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Would you pay $100,000 for a book?

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You'd need a pretty sturdy coffee table to house the New York Public Library's latest acquisition: a 62-pound, velvet- and marble-bound volume on the life and work of Michelangelo.

The handmade book -- Michelangelo: La Dotta Mano, which took six months to make and is valued at more than $100,000 -- was donated by Italian publisher Marilena Ferrari this week and will go on display next Tuesday. About 20 have been sold.


Michelangelo Book
Michael Inman (left), curator of rare books, and Myriam deArteni, exhibition conservator, turn the pages of Michelangelo: La Dotta Mano during a press
preview at the New York Public Library.
(Bebeto Matthews/AP)


''I love books,'' Ferrari told the Associated Press. ''Books are being destroyed by the Internet, they're losing their identity -- it's the modern, Internet version of burning books. Today, things last so little before they disappear."

The book is filled with photographs of Michelangelo's sculptures and plates of his drawings, plus images of other creations, from the Sistine Chapel ceiling to his personal poetry. The text is by Michelangelo biographer Giorgio Vasari, with an essay by the director of the Vatican Museums, Antonio Paolucci.

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