Good Reading : June 2009
‘If I wanted a book that was going to last and people could keep, then [I needed to] make it so valuable that it is respected and held in reverence,’ says Cheers. ‘So that’s why I decided to make it a limited edition.’ To achieve this, he made sure that Earth will endure. Metal corners were added to the cover and the edges of the pages were gilded in silver to prevent air from getting in. In March, this year, Longueville Media launched limited edition works from the Italian publishing house Treccani. The editions included a ‘Masterpieces of Italian Culture’ series and Medieval facsimile editions. The ‘masterpieces’ includes 1000 copies each of Florence and Venice, featuring the arts and sculptures of the two Italian cities. The facsimiles include 750 editions of the Book of Hours containing The Military Codex of Christopher Columbus and The Book of Hours of Margaret of Austria and Alessandro de’Medici, which each have a full-page miniature, twenty illuminated initials decorated with gold paste, gold powder and gold leaf. The books cost $3850 each and the facsimiles range from $12 500 to $26 500. While the prices may be out of reach for many, Longfield says that their allure is difficult to resist. ‘There is the scarcity and romance of a limited edition [book],’ he says. ‘It does take you back to those days when people hand made books and there was one of them and it was unique and you possibly knew the person who made it.’ Ken Duncan, an Australian panoramic landscape photographer who published a limited edition of The Ken Duncan Collection, agrees. ‘To me that’s what books used to be,’ he says. ‘Unfortunately, for our generation, books are a dime a dozen [but] in the old days, books used to be something very special, where you had artists create them.’ A limited edition book, he adds, can also become a family heirloom. Duncan’s father was a missionary in the 1940s and 50s and took dozens of beautiful photographs with his blackand-white camera. Duncan is creating a book of his father’s work, one each for himself and his two sisters and his father. ‘It is a beautiful way to tell a story,’ he says. Duncan has been commissioned to create another limited edition book for a sheikh in Abu Dhabi. He says that it will be an expensive production, with jewels encrusted in the cover. ‘It will only be for him, and for the people that he wants to give a copy to,’ says Duncan. One important element of limited editions is that they are a good investment. Like any valuable and rare item, their prices often increase with time. Shaw keeps his collection of limited edition Sebald books in a special corner in his house. ‘I would take them out of the shelf sort of once or twice a year and just have a look at them, just to remember what they look like,’ he laughs. ‘In terms of their value, the condition is rather important.’ While many limited edition books are beyond the price range of most people, it is not only the wealthy who collect them. A particular passion about a subject could trigger the collecting bug and off you go. However, once you start, it is sometimes difficult to stop. Although Martin Shaw completed his Sebald collection, David Berkelouw has a word of caution for would-be collectors. ‘I think what happens with collecting is that you are always trying to complete the collection,’ says Berkelouw. ‘It is almost like a never-ending cycle.’ For more information or to book, visit bestwestern.com.au or bestwestern.co.nz or call 131 779 (Aust) or 0800 237 893 (NZ) JUNE 2009 ı goodreading 27 Where will you wake up next? Wherever your travels take you, Best Western is your guarantee of quality accommodation and service. More than 200 hotels, apartments and resorts throughout Australia and New Zealand.