This book is a perfect example of supply and demand. It's similar to Audubon's "Birds of America" in that it's a collection of Fyodor Solntsev's paintings. Instead of birds, Solntsev painted old suits of armor, architecture, religious icons, clothing and costumes worn by nobles and other culturally significant Russian treasures. The paintings were then collected and published as a seven-volume set in 1844. Here's where the supply part comes in: Only 600 sets were made [source: Kremlin].
The rarity of the work and lushness of the paintings alone make this book valuable, but in recent years, the Russian aristocracy has grown quite a bit. That new cash flow has increased demand for the few complete sets of "Drevnosti Rossiskago Gosudarstva" (the Russian title) still in existence. In 2006, a full set sold for $748,000 [source: Forbes].
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- Eaves, Elisabeth. "The 10 Most Expensive Books Of 2006." Forbes, Jan. 16, 2007. (May 4, 2010) http://www.forbes.com/2007/01/16/most-expensive-books-tech-media-cx_ee_books06_0116expensivebooks.html
- Harry Ransom Center. "The Printing of the Bible." University of Texas at Austin. (May 3, 2010) http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/permanent/gutenberg/html/4.html
- Jergovic, Miljenco. "The act of saving the Sarajevo Haggadah as Australian soap opera." Bosnian Institute, Dec. 7, 2009. (May 4, 2010) http://www.bosnia.org.uk/news/news_body.cfm?newsid=2652
- Kirk, Connie Ann. "Edgar Allan Poe's rare 'Tamerlane and Other Poems' sells for $662,500 in Christie's auction." Examiner.com. Dec. 4, 2009. (May 4, 2010)http://www.examiner.com/x-22219-Literature-Examiner~y2009m12d4-Edgar-Allan-Poes-rare-Tamerlane-and-Other-Poems-sells-for-662500-in-Christies-auction
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- Moscow Kremlin. "'Antiquities of the Russian State' in oeuvre of F.G. Solntsev." (May 4, 2010) http://www.kreml.ru/en/main/virtual/exposition/Solntsev/
- Poetry @ Harvard. "Poetry in French." (May 4, 2010) http://www.poetry.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k40344&panel=icb.pagecontent473046%3Ar%241%3Fname%3Dmedieval.html&pageid=icb.page239940&pageContentId=icb.pagecontent473045&view=view.do&viewParam_name=rimbaud.html
- Princeton Audubon. "Original Audubon/Havell Birds of America Prints." (May 4, 2010) http://www.princetonaudubon.com/audubon_original_birds_of_americ.htm
- Zubrinic, Darko. "The Sarajevo Haggadah." CroatianHistory.net. (May 4, 2010) http://www.croatianhistory.net/etf/hagg.html
HowStuffWorks takes a look at the genesis and expansion of the Little Free Library Movement started by Todd Bol in 2009.