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Originally published November 26, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified November 26, 2008 at 6:59 AM

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62-pound, marble-bound $100k "Michelangelo" book on display

It's billed as the world's most expensive, most beautiful new book. Valued at more than $100,000, a 62-pound handmade tome depicting the...

NEW YORK — It's billed as the world's most expensive, most beautiful new book.

Valued at more than $100,000, a 62-pound handmade tome depicting the life and work of Michelangelo Buonarroti has arrived at the New York Public Library, fresh from publication in Italy.

The velvet-and-marble-bound book will go on public display Tuesday.

The copy on display was donated to the library, but more than 20 books have been sold.

"I love books," Marilena Ferrari, the Italian publisher who produced the book, said in a telephone interview from Bologna, Italy, where she's president of a company, FMR, which publishes fine books about art.

The book, "Michelangelo. La Dotta Mano," or "The Learned Hand," has a front cover made of white marble from Michelangelo's favorite quarry, in Carrara. The binding is covered with a red silk velvet handmade by the same Italian shop that made the main stage curtains at The Metropolitan Opera and Milan's Teatro Alla Scala.

The book is filled with photographs of Michelangelo's sculptures and plates of his drawings, plus images of other creations, from the Sistine Chapel ceiling to his personal poetry.

The text is by Michelangelo biographer Giorgio Vasari.

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