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A Guide to the Best of Southern California : COLLECTIBLES : Small Words

Small wonder that people tend to judge miniature books by their covers. “It would be a difficult thing indeed to read them,” says James Lorson, owner of Lorson’s Books and Prints in Fullerton.

To qualify as a miniature, a book must be 3 inches or smaller. Lorson carries hundreds of these volumes, including a line of micro-minis--made to fit dollhouses--that scarcely span an inch. Although tiny, the books are often finely crafted and their print is legible. “They’re just little works of art,” says Lorson’s wife, Joan.

Some miniatures have gold-stamped leather covers, hand-painted illustrations and tiny calligraphy. Among the bookstore’s prized offerings: a 45-volume set of Sherlock Holmes for $1,200, three volumes of Shakespeare printed in calligraphy for $1,250 and a 1782 English almanac with an elaborate tooled-leather cover and engraved illustrations for $450.

Its smallest book: “Old King Cole!,” printed in 1985 on pages measuring 1 square millimeter. It must be read with a magnifying glass. “That’s where it gets ridiculous,” James Lorson says.

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Lorson’s Books and Prints, 116 W. Wilshire Ave., Fullerton; (714) 526-2523.


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