As I reported previously, the 13th century copy of the Magna Carta displayed until this year in the U.S. National Archives will be auctioned by Sotheby's on December 18th. As the sale approaches, Sotheby's rhetoric is ratcheting up: according to the Associate Press, vice chairman David Redden calls it "the most important document in the world. ... It is a document to learn from, and also a symbol, an icon, a holy grail -- all of those. It is one of those touchstones of culture." They expect it to sell for $20-30 million.
Iconic books are texts revered as objects of power rather than just as words of instruction, information, or insight. In religious and secular rituals around the globe, people carry, show, wave, touch and kiss books and other texts, as well as read them. This blog chronicles such events and activities. (For more about iconic books, see the links to the Iconic Books Project at left.)