Gutenberg Bible
Overview
 
The Gutenberg Bible was the first major book printed with a movable type
Movable type
Movable type is the system of printing and typography that uses movable components to reproduce the elements of a document ....

 printing press
Printing press
A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium , thereby transferring the ink...

, and marked the start of the "Gutenberg Revolution" and the age of the printed book. Widely praised for its high aesthetic and artistic qualities, the book has an iconic status. It is an edition of the Vulgate
Vulgate
The Vulgate is a late 4th-century Latin translation of the Bible. It was largely the work of St. Jerome, who was commissioned by Pope Damasus I in 382 to make a revision of the old Latin translations...

, printed by Johannes Gutenberg, in Mainz
Mainz
Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, in the 1450s. Only 21 complete copies survive, and they are considered by many sources to be the most valuable books in the world, even though a complete copy has not been sold since 1978.

The 36-line Bible
36-line Bible
The 36-line Bible, also known as the "Bamberg Bible" and sometimes called a "Gutenberg Bible", is the second printed edition of the Bible, after the Gutenberg Bible. It is believed to have been printed in Bamberg, Germany, about 1458-60...

 is also sometimes referred to as a Gutenberg Bible, but is possibly the work of another printer.
In appearance the Gutenberg Bible closely resembles the large manuscript
Illuminated manuscript
An illuminated manuscript is a manuscript in which the text is supplemented by the addition of decoration, such as decorated initials, borders and miniature illustrations...

 Bibles that were being produced at the time.
Encyclopedia
The Gutenberg Bible was the first major book printed with a movable type
Movable type
Movable type is the system of printing and typography that uses movable components to reproduce the elements of a document ....

 printing press
Printing press
A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium , thereby transferring the ink...

, and marked the start of the "Gutenberg Revolution" and the age of the printed book. Widely praised for its high aesthetic and artistic qualities, the book has an iconic status. It is an edition of the Vulgate
Vulgate
The Vulgate is a late 4th-century Latin translation of the Bible. It was largely the work of St. Jerome, who was commissioned by Pope Damasus I in 382 to make a revision of the old Latin translations...

, printed by Johannes Gutenberg, in Mainz
Mainz
Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, in the 1450s. Only 21 complete copies survive, and they are considered by many sources to be the most valuable books in the world, even though a complete copy has not been sold since 1978.

The 36-line Bible
36-line Bible
The 36-line Bible, also known as the "Bamberg Bible" and sometimes called a "Gutenberg Bible", is the second printed edition of the Bible, after the Gutenberg Bible. It is believed to have been printed in Bamberg, Germany, about 1458-60...

 is also sometimes referred to as a Gutenberg Bible, but is possibly the work of another printer.

Relationship to earlier Bibles

In appearance the Gutenberg Bible closely resembles the large manuscript
Illuminated manuscript
An illuminated manuscript is a manuscript in which the text is supplemented by the addition of decoration, such as decorated initials, borders and miniature illustrations...

 Bibles that were being produced at the time. The Giant Bible of Mainz
Giant Bible of Mainz
The Giant Bible of Mainz is a very large manuscript Bible produced in 1452-3, probably in Mainz or nearby. It is notable for its beauty, for being one of the last manuscript Bibles written before the invention of printing in the West, and for its possible connections with the Gutenberg...

, probably produced in Mainz in 1452-3, has been suggested as the particular model Gutenberg used. Around this time large Bibles, designed to be read from a lectern, were returning to popularity for the first time since the twelfth century. In the intervening period, small hand-held Bibles had been usual. The text of the Gutenberg Bible is traditional, falling within the Paris Vulgate group of texts. Manuscript Bibles all had texts that differed slightly, and the copy used by Gutenberg as the exemplar for his Bible has not been discovered.

Printing history

The Bible was not Gutenberg's first work.
Preparation of it probably began soon after 1450, and the first finished copies were available in 1454 or 1455. However, it is not known exactly how long the Bible took to print.

Gutenberg made three significant changes during the printing process. The first sheets were rubricated
Rubrication
Rubrication was one of several steps in the medieval process of manuscript making. Practitioners of rubrication, so-called rubricators, were specialized scribes who received text from the manuscript's original scribe and supplemented it with additional text in red ink for emphasis...

 by being passed twice through the printing press
Printing press
A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium , thereby transferring the ink...

, using black and then red ink. This was soon abandoned, with spaces being left for rubrication to be added by hand.
Some time later, after more sheets had been printed, the number of lines per page was increased from 40 to 42, presumably to save paper. Therefore, pages 1 to 9 and pages 256 to 265, presumably the first ones printed, have 40 lines each. Page 10 has 41, and from there on the 42 lines appear. The increase in line number was achieved by decreasing the interline spacing
Interline spacing
In typesetting, the term "interline spacing"or "line leading" refers to the space between consecutive lines of text, as between lines on a ruled sheet of paper. For example, text can be typeset with a font size of 11 pt and an interline spacing of 15 pt.Interline spacing is often referred to as...

, rather than increasing the printed area of the page.

Finally, the print run was increased, probably to 180 copies, necessitating resetting those pages which had already been printed. The new sheets were all reset to 42 lines per page. Consequently, there are two distinct settings in folios 1-32 and 129-158 of volume I and folios 1-16 and 162 of volume II.

Our most reliable information about the Bible's date comes from a letter. In March 1455, future Pope Pius II
Pope Pius II
Pope Pius II, born Enea Silvio Piccolomini was Pope from August 19, 1458 until his death in 1464. Pius II was born at Corsignano in the Sienese territory of a noble but decayed family...

 wrote that he had seen pages from the Gutenberg Bible, being displayed to promote the edition, in Frankfurt.

It is believed that in total 180 copies of the Bible were produced, 135 on paper and 45 on vellum.

The production process: 'Das Werk der Bücher'

In a legal paper, written after completion of the Bible, Gutenberg refers to the process as 'Das Werk der Bücher': the work of the books. He had invented the printing press
Printing press
A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium , thereby transferring the ink...

 and was the first European to print with movable type
Movable type
Movable type is the system of printing and typography that uses movable components to reproduce the elements of a document ....

. But his greatest achievement was arguably demonstrating that the whole process of printing actually produced books.

Many book-lovers have commented on the high standards achieved in the production of the Gutenberg Bible, some describing it as one of the most beautiful volumes ever printed. The quality of both the ink and other materials and the printing itself have been noted.

Paper and vellum

A single complete copy of the Gutenberg Bible has 1,272 pages; with 4 pages per folio-sheet, 318 sheets of paper are required per copy. The 45 copies printed on vellum required 11,130 sheets. The 135 copies on paper required 49,290 sheets of paper. The handmade paper used by Gutenberg was of fine quality and was imported from Italy. Each sheet contains a watermark
Watermark
A watermark is a recognizable image or pattern in paper that appears as various shades of lightness/darkness when viewed by transmitted light , caused by thickness or density variations in the paper...

, which may be seen when the paper is held up to the light, left by the papermold.

Pages

The paper size is 'double folio', with two pages printed on each side (four pages per sheet). After printing the paper was folded once to the size of a single page. Typically, five of these folded sheets (10 leaves, or 20 printed pages) were combined to a single physical section
Section (bookbinding)
In bookbinding, section refers to a group of bifolios, or sheets of paper, stacked together and folded in half. The term is sometimes used interchangeably with signature, though the latter technically refers only to the signature mark at the bottom of the first page of a printed section. The...

, called a quinternion, that could then be bound into a book. Some sections, however, had as few as 4 leaves or as many as 12 leaves. Some sections may have been printed in a larger number, especially those printed later in the publishing process, and sold unbound. The pages were not numbered. The technique was not new, since it had been used to make blank "white-paper" books to be written afterwards. What was new was determining beforehand the correct placement and orientation of each page on the five sheets to result in the correct sequence when bound. The technique for locating the printed area correctly on each page was also new.

The folio size, 307 x 445 mm, has the ratio of 1.45:1. The printed area had the same ratio, and was shifted out of the middle to leave a 2:1 white margin, both horizontally and vertically. Historian John Man writes that the ratio was chosen to be close to the golden ratio
Golden ratio
In mathematics and the arts, two quantities are in the golden ratio if the ratio of the sum of the quantities to the larger quantity is equal to the ratio of the larger quantity to the smaller one. The golden ratio is an irrational mathematical constant, approximately 1.61803398874989...

 of 1.61:1. To reach this ratio more closely the vertical size should be 338 mm, but there is no reason why Gutenberg would leave this non-trivial difference of 8 mm go by in such a detailed work in other aspects.

Ink

In Gutenberg's time, inks used by scribes to produce manuscripts were water-based. Gutenberg developed an oil-based ink that would better adhere to his metal type. His ink was primarily carbon, but also had a high metallic content, with copper, lead, and titanium predominating.

Type

The first part of the Gutenberg idea was using a single, hand-carved character to create identical copies of itself. Cutting a single letter could take a craftsman a day of work. A single page taking 2500 letters, crafting per page was unattainable. A less labour intensive method of reproduction was needed. Copies were produced by stamping the original into an iron plate, called a matrix. A rectangular tube was then connected to the matrix, creating a container in which molten type metal
Type metal
In printing, type metal refers to the metal alloys used in traditional typefounding and hot metal typesetting. Lead is the main constituent of these alloys...

 could be poured. Once cooled, the solid metal form was released from the tube. The fundamental innovation is that this matrix can be used to produce many duplicates of the same letter. The result of each molding was a rectangular block of metal with the form of the desired character protruding from the end. This piece of type could be put in a line, facing up, with other pieces of type. These lines were arranged to form blocks of text, which could be inked and pressed against paper, transferring the desired text to the paper.

Each unique character requires a master piece of type in order to be replicated. Given that each letter has uppercase and lowercase forms, and the number of various punctuation marks and ligatures (e.g. the sequence 'fi' combined in one character, commonly used in writing) the Gutenberg Bible needed a set of 290 master characters.

The scholar John Man has calculated the number of pieces of types required. A single page has about 2600 characters. It seems probable that six pages, containing 15600 characters altogether, would be set at any one moment. Since it would take a craftsman a whole day to hand-cut type for one character, such a large number was probably produced through the mass-production of copies of one master-type.

Type style

The Gutenberg Bible is printed in the blackletter
Blackletter
Blackletter, also known as Gothic script, Gothic minuscule, or Textura, was a script used throughout Western Europe from approximately 1150 to well into the 17th century. It continued to be used for the German language until the 20th century. Fraktur is a notable script of this type, and sometimes...

 type styles that would become known as Textualis (Textura) and Schwabacher. The name texture refers to the texture of the printed page: straight vertical strokes combined with horizontal lines, giving the impression of a woven structure. Gutenberg already used the technique of justification
Justification (typesetting)
In typesetting, justification is the typographic alignment setting of text or images within a column or "measure" to align along both the left and right margin...

, that is, creating a vertical, not indented, alignment at the left and right-hand sides of the column. To do this, he used various methods, including using characters of narrower widths, adding extra spaces around punctuation, and varying the widths of spaces around words. On top of this, he subsequently let punctuation marks go beyond that vertical line, called Hanging punctuation
Hanging punctuation
Hanging punctuation or exdentation is a way of typesetting punctuation marks and bullet points, most commonly quotation marks and hyphens, so that they do not disrupt the ‘flow’ of a body of text or ‘break’ the margin of alignment. It is so called because the punctuation appears to ‘hang’ in the...

, thereby using the massive black characters to make this justification stronger to the eye.

Rubrication, illumination and binding

Copies left the Gutenberg workshop unbound, without decoration, and for the most part without rubrication.

Initially the rubrics—the headings before each book of the Bible—were printed, but this experiment was quickly abandoned, and gaps were left for rubrication to be added by hand. A guide of the text to be added to each page, printed for use by rubricators, survives.

The spacious margin allowed for illuminated decoration to be added by hand. The amount of decoration presumably depended on how much each buyer could or would pay for. Some copies were never decorated. The place of decoration can be known or inferred for about 30 of the surviving copies. Perhaps 13 of these received their decoration in Mainz, but others were worked on as far away as London. The vellum Bibles were more expensive and perhaps for this reason tend to be more highly decorated, although the vellum copy in the British Library is completely undecorated. There has been speculation that the Master of the Playing Cards
Master of the Playing Cards
The Master of the Playing Cards was the first major master in the history of printmaking. He was a German engraver, and probably also a painter, active in southwestern Germany from the 1430s to the 1450s, who has been called "the first personality in the history of engraving." Various attempts...

 was partly responsible for the illumination of the Princeton copy, though all that can be said for certain is that the same model book was used for some of the illustrations in this copy and for some of the Master's playing cards.

Although many Gutenberg Bibles have been rebound over the years, 9 copies retain fifteenth-century bindings. Most of these copies were bound in either Mainz or Erfurt. Most copies were divided into two volumes, the first volume ending with The Book of Psalms
Psalms
The Book of Psalms , commonly referred to simply as Psalms, is a book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible...

. Copies on vellum were heavier and for this reason were sometimes bound in three or four volumes.

Early owners

The Bible seems to have sold out immediately, with initial sales to owners as far away as England. At least some copies are known to have sold for 30 florins. Although this made them significantly cheaper than manuscript Bibles, most students, priests or other people of ordinary income would have been unable to afford them. It is assumed that most were sold to monasteries, universities and particularly wealthy individuals. At present only one copy is known to have been privately owned in the fifteenth century. Some are known to have been used for communal readings in monastery refectories, others may have been for display rather than use, and a few were certainly used for study. Kristian Jensen suggests that many copies were bought by wealthy and pious laypeople for donation to religious institutions.

Influence on later Bibles

The Gutenberg Bible had an incalculable effect on the history of the printed book. Textually, it also had an influence on future editions of the Bible. It provided the model for the 36 Line Bible, while a Strasbourg edition of the Bible from 1470 is known to have been set from the copy now in Cambridge University Library. The Gutenberg Bible also had an influence on the Clementine
Pope Clement VIII
Pope Clement VIII , born Ippolito Aldobrandini, was Pope from 30 January 1592 to 3 March 1605.-Cardinal:...

 edition of the Vulgate commissioned by the Papacy in the late sixteenth century.

Surviving copies

As of 2009, 47 or 48 42-line Bibles are known to exist, but of these only 21 are complete. Others have leaves or even whole volumes missing. The figure of 48 copies counts separately the volumes in Trier and Indiana, which seem to be two pieces of the same copy. In addition, there are a substantial number of fragments, some as small as individual leaves.

There are twelve copies on vellum, although only four of these are complete and one is of the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 only.

The country with the most copies of any kind is Germany, which has twelve, while the United States has eleven, and the United Kingdom eight. New York has four copies, Paris and London have three each, and Mainz, the Vatican City and Moscow have two each. The country with the most complete copies is the United Kingdom with seven, the United States five, Germany three, and France two.

Institutions which have copies on permanent display include the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, the British Library and the Library of Congress.

Copy numbers listed below are as found in the Incunabula Short Title Catalogue
Incunabula Short Title Catalogue
The Incunabula Short Title Catalogue is an electronic bibliographic database maintained by the British Library which seeks to catalogue all known incunabula. The database lists books by individual editions, recording standard bibliographic details for each edition as well as giving a brief census...

, taken from a 1985 survey of existing copies by Ilona Hubay
Ilona Hubay
Ilona Hubay was a specialist in incunabula and other early printed books. Having finished her secondary studies in Pécs, she studied art history at the University of Budapest, where she received a doctorate in 1938...

; the two copies in Russia were not known to exist in 1985, and so were not catalogued.
Substantially complete copies of the 42-line Bible
Country Holding institution Hubay
Ilona Hubay
Ilona Hubay was a specialist in incunabula and other early printed books. Having finished her secondary studies in Pécs, she studied art history at the University of Budapest, where she received a doctorate in 1938...


nbr
length material Notes,
Images,
Scans
Austria (1) Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna 27 complete paper
Belgium (1) Bibliothèque universitaire
University of Mons-Hainaut
The University of Mons-Hainaut , in Mons, Wallonia, Belgium, was a university in the French Community of Belgium. Its official language was French....

, Mons
1 incomplete paper
Denmark (1) Kongelige Bibliotek
Danish Royal Library
The Royal Library in Copenhagen is the national library of Denmark and university library of University of Copenhagen. It is the largest library in the Nordic countries....

, Copenhagen
12 incomplete paper Vol. II
France (4) Bibliothèque nationale
Bibliothèque nationale de France
The is the National Library of France, located in Paris. It is intended to be the repository of all that is published in France. The current president of the library is Bruno Racine.-History:...

, Paris
15 complete vellum
17 incomplete paper Contains note by binder dating it to August 1456
Bibliothèque Mazarine
Bibliothèque Mazarine
The Bibliothèque Mazarine is the oldest public library in France.- History :The Bibliothèque Mazarine was initially the personal library of cardinal Mazarin , who was a great bibliophile...

, Paris
16 complete paper
Bibliothèque Municipale, Saint-Omer
Saint-Omer
Saint-Omer , a commune and sub-prefecture of the Pas-de-Calais department west-northwest of Lille on the railway to Calais. The town is named after Saint Audomar, who brought Christianity to the area....

18 incomplete paper
Germany (12) Gutenberg Museum
Gutenberg Museum
The Gutenberg Museum is one of the oldest museums of printing in the world, located opposite the cathedral in the old part of Mainz, Germany. It is named after Johann Gutenberg, the inventor of printing from moveable metal type...

, Mainz
8 incomplete paper One copy is vol. I; the other both vols. It is unclear which is which.
Online images of the 2 volume copy
9
Landesbibliothek, Fulda 4 incomplete vellum Vol. I
Universitätsbibliothek, Leipzig 14 incomplete vellum
Niedersächsische Staats-und Universitätsbibliothek
Göttingen State and University Library
The Göttingen State and University Library is the library for Göttingen University as well as the central library for the German State of Lower Saxony , and the library for the Göttingen Academy of Sciences...

, Göttingen
2 complete vellum Online images
Staatsbibliothek, Berlin 3 incomplete vellum
Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich 5 complete paper Online images of vol. 1 vol. 2
Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg, Frankfurt am Main 6 complete paper
Hofbibliothek, Aschaffenburg 7 incomplete paper
Württembergische Landesbibliothek
Württembergische Landesbibliothek
The Württembergische Landesbibliothek is a large library in Stuttgart, Germany, which traces its history back to the ducal public library of Württemberg, founded in 1765. It holds c. 3.4 million volumes and is thus the fourth-largest library in the state of Baden-Württemberg...

, Stuttgart
10 incomplete paper Purchased in April 1978 for 2.2 million US dollars.
Stadtbibliothek, Trier 11 incomplete paper Vol. I?, Possibly sister volume to Hubay 46, in Indiana
Landesbibliothek, Kassel 12 incomplete paper Vol. I
Japan (1) Keio University Library
Keio University
,abbreviated as Keio or Keidai , is a Japanese university located in Minato, Tokyo. It is known as the oldest institute of higher education in Japan. Founder Fukuzawa Yukichi originally established it as a school for Western studies in 1858 in Edo . It has eleven campuses in Tokyo and Kanagawa...

, Tokyo
45 incomplete paper Vol. I, Purchased in October 1987 for either 4.9 or 5.4 million US dollars (sources disagree)
Online images
Poland (1) Biblioteka Seminarium Duchownego, Pelpin 28 incomplete paper Online images of vol. 1 vol. 2
Portugal (1) Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal
Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal
The ' is the Portuguese national library, fulfilling the function of legal deposit and copyright.-External links:*...

, Lisbon
29 complete paper
Russia (2) National Library of Russia, St Petersburg - incomplete vellum
Moscow State University
Moscow State University
Lomonosov Moscow State University , previously known as Lomonosov University or MSU , is the largest university in Russia. Founded in 1755, it also claims to be one of the oldest university in Russia and to have the tallest educational building in the world. Its current rector is Viktor Sadovnichiy...

, Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

- complete paper
Spain (2) Biblioteca Universitaria y Provincial, Seville 32 incomplete paper New Testament only
Online images
Biblioteca Pública Provincial, Burgos 31 complete paper
Switzerland (1) Bibliotheca Bodmeriana, Cologny 30 incomplete paper
United Kingdom (8) British Library
British Library
The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom, and is the world's largest library in terms of total number of items. The library is a major research library, holding over 150 million items from every country in the world, in virtually all known languages and in many formats,...

, London
? complete vellum Online images
? complete paper Online images
National Library of Scotland
National Library of Scotland
The National Library of Scotland is the legal deposit library of Scotland and is one of the country's National Collections. It is based in a collection of buildings in Edinburgh city centre. The headquarters is on George IV Bridge, between the Old Town and the university quarter...

, Edinburgh
26 complete paper Online images
Lambeth Palace Library
Lambeth Palace
Lambeth Palace is the official London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury in England. It is located in Lambeth, on the south bank of the River Thames a short distance upstream of the Palace of Westminster on the opposite shore. It was acquired by the archbishopric around 1200...

, London
20 incomplete vellum New Testament only
Eton College Library, Eton 23 complete paper
John Rylands Library
John Rylands Library
The John Rylands Library is a Victorian Gothic building on Deansgate in Manchester, England. The library, which opened to the public in 1900, was founded by Mrs Enriqueta Augustina Rylands in memory of her late husband, John Rylands...

, Manchester
25 complete paper Online images of 11 pages
Bodleian Library
Bodleian Library
The Bodleian Library , the main research library of the University of Oxford, is one of the oldest libraries in Europe, and in Britain is second in size only to the British Library...

, Oxford
24 complete paper
University Library
Cambridge University Library
The Cambridge University Library is the centrally-administered library of Cambridge University in England. It comprises five separate libraries:* the University Library main building * the Medical Library...

, Cambridge
22 complete paper Online images of vol. 1 vol. 2
United States (11) The Morgan Library & Museum, New York 37 incomplete vellum
38 complete paper
44 incomplete paper Old Testament only
Online images
Library of Congress
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...

, Washington DC
35 complete vellum Online images
New York Public Library
New York Public Library
The New York Public Library is the largest public library in North America and is one of the United States' most significant research libraries...

42 incomplete paper
Widener Library
Widener Library
The Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library, commonly known as Widener Library, is the primary building of the library system of Harvard University. Located on the south side of Harvard Yard directly across from Memorial Church, Widener serves as the centerpiece of the 15.6 million-volume Harvard...

, Harvard University
40 complete paper
Beinecke Library, Yale University 41 complete paper
Scheide Library, Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

43 paper
Lilly Library
Lilly Library
The Lilly Library, located on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, is a large rare book and manuscript library in the United States.-History:...

, Indiana University
46 incomplete paper Possibly sister volume to Hubay 11, in Trier
Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA 36 incomplete vellum
Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
The Harry Ransom Center is a library and archive at the University of Texas at Austin, specializing in the collection of literary and cultural artifacts from the United States and Europe. The Ransom Center houses 36 million literary manuscripts, 1 million rare books, 5 million photographs, and more...

, University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin is a state research university located in Austin, Texas, USA, and is the flagship institution of the The University of Texas System. Founded in 1883, its campus is located approximately from the Texas State Capitol in Austin...

39 complete paper Purchased in 1978 for 2.4 million US dollars.
Online images
Vatican City (2) Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana
Vatican Library
The Vatican Library is the library of the Holy See, currently located in Vatican City. It is one of the oldest libraries in the world and contains one of the most significant collections of historical texts. Formally established in 1475, though in fact much older, it has 75,000 codices from...

33 incomplete vellum
34 incomplete paper Vol I

Recent history

Today, few copies remain in religious institutions, with most now owned by university libraries and other major scholarly institutions. After centuries in which all copies seem to have remained in Europe, the first Gutenberg Bible reached North America in 1847. It is now in the New York Public Library.

One copy was lost during the destruction of the library of the Catholic University of Leuven
Catholic University of Leuven
The Catholic University of Leuven, or of Louvain, was the largest, oldest and most prominent university in Belgium. The university was founded in 1425 as the University of Leuven by John IV, Duke of Brabant and approved by a Papal bull by Pope Martin V.During France's occupation of Belgium in the...

 by German troops in 1914.

In the 1920s a New York book dealer, Gabriel Wells, bought a damaged paper copy, dismantled the book and sold sections and individual leaves to book collectors and libraries. The leaves were sold in a portfolio case with an essay written by A. Edward Newton
A. Edward Newton
Alfred Edward Newton was an American author, publisher, and avid book collector. He is best known for his book Amenities of Book Collecting which sold over 25,000 copies...

. (Also referred to as a "Noble Fragment") These leaves now sell for $20,000–$100,000 depending upon condition and the desirability of the page.

During the Second World War the Red Army removed two copies from Leipzig. Their whereabouts were unknown for many years until it was revealed they were in Moscow.

The last sale of a complete Gutenberg Bible took place in 1978. It fetched $2.2 million. This copy is now in Stuttgart.

The only copy held in a non-western country is the first volume of a Gutenberg Bible (Hubay 45) at Keio University
Keio University
,abbreviated as Keio or Keidai , is a Japanese university located in Minato, Tokyo. It is known as the oldest institute of higher education in Japan. Founder Fukuzawa Yukichi originally established it as a school for Western studies in 1858 in Edo . It has eleven campuses in Tokyo and Kanagawa...

 (Tokyo, Japan) - originally purchased 22 October 1987 by Eiichi Kobayashi, a director at the Maruzen Company, for $5.4 million. This copy is incomplete, as it only contains volume I. The HUMI Project team at Keio University is known for its digital imaging work.

The price of a complete copy today is estimated at $25−35 million.

See also

  • For other works printed by Gutenberg or from the workshop he founded, See: Johannes Gutenberg.
  • Incunable
  • 36 Line Bible
  • Printing press
    Printing press
    A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium , thereby transferring the ink...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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