[Incunabula] Gutenberg, Johann (printer)

Leaf From the Gutenberg Bible

(Mainz: Johann Gutenberg, 1450-55). Folio (388 x 287 mm). Leaf 156 from the second volume (New Testament), featuring the full Haggai and the first column of Zechariah. 42 lines, double column. Gothic type (type: 1:140G). Rubricated initial on recto in blue, headlines and chapter numbers in alternating red and blue, capitals accented in red, section title verso in red. Bound with A. Edward Newton's essay "A Noble Fragment, Being a Leaf of the Gutenberg Bible 1450-1455" (New York: Gabriel Wells, 1921). Full black morocco, stamped in blind and in gilt, extremities rubbed, by Stikeman & Co.; inscribed by Jeremiah Zimmerman on front paste-down, newspaper clipping about gift of current volume mounted to same; prelims slightly soiled, edges of same toned; paperclip residue in top edge of six leaves including Gutenberg leaf; some soiling along gutter and edges of leaf; faint crease at bottom corner; marginalia at line 25 second column recto.

A leaf from the first printed book in the West. Produced under the partnership of Johann Gutenberg and Johann Fust between the years 1450-55. The first edition consisted of approximately 180 copies (150 on paper, 30 on vellum). Only 49 copies, in varying states of completeness, survive today.

This leaf originates from a defective copy once housed in the Munich Royal Library and purchased by English traveler and diplomat Robert Curzon in 1832. The volume was broken up in 1920 by bookseller Gabriel Wells then sold as individual leaves, bound with an accompanying essay by Philadelphia bibliophile A. Edward Newton. The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Zimmerman, former alumnus and trustee of the Lutheran Theological Seminary, purchased this copy at that time and almost immediately donated it to his alma mater.


PROVENANCE:

Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Zimmerman
United Lutheran Seminary
Estimate $40,000-60,000


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Sold for $81,250 (buyer's premium included)