Czech sales of Sistine Chapel copies to set record

A unique book called Sistine Chapel, initiated by the Vatican Museums, has gone on presale in the Czech Republic. The limited three-volume edition was published worldwide in only 1999 copies, with 100 available on the Czech market. The Czech edition will cost 229,000 crowns in pre-sale and 339,000 in regular sale, which makes it the most expensive book ever to appear for sale in the Czech Republic.

Photo: Euromedia GroupPhoto: Euromedia Group The book entitled Sistine Chapel consists of three volumes offering a complete documentation of the Sistine Chapel wall paintings. The Vatican plans to use the proceeds from the book for the planned reconstruction of the Sistine Chapel. Each of the buyers can have their names added to a list of donors that will be part of the third volume.

Zdeněk Novák is the marketing director of Euromedia Group, which is publishing the book in the Czech Republic:

“The Vatican Museum Scripta Maneant will donate part of the income to the maintenance of the Sistine Chapel. The winners will get an individual tour of the chapel outside the regular opening hours.”

The three-volume edition weighs 30 kilogrammes and it includes an ownership certificate and a pair of protective gloves for handling the rare issue. Czech buyers can choose the number of their issue out of the numbers ranging from 701 to 800.

According to Martin Vopěnka, the head of the Association of Czech Booksellers, modern limited editions are currently “in” and customers are ready to pay considerable amounts of money for them.

“The sale of some antique editions, such as old prints from 16th century, is currently stagnating, in spite of the fact that their reprint is impossible. On the contrary, new limited editions such as this one are very popular and some of their prices exceed the price of some of the old prints, which are 400 or 500 years old.”

Photo: Euromedia GroupPhoto: Euromedia Group The most expensive publications ever to be sold worldwide was the Book of Psalms, which was auctioned off in Sotheby’s for more than 14 million US dollars, or some 340 million crowns. The book allegedly dates to 16th century and there are only eleven copies available around the world.

Euromedia Group representatives say they expect all of the one hundred Czech copies of Sistine Chapel to be sold within the pre-sale. All buyers are to obtain the book on December 1. The most expensive book on Czech market can only be bought via the Internet on www.luxusniknihovna.cz.