Lot 5
  • 5

Bible, High German.

10,000 - 15,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Bibel erst tail (Bibel teutsch der ander tayl). (Augsburg: Johann Otmar for Johann Rynmann, 12 February 1507)
  • Paper
2 volumes, folio (317 x 213mm.; 298 x 200mm.), 108 hand-coloured woodcuts (of 109, in red, yellow, green and grey), woodcut initials (coloured red and yellow in volume 1), smaller Lombard initials, a few early manuscript annotations, volume 1 in an Augsburg binding of contemporary blind-tooled pigskin over wooden boards using a hunting roll-stamp and a floral roll-stamp, red edges, nineteenth-century black paper lettering-piece, volume 2 in near-contemporary half blind-tooled pigskin over wooden boards, leather index tabs, rebacked, occasional staining throughout, volume 1: lacking rr8 (from Judith) containing one woodcut, many marginal paper repairs (a few just touching text), e7 and z8 torn without loss but touching text, binding rubbed, lacking all cornerpieces and clasps, last few quires and lower cover wormed; volume 2: a few marginal wormholes (occasionally touching text), CC2 torn in gutter without loss, last few leaves slightly soiled, rebacked, lower board cracked, lacking two clasps, a few index tabs torn


Volume 1: Benedictine monastery of SS. Ulrich and Afra, Augsburg, inscriptions on title-page and on first leaf; Volume 2: SWOP, ink monogram and date 1612 on upper cover; Fr. Rupertus Reuttner vicar in ?M/Rinchaim, inscription dated 1669 on inside front cover; Both volumes: Duplicate of the Royal Library in Munich, pencil inscription on inside front covers stamps on verso of title-pages


VD16 B2675 (listing 10 copies)

Catalogue Note

A non-uniform set. This is the first of the Otmar German Bibles; the second appeared in 1518, printed by his son Silvan. The illustrations are from the blocks made for the German Bibles printed by Johann Schönsperger in Augsburg in 1487 and 1490, but as the print area of the Otmar Bible is slightly wider, a small decorative woodcut border has been printed on one or both sides of the woodcut so that it matches the width of the text.

The unsophisticated colouring in a limited palette and partly carried out through stencils, which matches that found in other copies (including the one in the Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek in Hamburg; see Eichenberger & Wendland, Deutsche Bibeln vor Luther, Hamburg 1977, p.136), was executed in the print shop. Both Otmar and the earlier Schönsperger were aiming at a mass market for their German Bibles, which, however, survive in relatively few copies, partly due to their heavy use at the time, and probably also due to the prominence subsequently given to Luther's version which appeared in the 1520s. We have found no auction records for a complete copy of either of the Otmar editions.

Otmar worked in both Reutlingen (1482-1495) and Tübingen (1496-1501) before setting up his shop in Augsburg in 1502, initially in partnership with Schönsperger the younger.