- A fine copy of one of the most desirable early miniature books, w. the following (sm.) defects: lacks lower part (0,4 cm.) of the backstrip; joints split; weak on 1 inner hinge.
= Welsh 1306; Bondy p.20; Horodisch, über Bücher kleinsten Formats (offprint) p.24f; The Collection of Miniature Books form by Arthur A. Houghton, Jr. (Christie's 1979), no.160. "Of even greater curiosity value, perhaps, is a volume the size of a finger-nail which was printed by Smidt in 1674, probably in Amsterdam, a town to which Benedikt Smidt had moved from Middelburg in 1673. It is the Bloem-Hofje by C. van Lange which for over 200 years was to remain the smallest printed book in existence. (...) Horodisch, in an article, Über Bücher kleinsten Formats mentions that the production of such a tiny volume was only made possible through a trick. The text was printed in double spreads on one side of the paper only and then stuck together. Nevertheless, the end product is staggering and its significance (...) is underlined by the fact that the few known copies are all magnificently bound in gilt-tooled red leather with a finely chased gold clasp. They must have made stunning presents perhaps for a lady love, and have undoubtely helped to awaken a passion for miniature books in many future collectors" (Bondy). "Up to the end of the 19th century, this had been the smallest book ever printed, until the publication in 1896 of the even smaller Galileo Letter, at Padua. (...) Benedikt Smidt (...) probably produced this mini-miniature as a show-piece to demonstrate his technical ability. (...) The book was not sewn, but pasted into the binding. Very few copies are known. A collector describes her own rebound copy in News-Letter of the 64mos 21 (1929), adding: 'aside the copy (...) in the G. Salomon collection in Paris [i.e. the Houghton copy], I have heard only of one other copy, reported to have been sold in Germany about 1900'." (Christie's cat. Houghton Collection). The remarkable golden container possibly Swiss (Geneva?), with 2 (unidentified) goldmarks on the inside. SEE ILLUSTRATION PLATE CXXIII.