Short List #3: Incunable Latin Bibles (the half-century of the birth of printing). Postage is extra at cost; insurance optional. Bibles are offered subject to prior sale. All Bibles legally remain the property of the seller until the purchase price has been paid in full.
A Leaf from the Gutenberg Bible
A Noble Fragment Being a Leaf of the Gutenberg Bible 1450 1455 with a bibliographical essay by A. Edward Newton. New York: Gabriel Wells, 1921. Folio, black morocco with gilt lettering, bit worn at head & tail, with a badly broken & defective slipcase. 6 printed leaves, with a leaf from II Samuel 15: 28 – 17:16 (with an old tape repair to the blank bottom inner margin); there are pencil notations on the verso of the blank leaf preceding the Bible leaf.
***The majority of single Gutenberg leaves which occasionally are available for sale are found in this format, having been extracted from a badly imperfect copy of the Gutenberg Bible. A.E.N speculates on the monetary value of “perfect Gutenberg Bible.” After making reference Mr. Huntington’s purchase of the Hoe copy on April 24th, 1911 at $50,000., he says that if such a Bible were again to come on the market “it might easily fetch several times this sum. He then imagines that “in the far-off future ...some sagacious man of wealth or richly endowed museum might gladly pay a million dollars for it.” In terms of inflation this is probably about half the current value of a perfect copy, but his is not a bad guess. However this is rather beyond what most can readily afford and consequently most Bible collectors are confined to a single leaf, and/or to one of the nice full color facsimile editions of the whole Bible. SOLD $65,000.
[BIBLE, in Latin] Biblia. [Basel: Johann Amerbach], 1481. Chancery folio, modern full calf [11 5/8” x 8¼”], ornately blindstamped; the first leaf (with the Prologue) is defective as to all margins (removing a letter or three from most lines of the inner column) and is neatly mounted. The initial letters of the first Prologue and of Genesis 1 have decorative penwork, highlighted in gold. There are marginal annotations in a contemporary hand on a couple pages. Lacks a i (blank) and a 3 & 4 (of the Prologue); B3 & 4 (at the end of Job) are bound in reverse order, as are B7 & 8 (in Psalms): a ii & 5-10, b-y10, A-T10, U12, X10 (The Prologue to Matthew begins on X1), Y10, 1-810, 98 (end of NT on verso of 98), The Index of Lessons: 108 (verso of 8 blank) The Interpretationes: 1112 12, 1311, lacking the final blank (with neat minor repairs to the bottom outer corner of the last few leaves). ***One of the earliest ‘Fontibus ex Graecis’ editions: see the note appended to Darlow & Moule 6083; See also the description of this edition in the British Museum General Catalogue of Printed Books Bible, Part I: Complete Bible and Old Testament (London: William Clowes and Sons Limited, 1936), column 28 (the final two segments, following the conclusion of the NT, are said to duplicate those in the Amerbach 1479 edition). ***Though with minor defects (including a slight vertical crease to the outer margin throughout and slight fraying to the upper outer margins of V2-4), quite a nice copy of an early 15th century Latin Bible. $18,000.
BIBLIA LATINA. [Basel: Johann Amerbach], 1481. Chancery folio, 17th century English calf, recently rebacked and recornered [12” x 8½”]; lacks a i (blank) and the final blank leaf at the rear; there are repairs to the bottom and outer margin of a ii (the first leaf of the Prologue) and a small hole toward the top of the outer column (removing a few letters of text); there are internal closed tears to q6 (I Chronicles 1 & 2); the book is fully rubricated (see picture) through the recto of B5 (the beginning of Psalm 3) and, again, from E1 (the beginning of the Prologue to Proverbs) through the recto of F10 (Sapientia 15), with the rest of the Bible unrubricated; a strip is neatly torn from the bottom margin of 116 (of the Interpretations) and of 1310 (of the Interpretation of Hebrew names); there is a small single wormhole in the text at the rear, ending in 97 (Revelation 7), as well a bit of minor worming to the last couple leaves: a ii & 5-10, b-y10, A-T10, U12, X10 (The Prologue to Matthew begins on X1), Y10, 1-810, 98 (end of NT on verso of 98), The Index of Lessons: 108 (verso of 8 blank) The Interpretationes: 1112 12, 1311, lacking the initial and final blank. ***One of the earliest ‘Fontibus ex Graecis’ editions: see the note appended to Darlow & Moule 6083; See also the description of this edition in the British Museum General Catalogue of Printed Books Bible, Part I: Complete Bible and Old Testament (London: William Clowes and Sons Limited, 1936), column 28 (the final two segments, following the conclusion of the NT, are said to duplicate those in the Amerbach 1479 edition). ***With the contemporary inscriptions of Richard Love and Thomas Secker, priest (and with occasional annotations) and with the bookplate of Richard Bagot, Bishop of Bath and Wells (1782-1854). $18,000.
A 1483 quarto Latin Bible
[BIBLE, in Latin] Biblia Latina. Venice: Franciscus Renner, de Heilbronn, 1483. 4to, old vellum, sometime rebacked and re-edged in vellum (probably in the 18th century) [8 5/8” x 6½”]; with light dampstaining to the inner margin virtually throughout; the blank bottom outer corner of the final leaf is torn away and repaired; rubricated throughout, with the initial letters of each chapter alternately in red and blue; text generally in good condition, with various contemporary annotations throughout. 476 leaves ***There is an 1851 German library stamp at the bottom of the first page; Goff B-578, British Museum Catalogue, V, 198. Still a very good example of an early quarto Latin Bible, printed at a time when most printed Bibles were still being printed in a folio or large quarto (non-portable) format. $12,000.
[Bible in Latin] Biblia. 1489. Large 4to, 19th century divinity calf (c.1860) [11” x 8¾”], apart from a stain to the bottom margin of y3 & 6 (with a bit of offsetting to the neighboring leaves—the stain evidently incurred prior to the book’s being bound), LACKS ff 7 & 8 (Job 8: 1- 16:): these two leaves have been torn out (with only the bottom inner corners remaining), according to a manuscript note on a front free endpaper, added after the book was rebound, these leaves were missing when the book was purchased “in a very bad modern binding” for £1. one shilling; the text is otherwise crisp and clean throughout; the headlines (consisting only of the names of the books of the Bible) and marginal references are occasionally shaved; unrubricated. The first leaf, a i, which contains only the word ‘Biblia’, is a bit soiled recto; verso is a list in mnemonic verse of the books of the Bible; the Prologue begins on the recto of a ii and the text of Genesis on the verso of a 5; there are 48 lines to a full column of text. The unpaginated text collates: a-zz8, aa-zz8, A-T8, U-X6, y8, AA-DD8, EE7 ---lacking a final leaf at the end of the “Interpretationes”; the last entry present is ‘Zither’. The text of the ‘Apocalypsis’ ends on X6, concluding with the date of publication: M.CCCCLXXXIX. and the information that the text is “Fontibus ex grecis hebreos”, one of the series claiming accuracy in the editing of the text. ***Not in the British Museum catalogue. $8000.
Biblia. [Nuremberg: Caspar Hochfeder], 1491(?). Small folio, elaborately blindstamped pigskin over wooden boards (probably 16th century) [11¼” x 8¾”] ; lacks clasps; somewhat worn & a bit shaken; the headlines are occasionally shaved; there are Latin annotations in ink throughout: those which are marginal mostly have a letter or two cropped, almost certainly when the book was rebound (thus dating the annotations as late 15th or early 16th century); the inner margins of the first two leaves and of a 7 & 8 have been repaired; the top outer corner of Q1 (Matthew 15) is torn away, removing a couple marginal Scriptural references verso and a small half moon piece is torn from the upper margin of the third folio of the final quire (Revelation 2), removing some of 4 Scriptural references verso. The folios are numbered in manuscript and page numbers are noted on the ‘title’ (which has only the printed word: “Biblia”): this early attempt at an index begins with Galatians, probably this is the work of the first owner and was largely written on a blank flyleaf which was lost in the rebinding. There is an elaborate decorative initial at the beginning of the Prologue to the Bible, the first letter of Genesis is in red and blue and the rubrication throughout is largely with the first initials of chapters in red, with some of the first initials of books in blue (as well as others, occasionally). There is occasional staining and soiling, but generally the text is very good, especially considering the heavy use to which it was subjected in the early years after its purchase. The final blank leaf is missing. ***Cf. the British Museum General Catalogue of Printed Books Bible, Part I: Complete Bible and Old Testament (London: William Clowes and Sons Limited, 1936), column 34; this Bible is undated, but, following a list of the books of the Bible in mnemonic verse, states itself to be a “Fontibus ex grecis hebreorum” text. The BM copy lacks both the title and the final blank. ***With the initials W P R on the front cover (probably those of the 16th century owner who had this volume rebound) and with bookplates from the Ronald Knox Library, Prinknash Abbey, and early inscriptions on the title and first leaf of the Prologue. There is a note in the bottom margin of f7 saying that “I have a Bible dated 1501 .... with a much fuller title page than this” and, again in English, two notes at the bottom of y5 (verso), one dated 1839 and a second 1845, each wrongly guessing the date of publication of this Bible. ***Quite an interesting, much used, 15th century Bible. $10,000.
Biblia cum summariis concordantiis: ... [Paris]: Johannes Pivard, 1500. 4to, 19th century blindstamped calf (10” x 8”), bit worn; ex-libris the Trinitarian Bible Society, with library stamps front and rear; there are numerous single wormholes, both in the text and margins at the front, quickly disappearing, with the last touching the text disappears in Numbers 4 and the last to the outer margin Deuteronomy 6 AND, at the rear, there are several wormholes in the ‘Interpretations’, one which disappears at the end of Hebrews and a pair, almost entirely marginal, which persists into the Gospels. There is also worming to the bottom inner margin virtually through the whole of the Bible, never touching the text (there are some very old, very neat paper repairs to this); there is also occasional worming elsewhere in the inner margin, infrequently touching a sidenote: this does not extend further than the beginning of Isaiah. ***The initial letters of each chapter throughout are alternately in red and blue, with the initial letters of the major books being done in a more elaborate red & blue. On the recto of the first leaf and on the blank bottom of the recto of the final leaf of the New Testament (folio 282) there are extensive notes in a 16th century hand, with transcriptions of the original Latin in a 19th century hand pasted in. ***Darlow & Moule 6090; the worming notwithstanding, a good, complete copy of this Bible, printed in the final year of the 15th century. $8000.