Three distinct quarto editions of Tyndale's New Testament were printed in the year he was martyred (1536). They are chiefly distinguished by the variations in the woodcut of Saint Paul on leaf t1, with the other versions showing a mole or a blank stone. Although there appears to be no absolutely conclusive evidence to show the order of publication, various small differences suggest that the "mole" edition was the first, and the "blank stone" the last of the three. Forty-eight distinct blocks were used for the text illustrations in a complete copy.
Tyndale's New Testament in English, philologically sound and carefully derived from the Greek version of Erasmus, was bitterly opposed by the ecclesiastical authorities and many copies were burned. Since its publication, it has dominated all successive translations right up to modern times, with nine-tenths of the King James Version itself derived from this work.
Rare. Since 1890 only three other copies have appeared at auction: The Goswold-Smyth-Vanhatten-Goyder-Evangelical Lutheran Church in America copy (sold in our rooms, 5 December 2013, lot 171; and previously at Sotheby's London in 1890 and 1958); an imperfect copy wanting 13 leaves in 1909; and another wanting 12 leaves (and with G1–7 supplied from another edition) in 1978, both at Sotheby's London. Of the seven institutional copies listed in STC, four are imperfect.
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