The Miniature Arabian Nights

Speaking of small books, miniature books are a whole collecting interest of its own.  The Miniature Book Society (USA) defines a miniature book as one which is no larger than three inches (75mm) in height, width, or thickness.  By that definition, Aladdin of the previous entry would not qualify as a miniature book. Miniature books are hotly collected and can sell for thousands of dollars.

While I do not collect miniatures I do collect Arabian Nights and various versions of the Nights have been produced as miniature books.  I therefore have a few miniatures in my collection.  The mini-miniatures are produced for doll house afficionados.  These are typically around 25mm (1 inch) in size. They come in a couple of styles.

1.  Solid pieces with just a paper cover.  These can be a small piece of wood with a cover pasted on.  Obviously, the ‘book’ cannot be opened.  They are an inexpensive method of creating a book case of actual books for a doll house.

2.  An actual book with pages, but the pages can be blank, can have text-like, unreadable pages, illustrations and/or have actual, readable text (even if it is under magnification).  The books can have covers made of various materials, e.g. paper, leather.  The really high end stuff gets into precious metals and jewels.

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, RahebAli Baba and the Forty Thieves was produced by Barbara J. Raheb. Raheb is a well known American miniature book publisher. Ali Baba is numbered and limited to 300 copies.  The text is too small for me to read, even with my glasses on. Under magnification there is a complete story there. My copy is bound in green leather with marbled end papers and gilt for the titles. Ali Baba contains 3 full page line drawings, unsigned.  It is 31 pages long and measures 24mm x 19mm and was published in 1980.

Aladdin, RahebAladdin and the Wonderful Lamp is another Raheb miniature. It is uniformly bound with Ali Baba, being bound in green leather, marbled end papers and gilt titles. Aladdin is 44 pages long.  It contains 5 unsigned full page line illustrations and measures 24mm x 19mm.  It was published in 1981.

My big problem with miniature books is where to shelve them in my library!  These are small books and would otherwise get lost in amongst the regular volumes.  Even the larger miniatures, those on the order of 75mm – 100mm (3-4 inches), are a problem.

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