Start counting those pennies, a Spanish publisher is creating a facsimile edition of a cult book. There is a slight snag though, it has been written in a language that nobody can read.

The Voynich Manuscript is named after book collector Wilfred Voynich who claimed to have purchased the volume in 1912 as part of a collection of books belonging to Italian Jesuits. The identity of the author is a subject of debate, ranging from Roger Bacon to Da Vinci. About the size of a Penguin paperback, the 15th century book has 200 pages and depicts a range of unknown plant life, astrology and naked women. It has text in an elaborate calligraphy that remains undeciphered (excluding that Indiana Jones novel, of course).

Yale University, custodians of the manuscript, have allowed it to be “cloned” because of the number of scholars who wish to view the book. Publisher Siloe has also gone to great lengths to recreate the vellum used in the original. They have created a special paste to mimic the parchment and will use a variety of techniques to age pages and simulate imperfections.


Adding to the mystique, they will only be printing 898 copies which will sell for up to €8,000 each. Pre-orders are filling up quickly.