The $30,000 Limited Edition Ferrari Book

alex atkins bookshelf booksIn October 2018, German publishing firm Taschen will debut their latest limited-edition book, Ferrari (Art Edition), for $30,000. The 514-page large format book, measuring 12.7 by 17 inches, features hand-stitched red leather covers adorned with a silver Ferrari logo and is limited to 250 copies. Even more remarkable is the book’s case, designed by industrial designer Marc Newson, made from aluminum, to mimic the red head valve covers of a Ferrari V-12 engine. The metal case, in turn, rests on a chrome stand that resembles — what else? — the exhaust pipes of a vintage Ferrari 12-cylinder race car. Think of it this way: it is expensive as a low-end car, but you can’t drive it. The book features stunning photos from the Ferrari archives, including many previously unpublished photographs, sketches, and rare documents.

If you cannot afford the $30,000 Art Edition, Taschen will be publishing a more affordable version, the Collector’s Edition, for a mere $6,000. That edition will come with the red aluminum case, but not the elaborate stand. Interestingly, $30,000 for a limited edition Ferrari book is a steal, when you consider that in 2011, the legendary car company published a very rare and expensive book, The Official Ferrari Opus, that featured the Ferrari logo encrusted with 30 diamonds for a staggering $275,000. Now that’s what you call sticker shock.

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Most Expensive American Book

George Washington’s annotated copy of the Constitution and Bill of Rights (1789) sold for $9.8 million dollars at an auction held at Christie’s New York on June 22, making this book the most expensive American book sold at auction. Despite its age — 223 years — the book, printed by Francis Childs and John Swaine, is in remarkable condition and highly coveted since it contains not only Washington’s extensive margin notes but also his signature and armorial bookplate. The book had been originally purchased at auction by collector H. Richard Dietrich, Jr. in 1964. Prior to that, the book had been owned by the Heritage Foundation that bought the book at auction back in 1876 from its original home, the Mount Vernon library.

The bidding for the book began at $1.3 million and within four minutes the hammer came down on an astonishingly high bid by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association of the Union, a nonprofit educational organization that owns and operates George Washington’s home and museum. Apparently, these ladies really know how to shop — and price was no object since they paid $6 million more than the book’s original estimated price of $2-3 million.

The second highest price for an American book or document was $3.4 million paid in February 2009 for an autograph manuscript of Abraham Lincoln’s 1864 victory speech. Next on the list is $3.2 million paid in December 2009 for an autograph letter regarding the ratification of the Constitution written by George Washington in 1787 to his nephew, Bushrod Washington.

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Movies of the 2000s

No publisher covers the world of cinema and art like Taschen. Since 1980, Taschen (founded by Benedikt Taschen in Cologne, Germany) has been dedicated to publishing beautiful, high quality, and large format books at affordable prices. Their mainstream titles on fine arts, graphic design, architecture, fashion design and film are some of the most successful titles compared with their lesser known provocative and  prurient titles. Taschen is well known for recently publishing one of the most expensive books in publishing history — GOAT (Greatest of All Time) — a massive book honoring the massive ego of American boxer Muhammad Ali. Weighing in at 75 pounds, this lavish 700 page book sets you back a whopping $15,000 (apparently for founder Benedikt Taschen “affordable” is a relative term). This book, like other notable Taschen books, shatters the conventional boundary of what constitutes a book: in the world of Taschen, the book IS the art. GOAT could easily find a home in a museum or a library.

Fortunately film aficionados don’t need to pony up that kind of dough to have access to books that offer a comprehensive catalog of cinema’s greatest films. Jurgen Muller, chair for art history at the University of Dredan, has been the editor for Taschen’s Movies-by-the-decade series since 2001. The series now consists of 8 volumes beginning with the Movies of the 20s and ends with the recently published, Movies of the 2000s.

Each volume is beautifully designed and contains entries for every major movie made in that particular decade. Each film entry is about 6 pages and contains film credits, production stills that capture the essence of the film, short commentaries and biographies, excerpts from noteworthy reviews, and best of all — memorable film quotations. Cinema aficionados will devour the book — however most likely not in one sitting. Movies of the 2000s covers slightly over 100 films in 864 pages (it weighs about six pounds.) Settle in and bring plenty of popcorn.

Movies of the 2000s edited by Jurgen Muller, Taschen (2012).