Lot 30
  • 30

Bible in Latin

40,000 - 60,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • A leaf from the 36-line Bible. [Bamberg: Albrecht Pfister, using types of Johann Gutenberg, not after 1461]
  • ink,paper,leather
Royal folio (409 × 188 mm), a partial vellum leaf preserving the outer column and part of the inner column, being volume II, fo. 364 (37/2), containing portions of 2 Corinthians 7:11-9:13; with glue stains and other marks contingent on its use as a document wrapper; rubricated in red and blue (chapter 9 initial, the initial number in alternating red and blue elements; capital strokes). In blue cloth folding case.


Munich, Jesuit College. acquisition: Bernard Quaritch, 2002


Peter Schoeffer: Printer of Mainz 12 (the Ryrie fragment); Goff B-527; GW 4202; BMC I 16 (IC.64, with erroneous assignment to Mainz); BSB-Ink B-409; with thanks to Dr. Eric Marshall White for information on 36-line Bible fragments.

Catalogue Note

A vellum leaf from the second or third printed Bible, its priority vis à vis the Mentelin Latin Bible (Goff B-528, not after 1460) being uncertain. The 36-line Bible, much rarer than the Gutenberg Bible, was printed in Bamberg, at the costs or major subvention of Archbishop Georg von Schaumberg. Its type is the so-called DK type, the earliest European printing type, first used by its inventor, Johann Gutenberg, in the early 1450s. Presumably, in the late 1450s Gutenberg sold cases of the type to Bamberg. Because its body size is significantly larger than the Gutenberg Bible type, only 36 lines fit comfortably on a Royal folio page. As with the Gutenberg Bible, the 36-line Bible was issued in both paper and vellum copies. However, whereas fourteen paper copies survive (some incomplete), all vellum copies were disposed of in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and are attested only by their chance survival as binding waste. The present leaf is from a copy dismembered to provide document wrappers by the Jesuit College of Munich in the early seventeenth century. A dozen or more similar leaves from this copy are at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, and others have been widely dispersed through the book trade, including leaves at the Scheide Library Princeton, Bridwell Library, Newberry Library, and Library of Congress (Rosenwald Collection).