Miniature Book News #107: 2000 December Page: 5

Neale then read about Kal Levitan,
whom he wrote in the pursuit of more
minis. After a long period Levitan
called Neale from Florida and invited
him to come to Ohio to select and
buy. Neale went, stayed with Levitan
and did purchase some 300 mostly
doll size minis. But at that visit Levitan
talked him into a much wider selection.
Neale became addicted!
Neale likes to complete a whole series,
such as the Kundig group. (Kundig
was a Swiss publisher whose output
spanned 44 separate titles of 1" books
in a series called "minuscules.") He
has all of this series, published in
Switzerland mostly in the 1970s and
80s. The "chase" particularly interests
him, and he is wont to search on the

In another instance, Neale had seen
a tiny (c. 2" square) needlework work
of art depicting a vase of flowers,
in England. Neale's wife Margaret
prevailed upon Sue Bakker to sell it
to her for Neale's birthday gift, then
had a binder design a binding with
the needlework inset in the leather
front cover.
Neale now has commissioned and
assembled about 110 such bindings
from around the world. His current
goal is to reach about 125, then do
an exhibit and perhaps a book (full

Amazing how
to big projects!

little things can lead

In 1995, Boston book dealer Anne Bromer
gave him a copy of her colorful
catalogue of 35 miniature books in
designer bindings. Beguiled, Neale
set out to build his own collection
of Designer Bindings.
Neale obtained the current published
list of the English group of Designer
Bookbinders. He wrote or called the
Master-Binder members. Many had
never done a miniature book and were
intrigued. So Neale would send them
usually unbound miniature books, mostly
contemporary but some antiquarian,
on a given subject. The binder would
then create a design to fit the subject.
A book about birds, for example, might
elicit a binding with a design of birds
crafted in colorful leather inlay on
front & back covers.
It is difficult to describe these beautiful
works of art-you have to see them
to really appreciate them. A few
are depicted below in black & white,
which do not do justice to these marvels.
For example, Neale saw a Cosway
binding and he immediately got in
touch with a Spanish binder to craft
a miniature version, with miniature
portraits by John Hodgson, a British
miniaturist (of furniture) and painter.
In the early 1900s, Cosway bindings
were made by the renown firm of
Riviere in goatskin leather with
miniature watercolor portrait paintings,
usually round shaped, often on ivory,
inset into the center of the front and/or
back covers.

# # #
One of the fascinating things about the
miniature book world is coming across
examples one would not find in the regular
book world. A case in point was brought to
our attention by Gerritt K. VanDewerker,
copy editor of Maine Antiaue Diaest in
Waldoboro, Maine.
VanDewerker writes that he happened
upon a rather spectacular mini-book
curiosity when he grabbed an auction
catalogue of watches by mistake. Leafing
through the catalogue he found an entry
and photographs of a "book-shaped watch
locket containing a miniature Koran (lot
259) ... auctioned in Geneva,Switzerland
by Antiquorum on 15 October 2000 for SFr
130,000 (including buyer's premium),
somewhere around US $75,400. I would
imagine most of the value was in the
timepiece, not the miniature book."
VanDewerker said that he happened to
come across this item while confirming the
description of another watch sold by
Antiquorum that was mentioned in an

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Edison, Julian I. Miniature Book News #107: 2000 December, periodical, 2000; St. Louis, Missouri. ( accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library,; crediting UNT Libraries Rare Book and Texana Collections.