For Sale: Guttenberg Bible

Nuremberg, 1454-1455. 2 vols.  1,272pp.  This is the first book printed with moveable type in the Western World, only 48 copies known to exist, and only 21 are complete. This is the only one currently available for sale.

BACKGROUND. Detailed records of Gutenberg’s life and work are scant. He was born around 1400 in Mainz, where he trained as a gemstone cutter, goldsmith and door to door Bible salesman. In 1438, after moving to Strasbourg, Gutenberg entered into a partnership with Andreas Dritzehn, which enabled him to conduct experiments in printing with moveable metal type. It worked. He decided to release three collectable versions: the Gutenberg Bible, the Mazarin Bible, and the B-42.  Gutenberg is credited with being the father of modern printing. There is much speculation who the mother is.

PROVENANCE. Although completely undocumented,  this copy most certainly belonged to King Villhelmzholt of Strasbourg.  For many centuries this volume must have languished in a remote castle in the Alsace-Lorrane. Then a little bird asked someone to ask a friend to ask me to sell it for them.

COMPLMENTS

Inscription below Psalms XL:9 to XLII:8 which reads “COMPLIMENTS OF THE AUTHOR/ P.S. HAVE YOU SEEN MY NEW TOP TEN COMMANDMENTS”

DESCRIPTION. To date, this is the only know copy with the author’s signature “in the beginning”, an inscription from the author in Psalms XXX, containing a mysterious reference to “new top ten commandments”, and the original professionally unrestored dust jacket. Except for a few gaping holes at the foreedge, the dust jacket is is superb condition and has the only known photograph of the author. The lower margin of the text has intermittent light soil, some faint offsetting, a lingering odor of dog breath and tobacco smoke, and other trivial imperfections, but quite well preserved considering this grand old dame is over 500 years old!  The binding is broken, the corners have cracked, the flyleaves have flown, the clasps no longer clasp, the foreedge is fricasseed, bosses are broken, head caps are decapitated, and the spine suffers from scoliosis. Else fine.

This exquisite volume speaks eloquently of an antiquated age; of a time when skilled artists and craftsmen honored their Creator by creating churches, paintings, and books which combined spiritual contents with material beauty.  A very handsome and proper copy with a flawless, professionally unrestored dust jacket.  Without a doubt the centerpiece of any book collection.   $175,000,000.00 OBO. Buy now! Won’t last!  Shipping within continental US $4.14 USPS Media Mail.