Miniature Hebrew Bible, ca. 1850
Appraised Value: $1,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (-1:-5:54)
Books & Manuscripts
Ken Sanders Rare Books
GUEST: Well, my great-great- grandfather was a rabbi, and it was his, and that's almost all I know about it, except that my dad kept it in the safe and would never let me touch it when I was growing up, so...
APPRAISER: And you tried to touch it a lot?
GUEST: Oh, yes.
APPRAISER: Apparently you were unsuccessful, because it's in very, very good condition. It's a beautiful mid-19th century Hebrew Bible. This is a little magnifier to see the front cover of it. And then I think we ought to, to give an idea of just how tiny this text is, we can open it up to just a random two pages. I don't think we're going to try and attempt to read this here today.
GUEST: Uh, I don't think... You won't get any help from me, anyway.
APPRAISER: It's part of a whole tradition of miniature bookmaking that goes back centuries. And the tinier they get, the more complex their production values are, and they're very, very difficult to make and read. And people for ages have been absolutely charmed by the whole concept of miniature books in general. People just love, especially with Bibles, to see how can we get the word of God into the head of a pin. And it's just this fascination people have with how many words can they fit in a smaller and smaller text. What time frame would it have been with your great-grandfather?
GUEST: Oh, my gosh.
APPRAISER: Where would he have lived then?
GUEST: In Russia.
APPRAISER: In Russia?
APPRAISER: The Bible, interestingly enough, is printed in Poland, in Warsaw. The Bible is undated, but it's approximately from the 1840s to the 1850s, and again it's an example of just a terrific little miniature book. To put a monetary value on it, at retail it would be worth approximately $1,000.
GUEST: I thank you so much.
APPRAISER: My pleasure. This little book speaks volumes.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2013 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.