Saturday, January 28, 2012

Most Expensive Books In The World


01. "Leicester Code," Leonardo da Vinci (The Codex Leicester, Leonardo da Vinci)




$ 30.8 million in 1994, the auction Christies ($ 44,6 million in current prices *).


Notebook entries by Leonardo da Vinci, made during his life in Milan in 1506-1510, respectively. The manuscript consists of 18 sheets of paper covered on both sides and folded in such a way that together they formed a 72-page book. Leonardo notes written in a special way, his own "mirror" type - they can be read only by means of a mirror. Entries are devoted to various events, mused about the nature of which Leonardo: why the moon is shining, why and how the water flows in rivers, where are the fossils of which are minerals and so on. Notebook also contains a large number of mathematical calculations, diagrams and drawings. "Leicester" code was named after the Earl of Leicester, who bought the manuscript in 1717. In 1980, the book's heirs Lester bought the famous industrialist, collector and friend of the Soviet Armand Hammer, after which he served for a short period called the "Code Hammer» (Codex Hammer). After his death in 1994 the code was put up for auction, in which was acquired by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and he regularly exhibited in museums in the picture.




02. "Gospel of Henry the Lion"




 $ 12.4 million in 1983, the auction Sothebys ($ 26,7 million in current prices). 


The manuscript includes the four Gospels, has 226 pages, decorated in a unique style of the monks and novices Helmarshauzen Benedictine abbey. After the death of Henry the Lion manuscript was long considered lost. In the XIX century it was discovered in Prague, in 1861 it was purchased by George V, King of Hanover, which is considered the founder of Henry the Lion. Five years later, George V was deposed and fled to Austria, and among other things, took with him the manuscript. Next, trace the relics was again lost, but in 1983 an unknown seller put "The Gospel of Henry the Lion," at auction house Sothebys. During the auction, its owner has become Germany - participated in the financing of the purchase federal government, the governments of Bavaria and Lower Saxony, as well as fund "Prussian Cultural Heritage." In the present manuscript in the library named after the Duke August in Wolfenb├╝ttel (Germany).




03. "Birds of America", John James Audubon (The Birds of America, John James Audubon)




 $ 8.8 million in 2000, the auction Christies ($ 11 million in current prices). 


Its first edition was printed in the United States in 1827-1838, respectively, during this time it was released only about 200 copies printed in giant format, which he called the Audubon «double elephant folio »- each page has 50 inches (127 cm) in height. Full copy of" Birds of America "includes 435 hand-painted prints of engravings size of 90 to 60 cm, on which birds are depicted life-size. It is now known about the existence of 119 total copies of "Birds of America", 108 of them are stored in museums around the world and only 11 - in private collections. On the market these books come very rarely, and every such case the collectors of books regard as a sensation.




04. "Canterbury Tales", Geoffrey Chaucer (The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer).




$ 7.5 million in 1998, the auction Christies ($ 9,9 million in current prices).


Unique instance of the first edition of "Canterbury Tales" Geoffrey Chaucer, "father of English poetry," and one of the founders of English literature. The book was published in 1477 in the British pioneer printer William Caxton at Westminster Abbey. So far, only 12 survived the first edition known copies, of which only exhibited at Christies book is in a private collection. The book rich in its own story: her first appearance at auction belongs to the year 1776, when it was sold at Christies. In 1998, the book became the property of the London booksellers.




05. "Duke of Northumberland Bestiary» (The Northumberland Bestiar)




$ 5.85 million in 1990, the auction Sothebys ($ 9,6 million in current prices).


English bestiaries like the world was kept not more than 40, and they rarely come onto the market. As explained by experts at home Sothebys in 1990, before the bestiary was last auctioned in 1889. In addition, a copy of the Duke of Northumberland - the latter remained in private hands, and not in a museum collection.




06. Gutenberg Bible (The Gutenberg Bible)




 $ 5.4 million in 1987, the auction Christies ($ 10,2 at current prices). 


A unique copy of the Bible pioneer Johannes Gutenberg, the oldest extant book printed with movable type of the set. And it was her 42-line version of the format in folio (there is a later 36-line version, known as the Bamberg Bible). 42-line-known among bibliophiles Bible as the "Mazarin Bible", by the name of the cardinal and the first French minister Giulio Mazarin, in the securities of which in 1760 was first detected by the first copy of this Bible. According to the Museum of Gutenberg's just the beginning of the 1450-ies were printed about 180 copies of a 42-line-the Bible, of which survived to our day 48, including 21 - complete. Sold at Christies in 1987 Bible - is incomplete, it is only the first volume. Buyer was a Japanese Maruzen Corporation. Currently, this copy is kept in the library of Keio University.




07. "First Folio: comedy, tragedy and Chronicle," by William Shakespeare (William Shakespeares First Folio: Comedies, Histories and Tragedies).
$ 5.2 million in 2006, the auction Sothebys ($ 5,5 million in current prices). 




A copy of the first edition of the plays of William Shakespeare, published in 1623 by John and Henry Kondelom Hemet, participants Shakespearean troupe. "First Folio" - accepted among bibliophiles term to refer to the book, its full name - "Mr. William Shakespeare's comedy chronicles the tragedy. Printed with accurate and authentic texts. " The "First Folio" included 36 of Shakespeare's plays, almost all his plays, with the exception of "Pericles" and "Two notable relatives." So far, only 40 survived complete copies of the first edition of which in private hands are only two, including sold at Sothebys.




08. "On fruit trees," Henri Louis Duhamel du Monceau (Traite des Arbres Fruitiers, Henri Louis Duhamel du Monceau).




$ 4.5 million in 2006, Pierre Berge auction & Associes (Brussels) ($ 4.8 million at current prices).


A Treatise on the fruit trees the French physicist, chemist, agronomist, a member of the Academy of Sciences, Henri Louis Duhamel du Monceau (1700-1782). Beautifully designed two-volume illustrated by a number of famous artists of the period, representing 16 species of fruit trees, their fruits, leaves, seeds and fruit. This copy of the book was once bought a personal library of King Louis XV, for which it was printed in a particularly splendid form, with a gilt cover.




09. "Geography" ("Cosmography"), Ptolemy (Ptolemys «Geographia» (aka «Cosmographia»).




$ 3.99 million in 2006, Sothebys ($ 4,3 million in current prices). 


A rare instance of the world's first printed atlas, printed in 1477 in Bologna, Italy on samples of maps of the ancient Greek astronomer, mathematician and geographer Claudius Ptolemy 150 BC.




10. The Hebrew Bible (Hebrew Bible) 




$ 3.18 million in 1989, Sothebys ($ 5,5 million in current prices). 


In content, almost matches the Christian Old Testament. This copy is created in Babylon in the IX-X centuries AD. It is one of the oldest and most valuable manuscript of the Hebrew language.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

10 Rarest Flowers in the World


When spring is in full swing, there is no denying how beautiful the world looks. The trees get new leaves and with them come an array of colorful flowers. Here are the list of rare, endangered and in some cases extinct in the wild flowers. The reason most of these carry the title of rare, is because humans do not have the ability to work in perfect harmony with nature. Regardless of what drove them to become rarities, the following plants are far and few between, and having the opportunity to see one for yourself should be a celebrated occurrence.


10. Jade Vine - Strongylodon macrobotrys




The jade vine is a rare woody vine native to the tropical rainforests of the Philippines. It is a member of the pea and bean family and is closely related to kidney beans. The plant carries claw shaped flowers which grow from hanging trusses; they can reach up to three meters in length. The flower's color can vary from blue green to mint green. The species has proven extremely difficult to propagate, and is considered an endangered species due to the destruction of its habitat and a decrease in natural pollinators.


9. Corpse Flower - Rafflesia arnoldii




This fascinating flower is found mainly in low lying tropical rainforests of Indonesia. This is one of the world's rarest, most endangered and largest flowers and it can reach a total width of over a meter. The Rafflesia's survival is totally dependent on a specific vine called the Tetrastigma vine. As the Rafflesia is a bodiless, stemless, leafless, rootless parasite, it requires the vine for nourishment and support. It is also a carrion plant, which means that it releases a pungent rotten flesh smell when in bloom to attract flies and carrion beetles to aid in pollination. Once in bloom, the flower will only last about a week before dying.


8. Gibraltar Campion - Silene tomentosa




This species of Campion is particularly rare and is only found on the high cliffs of Gibraltar. This plant was believed extinct by the entire scientific community outside Gibraltar in the 1980s but the Gibraltar botanical section knew there were a few specimens left. Sadly, by 1992 all traces of the plant had vanished and it was declared extinct. In 1994 a single specimen was discovered by a climber on the inaccessible cliffs and the species came back to life. It was propagated at the millennium seed bank and specimens are grown at The Almeda Gibraltar Botanic Gardens as well as the Royal Botanic Gardens in London.


7. Franklin Tree - Franklinia alatamaha




This tree is a part of the tea family but is the sole species in its genus and a very rare flowering plant. The tree is native to the Altamaha river valley in Georgia, but has been extinct in the wild since the early 19th century. In fact this beautiful tree is only known today because of the Bartram family, who were avid horticulturists and propagated the tree before its extinction in the wild. The plant, which has fragrant white blooms and leaves that turn into a bright red color in fall, is now a popular ornamental plant. All the examples of this tree today stem from one of the trees propagated by the Bartram's.


6. Parrot's Beak - Lotus berthelotii




This is a beautiful flower that has been classed as exceedingly rare since 1884. It is believed to be completely extinct in the wild, but a few individuals might have survived. This stunning plant is endemic to the Canary Islands and is believed to have originally been pollinated by sunbirds, which have long since become extinct in the Canary Islands. This could help to explain the scarcity of the plant. Experiments have been undertaken to find new pollinators for the flowers, in hopes that they can successfully be reintroduced to the Islands, but as of 2008, no fruit had been successfully produced. The Parrot's beak is however cultivated in the horticulture trade, which can allow even you to own one!


5. Chocolate Cosmos - Cosmos atrosanguineus




This is a dark red to brown species of Cosmos, native to Mexico. Sadly it has been extinct in the wild for over a hundred years. The species survives today as a single non fertile clone, which was created in 1902 by vegetative propagation. The flowers which are produced by the plant are a rich deep red to brown color and grow to about 3-4 cm in diameter. The flowers have a lovely vanillin fragrance in the summer (also found in vanilla beans, some coffee beans and some cacao beans), which also makes it a wonderful ornamental plant.


4. Kokai - Kokai cookei




This is an extremely rare tree, endemic to Hawaii. It was discovered in 1860, at which time only three specimens could be found. The tree proved difficult to propagate, and by 1950, after the last seedling died, it was deemed extinct. In 1970 a sole survivor was found, which was sadly destroyed in a fire in 1978. Luckily one of the branches of that last remaining tree was saved, and grafted into 23 trees that exist today, all of which are situated in various places in Hawaii. The Kokai is a small tree that grows to about 10-11 meters high. Their most striking feature has to be the hundreds of bright red flowers that mature trees produce annually. Sadly that is a rarity which few will be privileged to see.


3. Yellow and Purple Lady Slippers - Cypripedium calceolus




This is an extremely rare type of wild orchid found across Europe. Britain's only example of this plant, which used to be more common and widespread, can be found on a golf course and has been under strict police protection since 1917. A single cutting can be sold for US$5000, which is shocking as the plant is very difficult to propagate. Its seeds bear no nourishment for the growing plant, so it lives in a symbiotic relationship with a specific type of fungus, which provides it with nourishment, until the adult leaves can produce enough nourishment for the plant, at which time the fungus will also live off it. There are many types of Lady slipper orchids, many of which are rare. This specific type, has dark purple to almost red brown tendrils with a bright yellow slipper or moccasin.


2. Ghost Orchid - Epipogium aphyllum




The Ghost orchid is a fascinating rare plant that was presumed extinct for almost 20 years, only recently did it rear its head again. The plant is so rare because it is basically impossible to propagate. It has no leaves, does not depend on photosynthesis and does not manufacture its own food. Like the Lady slipper, it needs a specific fungus in close contact with its root system, which feeds it. The Ghost orchid never grows leaves, and will therefore always depend on the fungus for its nourishment. The Ghost orchid can live underground for years, without showing any external signs and will only bloom when all conditions are optimum. This explains why some orchid enthusiasts search for years and years just to have a glimpse of this elusive flower.


1. Middlemist Red - Middlemist camellia




This is probably the rarest flowering plant in the world as there are only 2 known examples. One can be found in a garden in New Zealand and the other is situated in a greenhouse in Britain. The plant was originally brought to Britain from China by John Middlemist (after whom the plant was named) in 1804. It has since been completely wiped out in China. The plant in Britain remained barren for years and only started bearing flowers recently. The flowers are, contrary to its name, bright pink in color and look almost rose like. It is believed to be highly possible that more examples of this species has survived in people's gardens, unbeknown to them, as it was once sold directly to the public by John Middlemist.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Unanswered Questions



If all the nations in the world are in debt (am not joking. even US has got debts), where did all the money go? (weird)

When dog food is new and improved tasting, who tests it? (to be given a thought)

What is the speed of darkness? (absurd)

If the black box flight recorder is never damaged during a plane crash, why isn't the whole airplane made out of that stuff? (very good thinking)

Who copyrighted the copyright symbol? (who knows)
Can you cry under water? (let me try)

Why do people say, "you've been working like a dog" when dogs just sit around all day? (did they mean something else)

Why are the numbers on a calculator and a phone reversed? (God knows)
Do fish ever get thirsty? (let me ask and tell)

Can you get cornered in a round room? (by ones eyes)

Why do birds not fall out of trees when they sleep? (tonight i will stay and watch)

What came first, the fruit or the color orange? (seed)

If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, then what is baby oil made from? (No comments)

What should one call a male ladybird? (No comments)

If a person suffered from amnesia and then was cured would they remember that they forgot? (can somebody help)

Can you blow a balloon up under water? (yes u can)

Why is it called a 'building' when it is already built? (strange isn't it)

If you were traveling at the speed of sound and you turned on your radio would you be able to hear it? (got to think scientifically)

If you're traveling at the speed of light and you turn your headlights on, what happens? (i don't have a chance to try)

Why is it called a TV set when there is only one? (very nice)

If a person owns a piece of land do they own it all the way down to the core of the earth? (this is nice)

Why do most cars have speedometers that go up to at least 130 when you legally can't go that fast on any road? (stupid, break the law)
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