0156 GMT May 21, 2022
The leather-bound work, measuring 5mm by 5mm – smaller than the end of a pencil – contains versions of the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ in Dutch, English, American English, French, German, Spanish and Swedish.
It had been valued between €1,000 and €1,500 but an anonymous buyer snapped it up at Arenberg Auctions in Brussels for €3,500, with additional costs bringing the price paid to €4,200, theguardian.com reported.
Henri Godts, the auctioneer, said: “The printed text is so minuscule that you cannot read it with the naked eye but need a strong magnifying glass.”
The book, titled, ‘The Lord’s Prayer,’ was one of a few hundred published in 1952 by the Gutenberg Museum, in Mainz, Germany, as part of a fundraising initiative to pay for the building’s reconstruction after the Second World War.
The institution is one of the world’s oldest printing museums, named after Johannes Gutenberg, who pioneered mechanical printing in Europe in the 15th century.
Godts said: “The copy has been in a collection for dozens of years and is kept in a jewel box as if it were a gem. You could even incorporate it into a transparent jewel and wear it around your neck, if you so wish.”
The book came with the metal printing plates used to make it.
There is a long history to the publication of miniature books. In Europe, many were produced in the 16th century as printers sought to test the technological limits of the presses, but there are examples from ancient Mesopotamia dating back to 2325 BCE.
According to the US-based Miniature Book Society, a miniature book “is no more than three inches in height, width, or thickness”. A book titled, ‘Teeny Ted’ from Turnip Town, measuring 70 micrometres by 100 micrometres, holds the Guinness World Record for being the smallest reproduction of a printed book. A micrometre is equivalent to 0.001mm.