Lot 174
  • 174

Bible in English

50,000 - 70,000 USD
93,750 USD
bidding is closed


  • ink and paper
The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments: Newly translated out of the Original Tongues; and with the former Translations Diligently compared and revised. Philadelphia: Printed and Sold by R[obert] Aitken, 1782; 1781

2 parts in one volume, 12mo (6 1/8 x 3 1/2 in.; 155 x 89 mm). Text in double-columns, unpaginated, ornamental border and woodcut arms of Philadelphia on General title-page, printer's woodcut monogram on title-page verso of New Testament; lacking blank leaf between the Testaments (Aaa6), paper flaw in lower outer corner of leaves E6-7 touching two words, some minor browning and spotting throughout, small dampstains in top margin of first few quires and elsewhere. Contemporary leather; upper joint cracked, head of spine chipped, corners torn. In a half-morocco slipcase.


John Schleiffer (ms. exlibris dated 15 May 1783) — Schleiffer descendants with entries dated 1812, 1842, 1900


Evans 17473; Herbert 1283; Sabin 5165

Catalogue Note

First edition of the "Bible of the Revolution," the first complete bible in English to be printed in America and the only bible endorsed by Congress.

Before the war, British printers held the royal patent to publish the King James bible, to the exclusion of American printers. During the war, importation of English bibles ceased. When sales of Aitken's edition was threatened by the arrival of peace, Congress passed a resolution on 10 September to protect Aitken's investment.  In true entrepreneurial spirit, Aitken inserted a copy of the resolution just after the title page.

With points: 1 Timothy 4:16 reading "thy doctrine" for "the"; 2 Kings 7:12 reading "not" for "now"; but Hosea 6 is correctly numbered. This is a very good copy in a contemporary binding whereas known copies (approximately fifty are extant) are often rebound or "found in poor condition of paper, and with narrow margins" (Evans).