View full screen - View 1 of Lot 101. BIBLE IN LATIN | A leaf from the Gutenberg Bible. [Mainz: Johann Gutenberg and Johann Fust, 1455].
101

BIBLE IN LATIN | A leaf from the Gutenberg Bible. [Mainz: Johann Gutenberg and Johann Fust, 1455]

Estimate:

30,000

to
- 50,000 USD

For benefit of mission projects of St Stephen's Episcopal Cathedral

BIBLE IN LATIN | A leaf from the Gutenberg Bible. [Mainz: Johann Gutenberg and Johann Fust, 1455]

BIBLE IN LATIN | A leaf from the Gutenberg Bible. [Mainz: Johann Gutenberg and Johann Fust, 1455]

Estimate:

30,000

to
- 50,000 USD

Lot sold:

56,250

USD

For benefit of mission projects of St Stephen's Episcopal Cathedral

BIBLE IN LATIN

A leaf from the Gutenberg Bible. [Mainz: Johann Gutenberg and Johann Fust, 1455]


Royal folio (15 3/8 x 11 3/8 in.; 391 x 289 mm), A single leaf, being volume 1, fo. 270 (quire 27, leaf 10), containing Judith 10–12. 2 columns, 42 lines; initial spaces. Handsomely rubricated in red and blue. Black morocco binding gilt-titled on upper cover (Stikeman), including A. Edward Newton's accompanying essay, A Nobel Fragment, 1921; binding worn, lower portion of backstrip missing. 


First edition of the Bible in Latin, and the first substantial European printed book, produced under the temporary partnership of Johann Gutenberg, inventor of European typography, and Johann Fust, a well-off Mainz lawyer. Production of the edition of more than 640 leaves presumably took several years and a team of workmen. The humanist Aeneas Sylvius, Latin secretary of Emperor Frederick III, saw sample sheets at the Imperiel diet in Frankfurt am Main, in late October or early November 1454, and again at Weiner Neustatt in March 1455, from where he wrote about the amazing production to his friend Cardinal Carvajal in Rome. Copies were printed in separate issues of paper and vellum, in a total edition of 180 copies, and were widely distributed. Forty-nine copies of varying completeness survive today, as well as a considerable number of leaves of binding waste, particularly of otherwise lost vellum copies. The present leaf comes from an imperfect copy purchased in 1832 from the Munich Royal Library by the English traveler Robert Curzon. It was sold at Sotheby's in November 1920, and acquired by New York book dealer Gabriel Wells, who broke it up and sold most of its single leaves, accompanied by an essay, A Noble Fragment, by the Philadelphia bibliophile A. Edward Newton, a few integral books being sold as such (Genesis at University of Illinois, Gospel of Matthew at Colgate University, and others). 


REFERENCES

Goff B-526; GW 4201; BMC I 17 (IC.55); BSB-Ink B-408; Bod-inc B-237. Censuses: De Ricci Mayence 34.53=78; Schwenke 37; Needham P18; Folter 45 


PROVENANCE

Unidentified German convent or church — Court Library of Mannheim — Royal Library of Munich — Robert Curzon (1810–1870), 14th Baron Zouche, by descent to — Mary Cecil Curzon Frankland (1877–1965), 17th Baroness Zouche (from 1917), sold Sotheby's, 9 November 1920, lot 70 — [Frank Sabin, Gabriel Wells] — Scoles (armorial bookplate), by descent to — Jim Elliott, donated to — St. Stephen's Episcopal Cathedral, Harrisburg, Pa.

Condition as described in catalogue entry.


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