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Leaf from the Gutenberg Bible: Tobit 5:19 - 8:10. [with;] A FINE GERMAN MANUSCRIPT BIBLE LEAF, circa 1450 containing Jeremiah 29:18 - 30:10 written in a Gothic hand and which closely resembles the typography of the Gutenberg Bible
Mainz: Johann Gutenberg and Johann Fust, c.1455. A single leaf from the famed 42-line Bible, the first book printed with moveable type. This copy is a ‘Noble Fragment', with A. Edward Newton's Bibliographical Essay. The manuscript leaf is from a Latin Vulgate Bible of 48 lines. It is additional too and is not called for in the Noble Fragment presentation binding. Printed in gothic letter with headlines and chapter numbers supplied in red and blue along with large initials, other capitals highlighted in red and accent marks added by hand in brown. The manuscript leaf ruled in light brown, large initial in red with blue scroll pattern, chapter number in blue, heading in red. Folio, the two leaves housed laid-in the original Noble Fragment full morocco folder, gilt lettered. Now in an impressive full royal blue morocco folding case lined with velvet. A very fine example in excellent condition, the rubricating bright and clean, the text bright and strong, the paper, extremely well preserved with only the most minor of light staining. The manuscript leaf mounted to stiff board and with a small pinhole. The Noble Fragment morocco just very lightly rubbed. The Gutenberg Bible may be described without the slightest exaggeration not only as the earliest but also the greatest printed book in the world. It is the first book from the printing press, having been preceded only by a few trial pieces, single leaves, almanacs and grammatical booklets of which merely stray fragments remain. It is, as well, one of the most beautiful books ever printed. The quiet dignity of those twelve-hundred or so pages of bold, stately type, the deep black ink, the broadness of the margins, the glossy crispness of the paper, may have been equaled, but they have never been surpassed; and in its very cradle, the printer’s art, thanks to the Gutenberg Bible, shines forth indeed as an art as much and more than as a craft. Last but not least, the Gutenberg Bible is the first printed edition of the Book of Books. The mere fact that in the Rhine valley in 1455 the first book to be printed should have been the Bible tells its own story. "While Gutenberg and Fust were actually at work, the fall of Constantinople in 1453 announced the end of an old world and the dawn of modern thought. Did Gutenberg realize that by setting the Holy Text in type he was heralding one of the greatest movements of human thought in the history of the civilized world?” (S.De Ricci). Hundreds of volumes, indeed whole libraries have been written about the invention of printing and about Gutenberg—of the struggle to design letters, to discover a metal that would hold clear cut edges and stand pressure; to find paper and a formula for ink that could be applied to it by type, to perfect a press that would bring uniform contact, etc. The Bible is not only the oldest printed book--the most reprinted book--the most translated book...it is, quite properly, the most sought-after of books by bibliophiles, and the most expensive. The last public sale, of a single volume of the two which had originally been issued (the Old Testament and the New Testament) exceeded $5,250,000. The leaf here is from the Apocryphal Book of Tobit and begins with Chapter V, verse 19 and ends with Chapter VIII, verse 10. Included is an appearance by the Angel Raphael. Included with this leaf is a manuscript leaf of the same period which echoes Gutenberg's print style.
      [Bookseller: Buddenbrooks, Inc.]
Last Found On: 2013-07-24           Check availability:      Biblio    

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