In 2013, Sotheby’s sold a manuscript no larger than a sugar packet to La Musée des Lettres et Manuscrits in Paris for over a million dollars. The author? British novelist Charlotte Brontë. This tiny volume by Brontë is one of a set of six handwritten “Young Men’s Magazines,” considered to be a rare insight into the author’s early development. To collectors, miniature books are simply irresistible. Fitting in the palm of your hand, the pages and binding intricately designed with details not easily seen without a magnifying glass, miniature books are magnets for media attention, frequently appearing on blogs and on Pinterest. Some were commissioned for dollhouses, others made to be easily transported or concealed. Some volumes have come from great icons of literature. Here are a few special publications, none of which measure over 3 inches in height.
1. The 1.5 by 2.5 inch manuscript handwritten by a young Charlotte Brontë that sold for over a million dollars at auction last year and is less than 20 pages long.
2. Todd Pattinson created this small collection as an art project in 2009. Making the library, Pattinson was able to bind the same number of books in one night that would otherwise take a year or more.
3. A passion for meticulously detailed dollhouses led Neale Albert to assemble a collection of 4,000 miniature books.
4. Tiny books are for the sportsman too. “A Book of Small Flies” preserves fishing flies under glass. It’s featured in this slideshow of the most beautiful miniature books.
5. Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edith Wharton and other celebrated authors of the time were commissioned in 1922 to create tiny books for a dollhouse belonging to Queen Mary, wife of King George V.