Gutenberg Bible, Bavarian State Library

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Gutenberg Bible, Bavarian State Library

599.99

Author:  Johann Gutenberg

Language: Latin

Date: 1455

History: Johann Gutenberg was born in Mainz, Germany, around 1400. He was the son of an aristocratic family, with ties to the local metalworking industry. He lived in Strasbourg (in present-day France) for a time, where he carried out experiments with movable metallic type, made from a mold. By the mid-1450's, he had perfected a system of printing with movable type. He used it to create what became the world’s most famous book, the Latin translation of the Bible (Vulgate), otherwise known as, the Gutenberg Bible. Scholars have thoroughly researched all aspects of Gutenberg’s work, including the elaborate typeface, with its 290 different characters derived from a Gothic missal script. The way he divided the text in the typesetting process, and the paper he used in the printing have also been thoroughly researched. However, certain fundamental matters about the Gutenberg Bible are still unknown, or remain matters of dispute.

The date on which the printing was completed is based solely on the notation “1455” on the binding of the Paris paper copy. It is believed that 180 copies of the Bible were printed, but this information is based on a single letter of Enea Silvio Piccolomini (the future Pope Pius II), who viewed samples of Gutenberg’s work, in Frankfurt in 1455. Gutenberg originally intended to print the headings of the books of the Bible in red, but he abandoned this approach, using instead a separately printed table as a pattern, for entering these lines by hand. Of the 49 extant, more-or-less complete, copies of the Gutenberg Bible (12 on vellum, 37 on paper), this copy, from the Bavarian State Library, is one of only two (along with one copy in the Austrian National Library) in which this table is found, as a vestige of the production process.

Description: 2 Volumes, Vol 1 - 324 pages, Vol 2 - 319 pages

Reproduction Details: The hardcover books are made with two pieces of real wood on the inside. The leather is a 4 oz cowhide, from a small supplier in New York state. The Glue we use to attach the leather to the wood is made at our facility, and is a period correct wheat glue. Along the spine, we use a modern perfect binding, with modern glue, to make the binding last longer. We also add three layers of mull cloth to the outside of the perfect binding, drying in between each layer, a traditional way to make the binding stiff, strong, and resilient.

Note: All of our facsimiles are made to order. Please allow 4-6 weeks for notification of shipment.

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