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$30.8 Million Dollars



Late Italian Book Artist's "Codex"
Sells for $30 Million.

You spend days, weeks, months in your studio creating a
bookwork to be proud of. Your peers lavish praise, it
draws a crowd at the gallery, but no one steps up to
purchase your work. Is there no market for hand crafted
books?

Take heart. It appears there are a few well-healed
collectors out there with a keen interest in books made
by artists. The richest person in America happens to be
among them. On November 11, 1994, he outbid an Italian
bank to purchase a 72-page, one-of-a-kind bookwork for
30.8 million dollars--by far the highest price ever
paid for a book or manuscript.

The book is one of a series of 20 or so "notebooks." It
consists of 18 sheets folded into 72 pages. It contains
360 sketches and drawings in brown ink utilizing the
margins around the artist's distinctive style of
writing--alla mancina--written from right to left using
a mirror.

The artist? Well, he was a true Renaissance man. He
made a name for himself as a painter, sculptor and
architect before he began to create books. Possessed
with a deep curiosity about the natural world, his work
blends scientific precision with consummate artistry.

For those of you still amazed at the high $30 million
price tag (a Gutenberg Bible sold for about one-sixth
that amount in 1987), keep in mind that it is a very
rare opportunity when a bookwork by this artist becomes
available. None had been offered for sale on the open
market since 1850.

And it must be said that this artist scores fairly high
in name recognition. The book artist in question is
Leonardo da Vinci and his recently sold codex was
completed in the early 16th-century, not long after he
had finished work on the Mona Lisa.


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