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    Original Leaf from a Gutenberg Bible (Isaiah 13:14 - 16:7). From the earliest times (dating back to 2000 B.C. or earlier), books were handwritten on scrolls. Since the first century A.D., most books have taken the more familiar codex format- separate pages, bound at one edge. But still, they were written by hand, usually by monks working with ink and pen in a room called a scriptorium. In the mid-15th century, block books became popular in Europe. They were produced by carving the text (and illustrations) of a book page-by-page into blocks of wood that were then inked and impressed onto sheets of paper and bound. The Chinese had been doing this for centuries but it was a novelty in Europe. About this same time a German metalworker and inventor named Johann Gutenberg had an idea that would literally change the course of Western civilization. In the 1440s, he was involved in the manufacture of metal hand mirrors used by pilgrims visiting holy sites. This led him to begin experimenting with metal alloys that he would use to make "movable" type. He also developed his own oil-based inks and built a printing press based on the winepresses of the day. All of his hard work came together in 1454-55 when he used his invention (built with borrowed money) to print a two-volume Biblia Sacra that he sold for 300 florins each. This was a massive sum for the average person but much less expensive (and much faster) than a manuscript version that might take a monk several years to copy. Gutenberg's Bible marked the beginning of a cultural revolution.

    He only ever made about 180 copies of this landmark book and only about 50 still survive today. Essentially the only way for a private collector to own a part of this historical edition is to purchase a single leaf that, at some point in time, was removed from an incomplete or damaged copy. This has been a practice of book collectors for many many years. We are proud to offer one of these rare leaves from an original Gutenberg Bible, printed in Mainz Germany circa 1455. This particular leaf is in wonderful condition. The 42 lines of text per page is printed in two columns with excellent full margins all around. There are three large red initials accomplished by hand and a contemporary "Isaias" written at the top of one page. The bullhead watermark is clearly visible between the columns when held up to the light. There are three tiny wormholes and one small area of foxing but neither detracts. The leaf is 10.5" x 14.25" and is housed in a glass-covered custom case. This is an item that would be "at home" in a museum or in the finest of private collections. Heritage Galleries is proud to bring this rare opportunity to the collecting community. A chance to own a leaf with great content from the prophecies of Isaiah is an event that shouldn't be passed up. From the Henry E. Luhrs Collection.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2006
    20th-21st Monday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 16
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 5,913

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