investigating when it was published but probably
it is late 19th or early 20th century,'' said Mark Ghahramani of
Christie's auction house.
           The tiny tome is expected to sell for $800 to $1,280 on March 10
in London.
           ``Book auctions sometimes include a few miniatures but a sale
devoted to them is unusual and we have not had one since 1979,''
Ghahramani said.
           The 4,000 little books dating from the 16th century to the 1990s
were collected by Irene Winterstein, who was born in 1925. She kept
them in display cabinets at her home in Zurich, Switzerland.
           When she was 15 she bought a 1-inch by 2-inch black notebook to
use as a diary. She was so fascinated that it led to a lifelong
pursuit of miniature printed books.
           During the Cold War, she found rare ones in Eastern Europe and
would buy them with desired commodities like coffee and bed linen
when foreign currency was unacceptable.
           The Winterstein collection became internationally known and was
examined by experts and collectors worldwide. It is being sold by
her sons and is expected to bring in at least $320,000.

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