Books are windows to the world. The written word opens our minds to explore what surrounds us. And aside from content, how the word is displayed plays a role in how we value it. For example, tiny books were originally created hundreds of years ago for the convenience of carrying one’s library, secretly or otherwise. With the advent of mass publishing and now the digitized word, these antique and contemporary works in miniature are but intriguing curiosities, worthy of a place in a wunderkammer.

The history of miniature books has been covered in this magazine here. However, one publisher, author, and artist stands above the talented producers and writers of books in miniature. For a quarter of a century, Barbara Raheb typed, cut, sewed, colored, stamped, and pressed nearly 140,000 handmade micro-miniature books – 530 separate titles. Her work is world-renown. For medical reasons, she’s retired now, having closed her Pennyweight Press for good around 10 years ago. But still, her prolific legacy for quality works in classics stands firm.




One of her more significant works is an original book titled, The Haunted House. This was a milestone publication she created in 1992, which contained 16 pages, each hand colored with German water based pastel sticks. What’s more, six of the tiny pages contain intricate cuts to create pop-up animations, for most a process guaranteed to bring on permanent madness. Fortunately, this was successfully avoided by producing only 25 bound examples rather than her typical run of 300. This is one of her most sought-after books, with collector demand elevating its retail price close to the lofty $1,000 mark. It is a testament to Barbara’s unique skills, and an impressive addition to a contemporary wunderkammer.  
 
The Haunted House
Pennyweight Press - 1992
     
     

   

"The Haunted House" Miniature Book
Author: Barbara Raheb
Date: 1992
Publisher: Pennyweight Press, United States
Dimensions: 1 1/8" x 3/4"
Provenance: Lorson's Bookstore, California - Direct purchase

Miniature book prices vary considerable, depending on date and quantity published, and popular demand. The micro-miniature works of Barbara Raheb range from $100 for large printings of the works of Doyle's Sherlock Holmes to over $1,000 for rare hand-colored pop-up books of under 25 examples published.

     

References: Antique United States Miniature Books 1690-1900 - Bradbury - 2001

 
         
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