Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2016 Issue

Early Printed Bibles from Dr. Jorn Gunther Rare Books

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Early Printed Bibles.

Dr. Jorn Gunther Rare Books has published a spectacular catalogue of Early Printed Bibles 1454-1580. We have seen few catalogues the peer of this large quarto, perfect bound hard cover issue. It offers 45 bibles and related items, each with a thorough history of the edition and numerous photographs. You can learn much about the first century plus of printed bibles from this catalogue.

 

The date range will quickly reveal where this catalogue begins. The starting date of 1454 means there is a Gutenberg inside, or at least a fragment thereof, complete issues long out of the market. Most of the bibles are German in origin, which should not be surprising, as starting with Gutenberg, that is where most early printed bibles arose. The Reformation brought revised translations, but again the center of activity was Luther's Germany. One more point needs to be made about early bibles. They were not plain text. The earliest employed such devices as rubricated initials to create works of art, with illustrations following not long after. These bibles are works of beauty as well as recountings of their readers' most fundamental beliefs.

 

We begin in the only place we can begin – with the Gutenberg. Johann Gutenberg mastered a craft that no one had been able to figure out before him. There were printed sheets from woodblocks, but no one had mastered a practical way to print large amounts of text. Gutenberg was aware of the use of pressing, be it wine presses or those used to create seals and stamps. What he added was movable type. This was not easy as the type had to be precisely cut and match up with other letters for perfect fit. However, once the arduous process of creating and placing the type was completed, the press could print large numbers of copies, something never done before. It is believed Gutenberg must have had a couple dozen employees working on his bibles. Over a course of two years, he succeeded in printing 180 copies. That may sound terribly inefficient today, but at the time it took a scribe three years to create just one copy of the bible. Sadly, Gutenberg's massive accomplishment was too expensive. He lost money, and unable to pay his debt to lender/partner Johann Fust, he lost his equipment too.

 

Of the original run of the first book ever printed, 48 copies of Gutenberg's bible are known to survive, only 20 complete. There are about 65 single leaves or fragments also still in existence. Offered is the largest consecutive fragment still held in private hands. It is the complete Book of Joshua, thirteen leaves. Following the death of Moses, it was Joshua's task to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land, defeating the Canaanites and dividing the land among the twelve tribes. Item 1. Price on request.

 

With Gutenberg out of the picture, Fust teamed up with Gutenberg's assistant (and his future son-in-law) Peter Schoeffer to continue the business. On August 14, 1457, they produced the second printed book, Psalterium Moguntium. This psalter was the first book to carry a date, and the first to use three colors. While Gutenberg was limited to one book, both Fust and Schoeffer continued in the trade the remainder of their lives, 1466 in Fust's case, and into the 16th century for Schoffer. This psalter came in two issues, the second longer than the other. Item 2 consists of two leaves from the second issue. This book is even rarer than a Gutenberg bible, with only 11 surviving complete copies, and 26 fragments of one to three leaves. These leaves, and others, survived as a result of being used in the bindings of later books, it having been treated essentially as trash in the 17th century. Priced at €250,000 (euros, or approximately $282,925 U.S. dollars).

 

The next item is a bible in German, once thought of as the fourth German bible, but whose timing is now seen to be the third. It was published between 1474 and 1476, succeeding German editions of 1466 and 1470. It was published by Gunther Zainer in Augsburg. It closely follows the Latin Vulgate and it is said that Luther used it in preparing his own translation. This bible is particularly noted as being the first printed bible to include illustrations. The bible features 73 historiated woodcut initials, most featuring biblical scenes. They have been colored by an artist in Zainer's shop. Item 4. €330,000 (US $373,620).

 

Das Allte Testament deutsch is the first three parts of the Old Testament - the Five Books of Moses, historical books (Joshua-Esther), and poetical books, as translated by Martin Luther. These parts were published 1523-1524 (the following parts were published later). Luther had just finished translating the New Testament when he began work on this book. The illustrations came from the workshop of Lucas Cranach, who shared Luther's low esteem for the Catholic Church. The frontispiece shows its Christian orientation with a group of children and angels looking up at Christ on the cross. A different visual take on the bible can be seen in the first illustration, from Genesis, depicting the flood. Rather than showing Noah leading the animals, two by two, onto the arc, it shows just the top of a square arc, while lying nearby are the drowned bodies of humans and animals as rains pour down. This version is serious business. Item 20. €250,000 (US $ 282,925).

 

Spectacular illustrations, the finest up to its time, can be found in Apocalypse cum figuris (apocalypse with pictures). Albrecht Durer's artistic masterpiece was originally published in 1498 in Latin and German. At the time, many expected the apocalypse to come in the year 1500. When it didn't, Durer republished this third (second Latin) edition in 1511. It contains 16 woodcut illustrations (the first two editions had 15). It also includes Durer's warning to plagiarists, as a pirated edition was produced in 1502. Durer's Apocalypse is considered the first work both created and published by an artist. Item 15. €250,000 (US $ 282,925).

 

Dr. Jorn Gunther Rare Books may be reached at +41 (0)61 275 7575 or info@guenther-rarebooks.com. Their website is www.guenther-rarebooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Fonsie Mealy’s<br>The Library of Howth Castle<br>September 22nd & 23rd, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Sep. 22-23:</b> Rosellini (Ippolito). <i>I Monumenti dell Egitto e Della Nubia,</i> Plate Volumes 1, 11 & 111, 3 vols. Elephant folio. €50,000 to €80,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Sep. 22-23:</b> Curtis (William), 1746 - 179, & other Editors. <i>The Botanical Magazine: or, The Flower Garden Displayed.</i> London 1793 - 1982-83. Together 184 vols. [with] other botanical material. €30,000 to €40,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Sep. 22-23:</b> Berkeley (George). <i>A Treatise Concerning the principles of Human Knowledge, wherein the chief Causes of Error and Difficulty in the Sciences…</i> Part I, Dublin, 1710 Rare First Edn. €15,000 to €20,000.
    <b><center>Fonsie Mealy’s<br>The Library of Howth Castle<br>September 22nd & 23rd, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Sep. 22-23:</b> Ruskin (John). A large finely executed Pencil Drawing, captioned <i>Oxford Cathedral, The Choir,</i> & Signed 'J. Ruskin Ch. Ch. 1838. €15,000 to €20,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Sep. 22-23:</b> Sir Edward L. Lutyens. Howth Castle Plans: A Series of 10 Original Architects Drawings and Sketches, Alterations and Additions for J.C. Gaisford St. Lawrence, County Dublin, Ireland. €8,000 to €12,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Sep. 22-23:</b> Newman (Rev. Fr. John Henry, later Cardinal, now Saint) A very good collection of 24 A.L.S. to [Thomas] Gaisford of the Gaisford St. Lawrence family of Howth Castle. €10,000 to €15,000.
    <b><center>Fonsie Mealy’s<br>The Library of Howth Castle<br>September 22nd & 23rd, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Sep. 22-23:</b> Manuscript Atlas: Hodges, Smith & Co. <i>The Estate of the Rt. Hon. the Earl of Howth Situate in the County of Dublin,</i> lg. atlas folio Dublin (Hodges, Smith & Co.) 1863. €4,000 to €6,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Sep. 22-23:</b> Anon. <i>Herbolario Volgare: nel quale se dimostra conoscer le herbe et le sue vrtu…</i> Sm. 8vo Venice (Gio Maria Palamides) 1539. €3,000 to €4,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Sep. 22-23:</b> Baron (Caesar). <i>Annales Ecclesiastici</i>. [With] <i>Annalium Ecclesiasticorum Caesaris Baronii... Apparatus.</i> [With] <i>Index Universalis Rerum Omnium</i> [and one other]. 38 vols total. €1,500 to €2,000.
    <b><center>Fonsie Mealy’s<br>The Library of Howth Castle<br>September 22nd & 23rd, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Sep. 22-23:</b> Log Books of Three British Warships. Three folio Volumes, containing meticulously arranged logs of the voyages of Royal Navy Ships from 1876 – 1881. €1,200 to €1,800.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Sep. 22-23:</b> Walpole (Robert). <i>Memoirs Relating to European and Asiatic Turkey,</i> lg. 4to Lond. 1817. €1,000 to €1,500.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Sep. 22-23:</b> Bosio (Antonio). <i>Roma Sotteranea,</i> Opera Postuma. Large thick folio Rome (Guglielmo Facciotti) 1632. €1,000 to €1,500.
  • <b>Il Ponte, Sep. 21:</b> ZEILER, Martin - <i>Topographiae Italiae.</i> Francoforte: Mattheus Merian, 1688. €3,500 to €4,500.
    <b>Il Ponte, Sep. 21:</b> HAMILTON, William, Sir -- HANCARVILLE, Pierre-Francois HUGUES - Collection of Etruscan, Greek and Roman Antiquities from the Cabinet of the Hon. William Hamilton. Napoli: Francois Morelli, 1766-67. €38,000 to €48,000.
    <b>Il Ponte, Sep. 21:</b> [ASTRONOMIA] - Manoscritto astronomico. Italia: 1650. €1,000 to €1,500.
    <b>Il Ponte, Sep. 21:</b> DALI, Salvador - <i>Biblia Sacra vulgatae editionis.</i> Edizione “Ad Personam” Milano: Rizzoli, 1967. €40,000 to €60,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> C.F. Payne, <i>Micawber—Imitating Norman Rockwell's "Triple self-portrait,"</i> acrylic, watercolor & colored pencil, 2002. Sold June 2021 for $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Jane Russell, archive of letters written during a whaling voyage, 1840s. Sold July 2021 for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Guild of Women Binders, exhibition binding of A.F. Pollard’s <i>Henry VIII,</i> London, 1902. Sold July 2021 for $12,350.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Robert Frost, <i>Collected Poems,</i> author’s presentation copy, signed, with entirety of <i>Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening</i> inscribed, NY, 1930. Sold June 2021 for $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> James Joyce, <i>Ulysses,</i> deluxe limited issue, signed, London, 1936. Sold June 2021 for $21,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Mercator [family], <i>[World and Continents],</i> 5 double-page maps, Amsterdam, c. 1633. Sold June 2021 for $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> George Schlegel, <i>New York, Taken from Central Park,</i> hand-finished color-tinted lithograph, 1874. Sold June 2021 for $11,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolaus Copernicus, <i>De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium,</i> second edition, Basel, 1566. Sold April 2021 for $75,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Book of Hours, Use of Utrecht, illuminated manuscript, c. 1435-45. Sold April 2021 for $60,000.
  • <b><center>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>September 23, 2021</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 20. ADAMS, JOHN QUINCY. Letter to the editors of the Boston Atlas on slavery and its political ramifications, 1842. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 208. HEMINGWAY, ERNEST. <i>A Farewell To Arms.</i> New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1929. First edition. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 237. ADDAMS, CHARLES. Original drawing "Now Remember-act casual." $5,000 to $7,000.
    <b><center>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>September 23, 2021</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 4. SMITH, ADAM. <i>An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations.</i> Philadelphia, 1789. The first American edition. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 131. BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VON. <i>Cinquieme Sinfonie en ut mineur: C Moll de Louis Van Beethoven. Oeuvre 67.</i> First edition of the complete score. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 73. Chinese Export Painting. Album of twenty-three original Chinese natural history studies of flowers and insects. Likely Canton: circa 1850. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b><center>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>September 23, 2021</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 241. GOREY, EDWARD. Original drawing "Cat Drawing Wallpaper." Signed in Pencil in lower right margin. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 36. LINCOLN, ABRAHAM. Autograph note signed instructing Edwin Stanton to meet with the important African American abolitionist and officer Martin Delany. [Washington:] 21 February 1865. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 112. JONSON, BEN. <i>Workes</i>. London: William Stansby, 1616; Together with <i>Workes.</i> London: Richard Meighen,1640-41. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 161. STURGIS, LEE. <i>Salmon Fishing on Cain River, New Brunswick.</i> (Chicago:) Privately printed (for the author by Ralph Fletcher Seymour), 1919. First edition. $3,000 to $5,000.

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